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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 7/28/2018 Anglers fishing with me recently, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action with snook, trout and a juvenile tarpon on dock lights before daylight and trout to 4-1/2 lbs, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and a cobia on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay on flies, DOA Deadly Combos and CAL jigs with shad tails. Jerry Poslusny and Bill Nesbitt, both from Rochester, NY, fished several days with me during the week of 7/16. We had multiple shots at tarpon with a fly before the blow on Monday, 7/16 but on Tuesday, 7/17 we saw very few tarpon. The wind turned west on Wednesday, 7/18 and the coastal gulf was unfishable for tarpon. We fished Sarasota Bay where they had good action with trout and a cobia on Ultra Hair Clouser flies, DOA Deadly Combos and CAL jigs with shad tails. My brother, Kirk Grassett from Middletown, DE, fished with me later that week. With the wind still in a westerly pattern, we fished dock lights before dawn and had good action with snook, trout to 20” and a 10-lb juvenile tarpon on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. We also worked deep grass flats in Sarasota Bay after dawn and had good action with trout to 4-1/2 lbs, bluefish and a Spanish mackerel on Ultra Hair Clouser flies and DOA Deadly Combos. John and DJ, from NY, fished several days with me during the week of 7/23. Our plan was to fly fish for tarpon in the coastal gulf all week, but with the wind still in a westerly pattern the coastal gulf was unfishable for tarpon most of the time. Instead we fished dock lights in the evening and before dawn and had good action catching and releasing snook on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. There should still be some tarpon fishing in the coastal gulf when conditions improve. There may be fewer fish but late season tarpon have already 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. 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 (07/28/18)
Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 6/30/2018 Anglers fishing with me recently, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action catching and releasing tarpon on live crabs in the coastal gulf in Sarasota and trout on DOA Lures in Sarasota Bay. Denis Clohisy, from WI, and Jim Dempsey. From IL, tarpon fished a couple of days with me during the past week. They had good action jumping several tarpon and catching and releasing two on live crabs. The wind shifted west on our last day and tarpon in the gulf wasn’t an option. We fished deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay with CAL jigs and jerk worms or shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos where they had good action catching and releasing trout. Tarpon fishing in the coastal gulf is very dependent on conditions, so when conditions are good we should have some opportunities. 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 (06/30/18)
Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 6/10/2018 Anglers fishing with me recently, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had some action in Sarasota Bay catching and releasing trout and a red on CAL jigs with jerk worms and shad tails. Another angler caught and released a blacktip shark on a threadfin while fishing the coastal gulf with me. Several days of tarpon fishing were either canceled or rescheduled due west winds causing rough and dirty water. However, Hal Lutz from Parrish, FL, was able to get out for tarpon in the coastal gulf a couple of days with me. Hal hooked up on a fly one day and Jeff Stressing, also from Parrish, caught and released a blacktip shark on a threadfin on another trip. Longtime clients Scott Heidler, from OH and Scottie Heidler, from Miami, fished a day with me last week. We were scheduled to tarpon fish, but conditions wouldn’t allow it so we fished Sarasota Bay instead. They had some action catching and releasing trout on deep grass flats and a red in shallow water on CAL jigs with jerk worms and shad tails. Tarpon fishing in the coastal gulf is very dependent on conditions, so when conditions are good we should have some opportunities. 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 (06/10/18)
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)
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