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Fly Fishing the West Central in Florida

West Central summary

West Central is a fly fishing location in Florida. This destination has an elevation of approximately 204 feet. Please view the pinpointed location for West Central on the Google Map to the right. If you'd like directions to this destination, please click here for directions (provided via Google Maps).
                   

West Central reports

Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 3 - Fair fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 5/27/2017 Anglers fishing with me, out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had some action with tarpon in the coastal gulf in Sarasota during the past couple of weeks. Spin fishing anglers hooked up several times and brought one fish to the boat. Sea conditions have been poor, with a lot of rough and cloudy water, making sight fishing for tarpon tough. Hal Lutz, from Parrish, FL and Andrea Lutz, from Atlanta, had good action fishing the coastal gulf with me last Monday. They hooked up a couple of times on a live crab with spinning tackle, jumping one and fighting another fish to the boat after a 45-minute battle. A strong front approached on Tuesday and Wednesday, roughing up the gulf and forcing the cancellation of the rest of the week of tarpon fishing. Tarpon action will pick up as sea conditions improve. Snook season is closed on the west coast of Florida until Sep 1st, so please handle them gently and release them quickly. This is a good time frame to sight fish for snook in the surf when conditions are good. Fishing lighted docks and bridges in the ICW for snook with flies and DOA Lures continues to be a good option. You should also find larger trout in shallow water along with reds when conditions are good. Tight Lines, Capt. Rick Grassett IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011 Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc. , and (941) 923-7799 (05/27/17)
Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 5/13/2017 Tarpon time! Numbers of tarpon increased as we approached a full moon last week and fly anglers fishing with me, out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had some action with them. Tarpon numbers will continue to increase as we head into late May and June and they form larger schools in preparation for spawning. Early arriving tarpon are usually more aggressive due to less fishing pressure early in the season. Fly anglers should do well with a variety of baitfish or crab fly patterns fished on floating or intermediate sink tip fly lines. Spin fishing anglers should score with DOA Baitbusters, DOA 4” Shrimp, a variety of live baits and live crabs. This is always a good time to talk about tarpon fishing etiquette. Everyone can have a chance to catch fish as long as they are respectful of other anglers and the fish. Give other anglers at least several hundred yards of space in any direction, since fish may be traveling in more than one direction. Be quiet, especially in shallow water. Running an outboard close to tarpon will spook them and make them harder for everyone to catch. Even though a 4-stroke outboard sounds quiet, it is no substitute for an electric trolling motor. Even an electric trolling motor should be used sparingly, especially in shallow water. The more that tarpon are “pressured”, the harder they are for everyone to catch. Snook season is closed on the west coast of Florida until Sep 1st, so please handle them gently and release them quickly. This is a good time frame to sight fish for snook in the surf when conditions are good. Fishing lighted docks and bridges in the ICW for snook with flies and DOA Lures continues to be a good option. You should also find larger trout in shallow water along with reds when conditions are good. Tight Lines, Capt. Rick Grassett IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011 Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc. , and (941) 923-7799 (05/13/17)
Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota & Terra Ceia, FL Fishing Report for 3/27 through 4/9/2017 Anglers fishing with me, out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught trout, bluefish and Spanish mackerel in Sarasota Bay and caught and released snook, reds, trout and flounder in the Terra Ceia area and snook at night in the ICW on flies and CAL jigs with shad during the past couple of weeks. A persistent wind during the week of 4/3 made fishing challenging, but fish cooperated. Jack and Chris Detweiler, from PA, fished dock lights in the ICW with me on Sunday night, 4/2. With a wind forecast of 25-mph + for Monday, we opted to snook fish the night before. They each caught and released their first snook and had steady action on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly! Barry Slee, from Lake Forest, IL, and Paul Browring, from the UK, fished a couple of days in the Terra Ceia area with me on Tuesday and Thursday, 4/4 and 4/6. They had good action catching and releasing a total of more than 15 snook, several reds, flounder and a Spanish mackerel on CAL jigs with shad tails. Bill Morrison, from Anna Maria Island and Gary Marple, from Sarasota, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Wednesday, 4/5 and Jim Festa and Rich Nastan, both also from Sarasota, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Friday, 4/7. They had some action with trout, Spanish mackerel and bluefish on Ultra Hair Clouser flies and CAL jigs with shad tails. I was the instructor for a CB’s Saltwater Outfitters Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing School on Saturday, 4/8 which was last school of the spring season. Classes will resume in the fall but in the meantime, I’m available for private fly casting instruction. Look for action in the coastal gulf to take off with king and Spanish mackerel, cobia and tripletail. Trout, blues, Spanish mackerel, pompano and more should also be good options on deep grass flats and passes of Sarasota Bay. You should also find larger trout in shallow water along with snook and reds when conditions are good. Fishing lighted docks and bridges in the ICW for snook with flies and DOA Lures continues to be a good option. Tight Lines, Capt. Rick Grassett IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011 Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc. , and (941) 923-7799 (04/09/17)
Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 8/15 through 8/27/2016 Fishing can be good in late August and September as long as you fish smart. For most species this usually means fishing early in the day, before heat is an issue. There are also some seasonal things that start to happen now, such as false albacore (little tunny) and tripletail, which could be a good option later in the day when visibility is better. Although his is an “in between” time of year when there aren’t a lot of people around, it gives me a chance to fish personally. I spent some time recently scouting and found baitfish plentiful in the coastal gulf with Spanish mackerel feeding in them. I also found a tripletail that pounced on my DOA Shrimp! Bill Fox, from GA, fished a couple of pre-dawn snook/coastal gulf trips with me on Thursday and Friday, 8/18 and 19. He had good action both days but Thursday was the better morning when he caught and released 8 or 10 snook and a bonus redfish on my Grassett Snook Minnow and shrimp fly patterns on the pre-dawn portion of the trip. With the hardest 2/3 of a slam under his belt, we moved to some deep flats where he caught a couple of trout on an Ultra Hair Clouser fly to complete his slam! He also had steady action catching and releasing Spanish mackerel to 18” in the coastal gulf on Ultra Hair Clouser and glass minnow fly patterns. Rusty Chinnis, from Longboat Key, FL, invited Steve Traves, owner of Anna Maria Island Outfitters and me to fish with him on Monday, 8/22. Conditions were great; not much wind and sunny. We had fast action with false albacore in Tampa Bay, each catching and releasing several albies on a variety of Clouser, EP and my Grassett Snook Minnow flies. There were also lots of Spanish mackerel in the mix but we avoided them in lieu of their larger cousins, some of which were as big as 12-pounds. With baitfish being the key, it could be an early fall season for us. Baitfish are plentiful in the coastal gulf now and it is usually just a matter of time before this kind of action is happening up and down our coast. False albacore are one of my favorite fly rod species; right up there with tarpon, snook, bonefish and reds. They hit hard and easily strip off 100-yds or more of backing on smoking runs. It’s also very visual, with these speedsters annihilating tiny baitfish on the surface! Although structure isn’t that plentiful this time of year, I also find some tripletail in various places. Look for them around channel markers, buoys, crab trap floats or floating debris, such as palm fronds. Once you’ve found one, it’s a sight-fishing game with them, too. An accurate cast with a DOA Shrimp or a variety of fly patterns usually works well. Action should be good with Spanish mackerel and false albacore (little tunny) in the coastal gulf and Tampa Bay depending on conditions. Snook season is closed now on the west coast of Florida, but catch and release night snook fishing around lighted docks and bridges in the ICW with flies and DOA Lures should also be good. You might also find a few juvenile tarpon and reds in the lights along with snook. In addition, there should be good action with trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Tight Lines, Capt. Rick Grassett IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011 Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc. , and (941) 923-7799 (08/27/16)
Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 6/20 through 7/2/2016 Fly anglers fishing the coastal gulf in Sarasota with me, out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action with tarpon during the past couple of weeks. We had numerous shots at tarpon on several days of fishing, a couple of hook ups and one tarpon landed. Spin fishing anglers also got in on the action, hooking up several times and bringing a couple of tarpon to the boat. Joel Morsch, from Bradenton, FL, fly fished for tarpon in the coastal gulf in Sarasota several days with me early in the week of 6/20. He had several eats and hooked up a couple of times. He fought one fish through numerous jumps and a long run before bringing the fish to the boat! Terry Notari, from Longboat Key, FL, son Craig from Chicago and grandson James, from Austin, TX, tarpon fished a couple of days in the coastal gulf in Sarasota with me 0n 6/24 and 25. Craig and James used both spin and fly tackle, getting some shots with a fly and James hooked up and landed a tarpon with spinning tackle on a live crab. He fought the fish through numerous jumps and runs before bring the fish to the boat. Hal Lutz, from Parrish, FL and Jeb Mulock. From Bradenton, FL, fished with me on Thursday, 6/30. With poor visibility, Hal laid a quick back cast down and hooked up on a short cast. He fought the tarpon through numerous jumps and runs before the fish was leadered and successfully released. Well done! Mike Storey, from Bradenton, FL, fished with me on Friday, 7/1. Mike had previously done some fly casting instruction and a flats fly fishing trip with me and was ready for the challenge of tarpon. Since it was his first time targeting tarpon with a fly, we worked on line handling, presentations and various other aspects of fly fishing for tarpon. He has a good eye and was able to spot numerous fish at a considerable distance. It all came together for him late in the day as he spotted a single and made a quick, accurate cast that resulted in a hook up. He fought the fish through several jumps and a smoking run before the hook pulled. A great job! Tarpon fishing in the coastal gulf should be a good option next week depending on conditions, as we head away from a new moon on July 4th. Outgoing tides in the afternoon should be best. Snook season is closed now on the west coast of Florida, but catch and release night snook fishing around lighted docks and bridges in the ICW with flies and DOA Lures should be another good option. Trout, bluefish and more should also be good options on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Tight Lines, Capt. Rick Grassett IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011 Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc. , and (07/02/16)
Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 5/21 through 6/4/2016 I have been off the water for the last couple of weeks, so I don’t have a local fishing report. However, tarpon fishing has been strong in Sarasota as schools of fish have increased in size and numbers during that time frame. Tarpon will head offshore to spawn on this weekend’s new moon and will return to the beach within a few days as singles, doubles and smaller schools giving fly anglers good opportunities. Use tackle heavy enough to land them as quickly as possible. When using conventional tackle, I use 7’, 30 to 40-lb class spinning rods and Quantum Boca or Cabo 60 reels with 50-pound Power Pro braid. According to Florida law, tarpon longer than 40” must remain in the water. Dragging a tarpon up onto the gunnel of your boat could damage internal organs and result in their death. After landing a tarpon, they should be properly revived by pulling them slowly alongside your boat to move water through their gills until they are strong enough to swim away. I travel well offshore of the beach at first light in the morning to avoid disturbing schools of tarpon that may be traveling or “laid up” close to the beach. Once I’ve reached the area I intend to fish, I’ll ease into the beach with an electric trolling motor and set up in my spot, either anchoring or drifting, depending on conditions. Set up in travel lanes along the beach and cast live crabs, baitfish, DOA Baitbusters and Swimming Mullet to them. The new CAL 4” Shad Tail with an Owner Beast 6/0 weedless hook is a good tarpon lure, especially when sight fishing in shallow water. I often drift a couple of live baits under a float while waiting for tarpon schools to pass by. When fly fishing, I use 12-weight rods and large arbor reels capable of holding at least 300-yards of backing and cast a variety of baitfish, shrimp or crab fly patterns fished on floating or intermediate sink tip fly lines. The shallower the water, the easier it is to get your fly in front of a fish when fly fishing. Stake out or anchor in travel lanes to get shots at them. Give other anglers at least 200-yards of space. Since fish may be moving both north and south, setting up too close to another angler may negatively affect their fishing. Snook season is closed now on the west coast of Florida, but catch and release night snook fishing around lighted docks and bridges in the ICW or in the surf with flies and DOA Lures should also be good. Look for reds, snook and big trout mixed with mullet schools or cruising shallow flats and edges of bars in Sarasota Bay or backcountry areas of Charlotte Harbor and lower Tampa Bay. Trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and more should be good options on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Tight Lines, Capt. Rick Grassett IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011 Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc. , and (941) 923-7799 (06/04/16)
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Shop Guide Service Lodge School (Classes) Travel Rods Manufacturer
Guide Service Capt. Pat Damico
2981 E. Vina Del Mar Blvd
Saint Petersburg, Florida
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Captain Bill Boynton (Captain Bill)
nice red, lookin forward to the red days.. (1/19/13)
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Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett)
Anglers fishing with me the past couple of weeks on the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught reds and had a few shots at tarpon. Although I was gone on a family vacation for most of this time frame, fly anglers continue to have anywhere from a few to more than a dozen shots at tarpon in the coastal gulf off Sarasota and Manatee counties per trip. Not bad for the middle of August!

In addition, Sarasota Bay is still producing great action on deep flats for trout, Spanish mackerel and bluefish with jigs and flies. Snook fishing before dawn around lighted docks and bridge fenders with flies has also been a good option. Reds, mixed with large blues and jacks, are beginning to school in Sarasota Bay but have been tough for anglers to get on.

Capt. Tom Stephens, Sr. from Bradenton, FL, and his son-in-law, Brian, from Riverview, FL, fished Charlotte Harbor and Gasparilla Sound with me on Tuesday, 8/11. We worked some juvenile tarpon from 10 to 30-pounds for a couple of hours first thing in the morning. Although we had a couple of “bumps” on DOA TerrorEyz and DOA shrimp, we didn’t hook up. We moved to skinny water, where they caught and released a pair of reds on CAL jigs with shad tails. This was a trip that I donated to the Sarasota chapter of Coastal Conservation Association’s fund raising banquet last fall, which raises money for their conservation efforts.

Tarpon numbers are diminishing along the beaches, but anglers are still seeing as many as 20 tarpon per trip and getting shots at many of them, which I feel is still worth the effort. They are also starting to show in areas of Sarasota Bay and Charlotte Harbor, so anglers fishing those areas should be prepared for big fish. A good option this time of the year is to fly fish for snook before dawn, hit shallow or deep flats at first light for reds, trout, blues, pompano and more. Since tarpon are least affected by warm water, you could spend some time tarpon fishing at mid day when the light and visibility are best. This is a time of the year when you might get a “super slam”-tarpon reds, snook and trout on the same trip.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
(941) 923-7799
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
www.flyfishingflorida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com
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Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett)
Capt. Rick Grassett’s Fishing Report for 6/7 through 6/21/2009

Anglers fishing with me on the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action with tarpon from Siesta Key to Anna Maria Island on both fly and spinning tackle during the past couple of weeks. The best action was towards the end of this week as we approached a new moon on June 22nd.

George and Laura Kommick, from Palmetto, FL, fished off Siesta Key with me on Monday, June 8th. We dodged a few thunderstorms that morning, but it was worth it. Although tarpon weren’t showing very well on the surface that day, they were plentiful. They jumped 4 tarpon and got two of them to the boat on live pinfish drifted under a float.

A fly trip on Longboat Key on Wednesday had 3 hookups and one fish to the boat. The fish that was landed was only 75-pounds but was ornery. It ate a black and red Toad while the other two fish ate chartreuse and yellow Toads. Fly angler, Hal Lutz from Parish, FL, fished a couple of days with me at the end of that week and had plenty of shots at fish from Longboat Key to Anna Maria Island. Jon Yenari, from Sarasota, FL, joined Hal on Friday. Jon was up first and jumped a tarpon on a black and purple Toad at first light. Although tarpon were plentiful that day, they got smart after that. Jon also had another eat on Candy Corn Toad (yellow and orange) in shallow water.

A couple of fly trips earlier this week had lots of shots but no bites. That changed on Wednesday when Aledia Tush, owner of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters, and her son, Mason Tush, fished Longboat Key with me. The fish were plentiful but challenging that day. We worked several beautiful schools of tarpon with live crabs, pinfish and DOA 4” shrimp and Baitbusters for hours with no bites. Finally we gave them up to search for some new fish. With only 15 minutes of time left and Mason with a flight to catch, we returned to one of the original schools and Mason immediately hooked up on a live crab. Go figure. He landed the fish, a 75 or 80-pounder, in 10 or 15 minutes and made his flight on time!

Fly angler, Dennis Desmond from New Jersey, fished the same area with me on Thursday and Friday. We plenty of shots at fish on Thursday, but no takers. Dennis persisted and hooked up early on Friday morning on an Enrico Puglisi Black Mullet fly (black and purple). He fought the fish close to the boat for almost an hour and a half before the fish wore through his 80-pound bite tippet with the sink tip in his tip top rod guide. Close enough!

Hal Lutz was back on the boat on Saturday morning with a little luck from his sister, Lyndi Lutz, from Dallas, Texas. They also fished Longboat Key with me and had lots of shots. Hal jumped and landed a 90-pound tarpon (31” girth X 69” length) on an Enrico Puglisi Black Mullet fly. It was a single, swimming down the edge of a bar and Hal’s fast, accurate cast resulted in an eat and an aerial display right next to the boat. He kicked the fish’s butt in less than 15 minutes as a crowd cheered him on from the beach! Lyndi wasn’t about to be left out of the action, getting 3 bites or hookups including one jumped tarpon on a pinfish under a float.

When fly fishing for tarpon, it must be the right presentation to the right fish. The beauty about fly fishing for tarpon in shallow water is that you can see the body language of the fish as it reacts to your fly. Most times you’ll get a little wiggle right before the bite. Although many people think tarpon fishing will be winding down soon, we are in the best part of the season. July is a great month! With many tarpon finished spawning, schools will be smaller but hungrier providing great shallow water action with a fly.

I look for tarpon action to continue as long as the weather cooperates, i.e. predominantly east wind and good sunlight. West winds make it rough and difficult to fish the coastal gulf waters. Also, fish don’t show well on the surface in those conditions.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
(941) 923-7799
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
www.flyfishingflorida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com

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