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, reds, trout and flounder in Sarasota Bay, snook, reds and trout in Gasparilla Sound and snook and bluefish in the ICW at night near Venice on lures and flies during the past week.
Tim Graham, from Nokomis, fished Gasparilla Sound in Charlotte Harbor with me on Monday. He had good action catching and releasing three reds, a pair of snook and about a dozen trout on CAL jigs with shad tails.
Anna Maria Island and Sarasota winter residents, Bill Morrison and Gary Marple, fished the ICW near Venice with me on Tuesday evening. They had steady action catching and releasing about 15 snook and a nice bluefish on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly.
Peter and Nini Seaman, from California, fished the same area with me on Wednesday afternoon and evening. They also had good action catching and releasing a couple of snook on a Clouser fly before dusk and more than a dozen snook on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly in the ICW at night near Venice. We were pleasantly surprised when we encountered a "laid up" tarpon of about 75-pounds or more while I poled a mangrove shoreline in Little Sarasota Bay. The fish floated to the surface only a few feet from the boat along the edge of channel. We saw each other at the same time and the big fish splashed us and waked the boat as it left!
I tied flies and gave a presentation on fly fishing bay and back country areas in the spring at the Suncoast Fly Fishers club in St. Petersburg on Thursday evening. The club is very well organized and the meetings are well attended. They meet on the third Thursday of the month at Walter Fuller Park. A great fly fishing club to belong to if you live in that area!
Mark Nichols, owner of DOA Fishing Lures, and I fished with Capt. Andy Cotton on Friday and Saturday. We scouted Sarasota Bay on Friday in preparation for the Sarasota CCA "Photo All Release Challenge" on Saturday. We had a good day catching and releasing snook around lighted docks and on the flats on DOA shrimp baits on Friday. Andy caught and released a big flounder on a DOA shrimp and a big red on the new DOA Airhead. A front came through on Friday evening and the wind switched from south to north, changing our game plan for Saturday. We had good action with snook around lighted docks, but nothing measured for the tournament.
We worked a bar where we caught and released a red and numerous trout, including a 25-inch trout that Mark caught and released. This a great event; laid back, low stress family fun with a nice dinner after fishing on Saturday evening that helps support conservation.
Catch and release night snook fishing in the ICW from Sarasota to Venice should be a good option next week. Look for reds and big trout in potholes and on the edges of bars when the tide is low or on shallow flats on sunny afternoons when the tide is high. Action should improve in the coastal gulf with Spanish mackerel, false albacore, tripletail, cobia and more as the water continues to warm and baitfish become more plentiful. Look for "laid up" tarpon along bars and on deep grass flats and in the coastal gulf.
Capt. Rick Grassett Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service Inc. (941) 923-7799