Sarasota Bay Report Details
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Rick Grassett (Capt. Rick Grassett) reported
on the Sarasota Bay, Florida
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!
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.
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