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 and Spanish mackerel in Sarasota Bay on flies during the week of March 24.
A front passed through on March 24 with a soaking, all-day rain, so we chose to not snook-fish. It was a good choice because it rained all night. Venice and Lakewood Ranch winter residents Chub Bortz and Jeff Wagner fished Sarasota Bay with me on March 25. The rain stopped by late morning, and the wind blew 25 mph before the end of the trip; however, they persisted and caught trout to 20 inches, including a couple of slot-sized fish and ladyfish on Ultra Hair Clouser flies.
Weather was a problem again on March 26 as cold air settled in and strong winds continued to blow, so we didn't fish. Bill Fox, from Atlanta, fished Sarasota Bay with me on March 27 and 28. Bill prefers the action and variety found on deep grass flats, so we focused on those areas to keep his fly rod bent. He had good action both days catching and releasing numerous trout and a few Spanish mackerel on Ultra Hair Clouser flies. There also were ladyfish and jacks in the mix to keep things interesting.
I was the instructor for a CB's Saltwater Outfitters Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing School on March 29. In addition to fly casting, students were also schooled on leader construction and saltwater fly fishing techniques. The next class will be on April 12. Contact CB's Saltwater Outfitters at 941-349-4400 to sign up.
Fishing deep grass flats for trout, Spanish mackerel, pompano and more should continue to be a good option. Also, look for reds, snook and big trout on shallow flats or edges of bars in Sarasota Bay. When conditions improve in the coastal gulf, action with Spanish and king mackerel, false albacore (little tunny) and tripletail should also heat up.
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
Fishing was good the week of March 24 aboard my Action Craft Coastal Bay boat, the O'Fishall out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key. With rainy and windy conditions all week, fly and spin anglers were still rewarded with Spanish mackerel, spotted seatrout, jack crevalle, bluefish, sheepshead and mangrove snapper.
On March 26, I ran a two-boat charter out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters with Capt. Kevin Wessel. Despite 20+-mile-an-hour winds from the north we still put our seven anglers on some fish. Between the two boats we caught spotted seatrout, Spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper and sheepshead.
I also had a charter on the afternoon of March 26. I picked up my anglers, Ryan and Grant Keller, at the Hyatt in downtown Sarasota. We fished the deep grass flats on the east side of Sarasota Bay on up to Longbar. Ryan and Grant caught and released bluefish to 4 pounds, spotted seatrout, ladyfish and Spanish mackerel using DOA CAL Shad Tail Jigs.
Thursday's charter canceled due to rain, but on Friday fly anglers Neil DeMarino and Bob Pinder braved the windy conditions. We started fishing the east side of the bay looking for a little buffer from strong SE winds we made several short drifts and caught a couple of spotted seatrout. The winds shifted just enough to the south and I made my way over to the middle grounds. Bob and Neil caught several trout to 18 inches, and Spanish mackerel using synthetic Clouser-style minnows.
Dane and Gary Franklin fished with me on March 29. We concentrated on the flats and sand bars on the west side of Sarasota bay. Dane and Gary caught and released a mixed bag of spotted seatrout, jack crevalle and Spanish mackerel using flies and DOA CAL Shad Tail jigs.
Capt. Andy Cotton