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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 9/1/2018 As many of you may already know, we are having a severe and extensive red tide on Florida's west coast, although it is showing signs of improvement in some areas. Fortunately, the Florida FWC has enacted a temporary modification of regulations for reds and snook, in the areas affected by the recent red tide. The area extends from a line in Manatee County from Emerson Pt west to Bean Pt and continuing west to the Hillsborough County line, south to the south bank of Gordon Pass in Collier County. Reds and snook will be catch and release only until at least Oct 12, 2018 to allow a stock assessment to be completed before determining if the action will be rescinded or extended. Full details, including exact boundaries can be found at ing trip and had decent action catching and releasing 7 or 8 snook on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly, fishing dock lights in the ICW. Jon Johnston, from PA, fished the same area with me on Saturday morning. He had great action catching and releasing numerous snook to 24” also on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. After a tide change snook started feeding on shrimp, so we switched to a Shrimp Gurgler fly and caught a few on top. Great to see snook plentiful and actively feeding! Catch and release snook fishing around dock lights and bridges and trout, blues and more on deep grass flats should be good options if the water is clean in those areas. There should be some tarpon in upper Charlotte Harbor and Tampa Bay. Juvenile tarpon in canals and creeks may also be a good option, if you can find them. You might also find them in a few places mixed with snook in dock lights. Our natural resources are under constant pressure from red tides fueled by agricultural and residential runoff, freezes, increasing fishing pressure and habitat loss and degradation, 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 (home/office) (09/01/18)
Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 7/14/2018 Fly anglers fishing with me recently, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action with tarpon in the coastal gulf in Sarasota. We had multiple shots at tarpon and several hookups. My friend Steve Gibson, of Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing, had a good day with me on Monday with multiple shots, jumping 3 tarpon and battling one to close to the boat. Frank Zaffino, from Rochester, NY, also fly fished for tarpon several days later in the week with me. He also had good action, jumping several tarpon. Action was good but slowed following the new moon. Tarpon fishing should be good in the coastal gulf. Late season tarpon have usually spawned and are more aggressive. There should also be good action with trout, blues and Spanish mackerel on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Fishing dock lights in the ICW at night is always a good option for snook and more. Walking the beach and sight fishing snook in the surf can also be good this time of year. 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 (07/14/18)
Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fly Fishing Forecast for June 2018 Tarpon should be plentiful in the coastal gulf this month as big schools of fish migrate along our beaches. Also look for cobia, tripletail and false albacore (little tunny) in the coastal gulf. Catch and release snook fishing should also be good in and around passes and in the surf. Fishing for trout and more should also be good on deep grass flats. May was a tough month for tarpon in the coastal gulf for me this season, either conditions were poor (rough and dirty water, rain and clouds) or when conditions were good, fish weren’t happy (deep and fast moving). Fly fishing for tarpon is very dependent on conditions and there are a lot of variables that need to come together to be successful. However, tarpon fishing should be good during June as schools of fish increase in size and numbers. They will head off shore to spawn, close to new and full moons. I’ve done well with Lefty’s Deceiver and my Grassett Flats Bunny fly patterns fished on floating or intermediate sink tip fly lines. Stake out or anchor in travel lanes to get shots at them. Tarpon are creatures of habit and will travel on the same edges and depth contours. The shallower the water, the easier it is to get you fly in front of a tarpon when fly fishing. Since fish may be moving both north and south, setting up within 200 to 300-yds of another angler may negatively affect their fishing. Snook season remains closed this month, so also use tackle heavy enough to catch and release them quickly. You should find them in the surf, in passes and around docks and bridges in the ICW near passes. You can walk the beach and sight fish them in the surf with fly tackle. Small baitfish fly patterns, like my Grassett Snook Minnow, should work well. The same flies that work in the surf will also work well at night. Snook will congregate in passes around the new and full moons to spawn, so docks and bridges close to passes will usually hold more fish this time of year. Fishing for reds should also be good in June. Look for them over shallow grass, along mangrove shorelines or around oyster bars when the tide is high. You’ll find them in potholes or edges of flats when the tide is low. Fly anglers should score with baitfish fly patterns like my Grassett Flats Minnow or Gurglers. You’ll also find big trout in the same areas where you find reds in shallow water. You can use the same flies to catch them although first light in the morning will be prime time to catch a “gator”. You’ll also find trout schooling on deep grass flats along with the occasional Spanish mackerel, bluefish or pompano this month. I like to drift and cast ahead of my drift with Ultra Hair Clouser flies tied on long shank hooks on an intermediate sink tip fly line. You’ll need to add a few inches of heavy (50 or 60-pound) fluorocarbon when toothy fish are in the mix. Look for deep grass flats with a mix of grass and sand and a good tidal flow for the best action. In addition to tarpon look for Spanish mackerel, false albacore, cobia and tripletail in the coastal gulf this month. Although none of them may be thick, I’ve encountered all of them before in June. Keep your eyes open for bird activity or “breaking” fish to find albies and mackerel. Cobia and tripletail may be found around crab trap floats; however I’ve seen cobia swimming with tarpon schools before. An 8 or 9-weight fly rod with a floating or clear sink tip fly line is adequate to catch everything except a big cobia, in which case your 12-weight tarpon fly tackle will work well. There are lots of options in inshore waters or the coastal gulf this month. If pulling on a 100-pound tarpon isn’t for you, fishing pressure is usually light inshore this month so reds, snook, trout and more will also be good options. Whatever you choose to do, 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 (06/04/18)
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)
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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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