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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 - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 5/13/2018 Tarpon numbers are increasing as migratory fish arrive along our beaches. Look for tarpon schools to be moving both north and south along our beaches, especially early in the season. Set up in their line of travel and wait for tarpon schools to move past and cast a live crab or pinfish or a DOA Baitbuster to them. Once you’ve seen the first school of fish, you can concentrate your efforts in that “lane” since other schools may be following the same route. When they aren’t showing well on the surface, a live bait under a float in their travel lane may score. I’ve also done well blind casting a DOA Baitbuster or Swimming Mullet, if you’re in the right spot, when there wasn’t much showing on the surface. Even in deep water (10’-25’), be quiet and use your electric trolling motor sparingly. Even though your 4-stroke outboard sounds quiet, it is no substitute for an electric trolling motor. Fly anglers should do well with a variety of baitfish or crab fly patterns fished on floating or intermediate sink tip fly lines. Staking out or anchoring in shallow water on their travel route should result in some shots at fish. The best angle is a “head on” shot, followed by a quartering shot. A perpendicular shot may work if it’s timed perfectly, although casting too far beyond their line of travel will usually spook them. I use a push pole in shallow water if I need to adjust my position to make a cast. Give other tarpon anglers a minimum of 300-yards of space in any direction, since fish may be moving north or south. If you set up any closer than that, you may be deflecting fish that are headed towards other anglers. Also, be respectful of other anglers by not running your outboard close to them. Once tarpon are pressured or spooked, they are tougher for everyone to catch. There should also be good action with trout, blues and Spanish mackerel on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Fishing shallow water for snook and reds with lures and flies is challenging although they should also be a good option now. Fishing dock lights in the ICW at night is always a good option for snook and more. Our natural resources are under constant pressure, please limit your kill, don’t kill your limit! Tight Lines, Capt. Rick Grassett FFI 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 (05/13/18)
Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 11/19 through 12/2/17 The fantastic action and conditions that we’ve had in the coastal gulf continued as fly anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had great action catching and releasing false albacore (little tunny) and tripletail on flies during the past week. Conditions and water temperature have been ideal, most of the time, for migratory species in the coastal gulf and action has been great! We also had some action catching and releasing trout on flies in Sarasota Bay. Lynn Skipper, from Apollo Beach, fished with me on Tuesday, 11/21. We had wind and clouds that day so conditions were tough in the gulf. However, despite poor visibility we found several tripletail and Lynn caught and released his first tripletail on a fly. Great job! Jim Collins, from Bradenton, and Peter Ryan, from CO, fished the coastal gulf with me on Wednesday, 11/22. Conditions were great and fish responded accordingly. They had non-stop action catching and releasing albies to more than 10-lbs and Peter also caught and released a tripletail on a shrimp fly pattern! Mike Perez, from Sarasota, fished the coastal gulf with me on Saturday, 11/25. He also had great action catching and releasing numerous albies and a couple of tripletail on a variety of glass minnow fly patterns. Rod bending, drag screaming action, love this time of year! The action continued the following week when Steve Traves, of Anna Maria Outfitters, and I fished the coastal gulf with our friend Rusty Chinnis, from Longboat Key, on Monday, 11/27. Conditions were great and we had great action catching and releasing numerous albies to more than 10-lbs on a variety of flies! Rick and Nanette O’Hara, from Tampa, fished the coastal gulf with me on Tuesday, 11/28 and also had good action catching and releasing their first albies on a fly. In addition they caught and released trout on flies fished on sink tip fly lines on a Sarasota Bay deep grass flat to end the day! Lynn Skipper, from Apollo Beach, fished with me on Thursday, 11/30. He also had good action catching and releasing several false albacore and a tripletail in the coastal gulf and trout in Sarasota Bay on flies. The tripletail ate a Gurgler fly off the surface like a giant bluegill eating a fly popper! With the water temperature in the low 70’s, action with Spanish mackerel, albies, tripletail and cobia in the coastal gulf should continue. There should also be good action with trout and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Shallow water action for snook, trout and reds is improving due to cooler water. Fishing lighted docks and bridges in the ICW for snook with flies and DOA Lures should also be a good option. Tight Lines, Capt. Rick Grassett FFI 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 (12/03/17)
Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 1 - Excellent fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for the week of 11/6/17 Anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action catching and releasing tripletail, Spanish mackerel and false albacore (little tunny) in the coastal gulf on flies, CAL jigs with shad tails, jerk worms and DOA Shrimp during the week of 11/6. I was away, hosting a group of fly anglers during the week of 11/13 at Mars Bay Bonefish Lodge on South Andros, Bahamas, so I don’t have a local report for that time frame. A report on that trip will be posted on the Destination Trips page of my web sites, and , and (941) 923-7799 (11/19/17)
Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 9/24 through 10/8/2017 Anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action catching and releasing snook and Spanish mackerel in Sarasota Bay and the coastal gulf on flies and snook and trout in the Terra Ceia area on flies, top water plugs, CAL jigs and a variety of plastic tails during the past couple of weeks. Due to 15 to 25-mph winds earlier in the week of 10/1, a couple of fly fishing trips were rescheduled. I did some scouting in the coastal gulf on Thursday, 9/28 and had fast action catching and releasing Spanish mackerel on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. Sharks in the 50 to 60-lb class also showed up in the fray. One ate a mackerel that I had on and another ate my #4 size fly right next to the boat. I fought the shark to the boat in about 20-minutes on an 8-wt fly rod before it finally chewed through my 40-lb fluorocarbon leader! Juan Manuel Castro Page and sons, Juan Manuel and Santiago, from Chile, fished with me on Friday, 9/29. We fished lighted docks before dawn and they caught and released a few snook on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. We fished the coastal gulf after that where they had good action catching and releasing Spanish mackerel on a variety of glass minnow fly patterns. The boys also got in on some of the action, stripping the fly and hooking their own fish! Jon Yenari and Kyle Ruffing, both from Sarasota, fished the Terra Ceia area with me on Friday, 10/6. With a big tide in the morning following a full moon, fish were aggressive. They caught and released more than a dozen snook to 26” and more than 20 trout to 18” on a variety of lures and flies including EP flies, top water plugs, CAL jigs and a variety of plastic tails. The best action was on the strong incoming tide in the morning. However, action slowed in the afternoon due to the extreme high tide. There should be good action with trout and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Shallow water action for snook, trout and reds is picking up due to cooler water. Look for action with Spanish mackerel, false albacore (little tunny) and tripletail in the coastal gulf to take off in the coming weeks. Fishing lighted docks and bridges in the ICW for snook with flies and DOA Lures should also be a good option. You should also find juvenile tarpon in canals and creeks and adult tarpon in upper Charlotte Harbor and some areas of Sarasota and Tampa Bay. Tight Lines, Capt. Rick Grassett FFI 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 (10/09/17)
Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 9/24/2017 Anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had some action with trout, snook, Spanish mackerel and flounder in the Terra Ceia area and trout in Sarasota Bay on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos during the past week. After being off the water for more than a week following Hurricane Irma, I got back on the water on Monday to do some scouting and had some action catching and releasing trout on DOA Deadly Combos on the east side of Sarasota Bay. Despite all the rain we’ve had, except for tannin stained water, the deep grass flats looked fairly good. Water conditions were similar when Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, IL and Jack McCulloch, from Lakewood Ranch, FL, fished the Terra Ceia area with me on Wednesday. They had some action catching and releasing snook in skinny water and trout, Spanish mackerel and flounder in deeper water on CAL jigs with shad tails. We were fortunate in Sarasota. Except for a tree and lots of tree limbs down, no power for 8-days and some minor exterior damage to our home, all people and pets survived the storm. Hopefully those that were more heavily impacted will get back on their feet soon. It is great to see people reaching out to others in need! There should be good action with trout and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. You may find juvenile tarpon, trout or reds mixed with snook in dock lights. You should find juvenile tarpon in canals and creeks and adult tarpon in upper Charlotte Harbor and some areas of Sarasota and Tampa Bay. Fishing lighted docks and bridges in the ICW for snook with flies and DOA Lures should also be a good option. Tight Lines, Capt. Rick Grassett FFI 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 (09/24/17)
Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 6/12 through 6/24/2017 Anglers fishing with me, out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had decent action with tarpon in the coastal gulf in Sarasota during the past couple of weeks. However weather was again a factor during the week of June 19. The coastal gulf was rough most of that week as Tropical Storm Cindy passed to our west, causing 4’-6’ seas and dirty water in the gulf limiting our fishing to only a couple of days that week. Barry Slee, from IL, and a friend fished several days with me early in the week of June 12th. They had action every day, jumping a total of 5 tarpon with a couple of other eats, catching and releasing 2 of them. Denis Clohisy, from WI, and Jim Dempsey from IL, fished several days with me at the end of that week. The action slowed for a couple of days, as tarpon didn’t show very well or eat very well for us. I fished a different area on Saturday and they finished strong, catching and releasing one on a live crab. Despite a big swell and dirty water, fly anglers had a few shots on Monday 6/19, but conditions deteriorated quickly and we were forced off the water early due to a severe thunderstorm. The next 3 days were unfishable for tarpon in the coastal gulf as Tropical Storm Cindy passed by, roughing up the water. Clark Keator, from Orlando and his son-in-law, Nick DePinto from Dallas, fished the coastal gulf with me on Friday, 6/23. Conditions still weren’t great, but it was fishable and fortunately the tarpon were there. Sometimes several days of rough water will push tarpon out of their normal patterns, but that wasn’t the case. They jumped 2 tarpon and Nick caught and released his first tarpon on a live crab! Tarpon fishing should improve next week as sea conditions return to normal. Snook season is closed on the west coast of Florida until Sep 1st, so please handle them gently and release them quickly. Fishing lighted docks and bridges in the ICW for snook with flies and DOA Lures continues to be a good option. This is also a good time frame to sight fish for snook in the surf. 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 (06/24/17)
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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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West Central questions and answers

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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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