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Fly Fishing the Sarasota Bay in Florida

Sarasota Bay summary

Sarasota Bay is a fly fishing location in Florida.
                   

Sarasota Bay reports

Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 4/16 through 4/29/2018 Anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action during the past couple of weeks in Sarasota Bay catching and releasing trout to 24”, Spanish mackerel and blues on flies and CAL jigs with jerk worms. The best action was on deep grass flats with clear, intermediate sink tip fly lines and CAL jigs on spinning tackle. Dylan Lewis and Matt Schenk, both from CO, had great action catching and releasing trout and Spanish mackerel on Clouser flies on a trip with me in Sarasota Bay on Tuesday, 4/17. Steve and Doug Sutter, from Sarasota, also had good action with trout, Spanish mackerel and bluefish on Clouser flies and CAL jigs with jerk worms while fishing Sarasota Bay with me on Friday, 4/20. Capt. Kevin Wessel and I were the instructors for an IWFA (International Women’s Fishing Association) fly casting clinic on Saturday, 4/21. Sponsors included CB’s Saltwater Outfitters, Orvis, Simms and Denise Freihofer. Students received fly casting instruction and sharpened their fly casting skills before hitting the water in Boca Grande for a “funament”. Fly anglers Peter and Nini Seaman, from CA, fished both shallow and deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay with me on Monday, 4/23. They had some action in deeper water catching and releasing trout, Spanish mackerel and blues on Clouser flies. My wife, Karen Grassett and Mark Nichols, owner of DOA Fishing Lures, fished the 23rd annual Sarasota CCA “All Release Challenge” fishing tournament with me on Saturday, 4/28. Mark has been a friend for many years and DOA Fishing Lures has been a donor to the tournament tackle box since the beginning. We had good action in Sarasota Bay with trout to 24”on CAL jigs with a variety of tails. Karen won the Lady Angler division for largest trout with a 22” trout and I won the Largest Trout overall with a 24” trout. Tarpon numbers should increase daily as the coastal gulf warms. There should 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 (04/29/18)
Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 4/15/2018 Fly anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action on several trips recently in Sarasota Bay catching and releasing trout to 19”, a red and scattered Spanish mackerel and blues on a variety of flies. We mostly fished deep grass flats from 5’-8’ deep on both sides of the bay with Clouser and Grassett Deep Flats Bunny flies fished on clear intermediate sink tip fly lines. A persistent wind made finding a place to fish tough and required heavier flies to get them down in the water column on the deep grass flats. Nick Reding, from Longboat Key, and Tony Merlis, from NH, had some action catching and releasing trout on flies on a trip with me in Sarasota Bay. Nick also waded a bar and caught and released a red on my Grassett Flats Minnow fly. Marshall Dinerman, from Atlanta, had good action with trout to 19” on CAL jigs with jerk worms and DOA Deadly Combos while fishing Sarasota Bay on another trip with me. I was the instructor for a CB’s Saltwater Outfitters Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing School on Saturday. Students received fly casting instruction and also learned leader construction, fly selection and saltwater fly fishing techniques. This was the last school for the spring season. Classes will resume in the fall. Contact CB’s Saltwater Outfitters at (941) 349-4400 or info@cbsoutfitters.com for information on other classes and fly fishing events. There should be good action with trout, blues, Spanish mackerel, pompano and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Fishing shallow water for big trout, 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 (04/15/18)
Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota & Tampa Bay, FL Fishing Report for 1/29 through 2/11/2018 Anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action catching and releasing trout and Spanish mackerel in Sarasota Bay and tripletail in the coastal gulf, snook in the ICW and reds and trout on CAL jigs with shad tails in the Terra Ceia area during the past week. The best action was with big trout in skinny water in Sarasota Bay, tripletail in the coastal gulf, snook in the ICW at night and reds in skinny water in the Terra Ceia area. Nick Reding, from Longboat Key and Mike Perez, from Sarasota, waded a couple of shallow flats in Sarasota Bay with me on Monday, 1/29. A front was pushing through and fish turned on. They had good action catching and releasing a dozen or more trout up to 22” on Grassett Flats Minnow and Clouser Minnow flies. Frank Zaffino, from Rochester, NY, fished lighted docks in the ICW with me on Tuesday evening, 1/30 and had good action catching and releasing snook. Snook gorged themselves on glass minnows and also ate my Grassett Snook Minnow, a glass minnow fly pattern. Alan Sugar, from MI, fished deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay with me on Wednesday afternoon, 1/31 and had some action catching and releasing trout on Ultra Hair Clouser flies. David Coffey, from Toronto, Canada, also fished Sarasota Bay with me on Friday, 2/2 and had good action catching and releasing more than a dozen trout and several Spanish mackerel on the same fly pattern. When fishing docks and deep grass flats in the winter, fish are more likely to be deep in the water column so a clear intermediate sink tip fly line and a weighted fly works well to get the fly down in the water column. Also there may be more toothy fish, such as Spanish mackerel and blues in the mix, so synthetic material flies are more durable. Nick Reding, from Longboat Key and Mike Perez, from Sarasota, waded a couple of shallow flats in Sarasota Bay with me on Monday, 2/5. The action wasn’t fast but they caught and released a few quality trout up to 22” on Grassett Flats Minnow and Clouser Minnow flies. Alan Sugar, from MI, fished deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay with me on Wednesday, 2/7 and had some action catching and releasing trout and a Spanish mackerel on Ultra Hair Clouser flies. A couple of classmates from MD and DE whom I hadn’t seen in more than 40-yrs, Jim Willey and Gary Zlock met me at the boat launch at the end of my trip on Weds to say hello. We took a short trip to bend the rod on a few trout and shared a beer and a burger at the end of the day. Great to catch up! Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, IL and Jack McCulloch, from Lakewood Ranch, FL, fished the Terra Ceia Bay area with me on Tuesday, 2/6. They had great action with several reds and trout on CAL jigs with shad tails. The most memorable trip of the week was with Martin Marlowe, from NY, on Thursday, 2/8. We hunted tripletail in the coastal gulf, found several and caught and released the personal best tripletail ever caught on my boat! The big fish ate a shrimp fly pattern on a 7-wt fly rod, ran deep into the backing and put on a show jumping. We survived getting wrapped on the crab trap line to bring the fish to the boat. Congratulations Martin! I was one of the seminar speakers at the 2018 Florida Fly Fishing Expo at the Plantation resort in Crystal River, FL on Friday, 2/9. The Fly Fishers International (FFI) event featured some of the best fly tiers and fly fishing anglers and guides in the state, including legendary Florida Keys fly fishing guide, Steve Huff. The show featured seminars, fly tying and fly casting clinics and demonstrations. I gave a presentation to an enthusiastic, standing room only group on fly fishing for snook at night and deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Fish the windows of stable weather between fronts for the best action. Sunny afternoons and evenings with some protection from the wind should fish better this time of year due to warmer water. There should be good action with trout, blues, Spanish mackerel, pompano and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Fishing shallow water for big trout should also be a good option. I think it is appropriate to discuss something here that has been bothering me for a while. Not that there’s anything wrong with catching and eating fish, but I think boat limits are needed for both guides and recreational anglers. With numerous species of fish available to catch and bag limits as they currently are for some species, it may be legally possible to keep a total of 30 to 40 or more fish depending on the species and number of anglers on a boat. I don’t think Sarasota Bay and surrounding waters can support that kind of pressure. Some people forget or never knew about the conservation battles that many guides, along with CCA, fought in the past with redfish in the 80’s, the gill net ban in the 90’s, snook regulations and more to get to where we are today. With an increasing population and more anglers fishing, less habitat due to development and declining water quality due to residential runoff and agricultural pollution, fishing is bound to decline if we don’t all do something about it. Just my opinion, but as a guide for 28-years I promote catch and release fishing and conservation to all of my clients and I think it is important to set that example. I’m not trying to be judgmental, but just because we can legally kill a limit of fish doesn’t mean we have to, to be successful. Everyone is the captain of their own vessel and can set lower limits themselves. Guides are teachers, we can make a difference or have a negative impact. As I say every month in my fishing forecast, 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 (02/11/18)
Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 1/15 through 1/27/2018 Anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action catching and releasing snook and bluefish in the ICW on flies, trout, bluefish, pompano and a red in Sarasota Bay and trout in Gasparilla Sound on CAL jigs with shad tails during the past couple of weeks. Water temperatures remained cool, however the warmest water of the day was in the afternoon and evening on outgoing tides. .Marshall Dinerman and Vic Silverman, both from Atlanta, GA fished Sarasota Bay with me on Wednesday, 1/17. With water temperature in the high 50’s, action was slow to start. However as an approaching front got close to us, action turned on. They ended the trip with several nice trout, bluefish, pompano and a red on CAL jigs with shad tails. The next couple of trips were cancelled due to extreme conditions, low’s in the 30’s. Fortunately the cold snap only lasted a couple of days before a warm up started. I was the instructor for a CB’s Saltwater Outfitters Orvis-Endorsed Fly fishing School on Saturday, 1/20. Students received instruction in fly casting basics, line control, shooting line and the roll cast. Students also learned leader construction, fly selection and saltwater fly fishing techniques. Contact CB’s Saltwater Outfitters at (941) 349-4400 or info@cbsoutfitters.com to make reservations for the next school on Feb 24th. Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, IL and Stephen Liska, from Naples, FL, fished Gasparilla Sound and backcountry areas near Boca Grande with me on Monday, 1/22. We fished potholes and mangrove shorelines and they had some action with trout on CAL jigs with shad tails. Hal Lutz, from Parrish, FL and Jeb Mulock, from Bradenton, FL fished lighted docks in the ICW with me on Tuesday evening, 1/23 and had some action catching and releasing snook on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. Water temperatures were several degrees warmer on the outgoing tide, as water that was warmed by the sun on shallow flats in the afternoon flowed out. The action was better on Thursday evening, 1/25 when Martin Marlow, from NY, fished with me. He had good action catching and releasing snook and blues also on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. Fish the windows of stable weather between fronts for the best action. Sunny afternoons and evenings with some protection from the wind should fish better this time of year due to warmer water. There should be good action with trout, blues, pompano and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Shallow water action for larger trout and reds 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 (01/27/18)
Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 1/2 through 1/14/2018 Anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had action with reds, trout, pompano and bluefish in Sarasota Bay on flies, DOA Deadly Combos and CAL jigs with shad tails and snook and blues on flies in the ICW at night during the past week. Sunny afternoons and calm winds allowed the water to warm back into the 60’s following last week’s strong front and trout moved into shallow water. A strong front early in the week, followed by a reinforcing front, forced the cancellation or postponement of several trips during the week of 1/2. However I was able to get out one day later in the week when conditions improved. Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, IL, Rick Anderson and brothers Garrett and Nate Anderson, also from IL, fished Sarasota Bay with me in a couple of shifts on Thursday, 1/4. Action wasn’t fast, but they caught some quality fish. We fished deep grass flats early in the day and they caught and released several trout to 18” on CAL jigs with shad tails. With a negative low tide, some sun and protection from the wind, we fished shallow water in the afternoon and found redfish concentrated in a few spots. They caught several reds to 26” on CAL jigs with shad tails. Nate finished the day up strong by landing a nice pompano also on a CAL jig with a shad tail! Marshall Dinerman, from Atlanta, GA fished Sarasota Bay with me on Tuesday afternoon, 1/9. With water temperature in the high 50’, action was slow. We caught and released a few trout on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos on deep grass flats. The largest trout was caught on a CAL jig with a shad tail in less than 2’ of water, which was also the warmest water. Keith McClintock and Victor Feldman, both from IL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Wednesday, 1/10. It was slow to start, but trout turned on in the afternoon as the sun warmed shallow water to as warm as 65 degrees in a couple of spots. Snook also moved onto the edges of bars to warm up. With water temperatures back in the 60’s after several days of warming, Martin Marlowe, from NY, fished the ICW with me on Thursday night, 1/11. He had good action catching and releasing snook and several blues around dock lights on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. Fish were actively feeding and swimming away strong. Afternoons and evenings will usually have the warmest water of the day, as the sun warms shallow water that flushes out of bays with outgoing tides. Another front pushed through on Friday 1/12, beginning a few days of below average temperatures. Steve Kost, from Lakewood Ranch, FL and his son Nick Kost, from NY, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Saturday, 1/13. It was very windy, rough and tough to find any protected water to fish. Despite the tough conditions, they had some action with bluefish, trout and ladyfish on flies. I worked with Nick on his fly casting and he scored his first fish on a fly, a ladyfish, in 25-mph wind! The toughest fishing this time of year is usually the day of a front or the day after, when the wind blows from the northwest and cold air comes rushing in causing water temperatures to fall. Water temperatures may drop back into the 50’s next week, so temperature sensitive fish should be avoided at that time. Fish the windows of stable weather between fronts for the best action. Sunny afternoons with some protection from the wind should fish better this time of year due to warmer water. There should be good action with trout, blues, pompano and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Shallow water action for larger trout and reds 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 (01/14/18)
Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 12/17/2017 through 1/1/2018 Anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action catching and releasing trout, blues, pompano and a cobia on flies and CAL jigs with shad tails on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay and tripletail in the coastal gulf on flies during the past couple of weeks. Hefty bluefish provided great action for fly and spin fishing anglers! With plenty of sun and calm seas, fly anglers had good action sight fishing tripletail in the coastal gulf on Monday, 12/18, catching and releasing several. Although false albacore moved on after the last front, tripletail action has remained good and some larger fish have moved into the area. Kevin Smith, from West Chester, PA, had good action fly fishing deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay with me on Wednesday, 12/20. He caught and released numerous trout and a pompano on Ultra Hair Clouser flies. Alan Sugar, from MI, got in on the action with trout in Sarasota Bay on Ultra Hair Clouser flies with me on Thursday, 12/21. We started the trip off with a bang, catching and releasing a 34” cobia on a CAL jig with a shad tail on the first cast of the day! Adam Theiler, from London, also had some action in Sarasota Bay with me on Friday, 12/22, catching and releasing trout on Ultra Hair Clouser flies fished on a 6-wt rod. Alan Sugar and Ray Hutchinson, both from MI, had good action fly fishing deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay with me on Tuesday, 12/26. They caught and released trout and several nice bluefish on Ultra Hair Clouser flies. Indy Kimura and Mireya Castillo, both from Salt Lake City, UT also had some action on their first saltwater fly fishing trip in Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday, 12/28. They had good action catching and releasing numerous trout and several big blues on Ultra Hair Clouser flies. Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, IL, Victor Feldman, from Champagne, IL and Steve McClintock, from Pittsburgh, PA fished Sarasota Bay with me on Friday, 12/29. We fished skinny water in the morning and they caught a couple of nice trout and a 5-1/2-pound pompano on CAL jigs with shad tails. We fished deep grass flats in the afternoon where they had good action with blues, also on CAL jigs with shad tails. Barry Slee and Maria Horvat, both from Lake Forest, IL, fished deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay with me on Saturday, 12/30. They had good action catching numerous blues and trout on CAL jigs with shad tails. There should be good action with trout, blues, pompano and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Shallow water action for larger trout and reds is improving due to cooler water. Fishing lighted docks and bridges in the ICW for catch and release snook with flies and DOA Lures should also be a good option after the weather stabilizes following today’s front. I would like to thank the many long time, repeat clients that fished with me during 2017 and wish a happy 2018 to all. 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 (01/01/18)
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