Anglers fishing with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released snook and jacks on flies at night in the ICW near Venice and trout, Spanish mackerel and pompano on flies, DOA Deadly Combos and CAL jigs with shad tails in Sarasota Bay during the past week. We fished deep grass flats on both sides of Sarasota Bay depending on wind direction for the bay action. The best bite of the week was fly fishing for snook and jacks at night.
Martin Marlow, from NY, and his son, Bruce Marlowe, from RI, snook fished with me on Sunday evening in the ICW near Venice. Snook were being very picky that night but they managed to catch and release several snook to 25”, ladyfish and jacks on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly.
Nick Reding, from Longboat Key, FL, and Tony Merlis, from NH, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Monday. We caught and released a few trout on my Grassett Flats Minnow and Ultra Hair Clouser flies.
Anna Maria and Sarasota winter residents, Bill Morrison and Gary Marple, fished with me on Tuesday morning. It was slow to start but they finished strong with trout and a nice pompano. Gary did particularly well with a glass minnow fly pattern that his son tied for him.
David Thompson, from Bozeman, MT, snook fished with me in the ICW near Venice on Tuesday night. He caught and released about 20 snook on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly and a shrimp Gurgler. Action was steady to start and really turned on when snook started to bust shrimp on the outgoing tide. We switched to a shrimp Gurgler and he had great action with snook blowing up on his fly!
Pierre Fortier and Alex Couture, from Quebec, Canada, snook fished the same areas with me on Wednesday evening. The action was similar to the night before, particularly on the outgoing tide at the end of the trip, but it was below the surface on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. In addition to snook, they also caught and released several jacks in the 3 to 4-pound class.
A front passed through on Thursday and 25 mph winds forced us to cancel fishing that day. Frank Zaffino, from Rochester, NY, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Friday. He caught and released a few trout, jacks and ladyfish on Ultra Hair Clouser flies. Mike Manning, from Sarasota, FL and Jim Samuels and Ray Branham, from Bradenton, FL, fished with me on Saturday. They had steady action with trout, ladyfish, jacks and a couple of Spanish mackerel on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos.
Fly angler Tim Gibian, from Frederick, MD fished with me on Sunday. With an approaching front, the wind blew 25-mph out of the SE by the end of our trip, making it very tough to hide from. We bumped up to a 9-wt rod with a heavier Clouser fly, which made it a little easier to deal with the wind and he persisted and caught a few trout and ladyfish. The best way to catch fish on a fly is to keep your fly in the water!
Fishing deep grass flats for trout, Spanish mackerel, blues, pompano and more should continue to be a good option. Look for reds and big trout on shallow flats or edges of bars in Sarasota Bay. You may also find tripletail or false albacore (little tunny) in the coastal gulf when conditions are good there.
Capt. Rick Grassett
IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis- Endorsed Outfitter Guide
CB’s Saltwater Outfitters-2011 Orvis Outfitter of the Year
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.