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 trout, Spanish mackerel and bluefish in Sarasota Bay; trout, blues and redfish in Gasparilla Sound; and snook and trout in the ICW near Venice at night on flies, top-water plugs and CAL jigs with shad tails during the week of Feb. 3. The best action of the week was with large Spanish mackerel in Sarasota Bay.
Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, Ill., and Jack McCulloch, from Lakewood Ranch, fished Gasparilla Sound near Boca Grande with me on Feb. 3. They had steady action catching and releasing blues, trout to 19 inches and a 23-inch red on CAL jigs with shad tails.
Sarasota winter resident Martin Marlowe fished Sarasota Bay with me on the morning of Feb. 4. We fished deep grass flats on both sides of the bay, where he caught and released trout and several Spanish mackerel on Ultra Hair Clouser flies, CAL jigs with shad tails and top water plugs.
Despite a good tide and warmer water, snook fishing was slow on Tuesday's night fly fishing trip. Dense sea fog rolled in just before our night snook trip on Wednesday evening and caused us to reschedule that trip.
The best trip of the week was when Joe Brinkmeyer and Jim Brady, from Cincinnati, OH, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday morning. We fished deep grass flats on both sides of the bay where they caught and released numerous trout, Spanish mackerel and bluefish on CAL jigs with shad tails and top water plugs. They finished strong with 6 or 8 mackerel and a blue in the 4 to 5-pound class, including a couple of double hook ups on top water plugs. They had numerous exciting strikes as mackerel skyrocketed on their plugs!
The snook bite was better when Mike Perez and Harry Shubeck, from Sarasota, FL, fished with me on Thursday evening. We fished lighted docks in the ICW near Venice where they caught and released 7 or 8 snook and a 20" trout on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. Snook were being picky so we had to finesse them with different presentations and stripping speeds to get them to bite.
Jeff Syring, from MN, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Friday afternoon. It was his first saltwater fly fishing trip and he did well, catching and releasing trout and ladyfish on Ultra Hair Clouser flies at Stephens Point. I did some private fly casting instruction with a teenage student on Saturday morning. He made good progress and was loading the fly rod and shooting line by the end of the session.
Fishing deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay for trout, Spanish mackerel, blues, pompano and more should continue to be a good option. Look for reds and big trout in potholes or tailing on shallow grass flats of Gasparilla Sound or lower Tampa Bay on negative low tides as we approach a full moon next week. Tripletail should also be a good option in the coastal gulf when conditions are good.
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.