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 Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jacks and trout in Sarasota Bay on flies, top water plugs, DOA Deadly Combos and CAL jigs with shad tails during the week of Dec. 16.
Don and Linda Tase, from New Hampshire, and son-in-law Jesse Ramirez, from Colorado, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Dec. 16. It was cool to start but warmed up fast. They caught and released Spanish mackerel, blues, jacks and trout on Ultra Hair Clouser flies and CAL jigs with shad tails at Stephens Point.
I fished with my friend, Capt. Rick Depaiva, in his home waters of Pine Island Sound later in the week. Capt. Rick knows his waters well and when conditions are right, fishing can be awesome there. With a full moon we targeted tailing reds on a negative low tide and, despite breezy conditions, they tailed well. We had lots of shots at tailing reds, hooked three and landed two, one on my Grassett Flats Minnow fly and another on a DOA crab. After seeing Rick's big red pounce on a DOA crab with no hesitation, I will be throwing that lure more often!
I also fished a day with my friend, Rusty Chinnis, from Longboat Key. We fished potholes and shallow grass flats from north Sarasota Bay to Palma Sola Bay and caught and released a few trout on Clouser flies. We were surprised to see an adult coyote, stalking birds and digging shellfish out of the bottom about a half-mile from shore on an exposed flat. I've often seen raccoons prowling flats or shorelines, but this is the first time I've ever seen a coyote on a saltwater flat.
Tommy Lewis II and his son Tommy, from North Carolina, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Dec. 20. They had good action catching and releasing trout, Spanish mackerel and blues on DOA Deadly Combos, CAL jigs with shad tails and top water plugs. The best action was with blues to 5-pounds on top water plugs in 2'-3' of water. Brian Logun, from Atlanta, got in on the action, catching and releasing blues to 5 pounds on fly poppers and top water plugs in the same area with me on Dec. 21. It was fun to watch schools of bluefish blow up on their fly poppers and plugs!
Fishing deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay for trout, Spanish mackerel, blues and more should be a good inshore option next week. Big trout are also moving into shallow water in Sarasota Bay, where you may find them along with reds in potholes or on the edges of bars when the tide is low. Look for false albacore and tripletail in the coastal gulf when conditions are good.
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.