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, trout and jacks in Sarasota Bay, false albacore (little tunny) and Spanish mackerel in the coastal gulf off Sarasota and in Tampa Bay and jumped and landed tarpon in Charlotte Harbor canals during the week of Sept. 17.
I scouted the coastal gulf off Sarasota with my wife, Karen, on Sept. 16. We had fast action with false albacore to 10 pounds and Spanish mackerel to 4 pounds on CAL jigs with shad tails and jerk worms, top water plugs, Grassett Snook Minnow flies and fly poppers. Lots of sharks in the 30- to 40-pound class fed in mackerel schools, biting one of our fish in half at the side of the boat and blowing up on a fly popper!
Nick Reding, from Longboat Key, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Sept. 17 and 19. We waded several bars on both sides of Sarasota Bay and caught and released trout and a couple of snook on Clouser and Grassett Flats Minnow flies. We also caught and released a few jacks that were feeding in glass minnow schools on the same flies.
Tim Haywood, from Longmont, CO, fished Charlotte Harbor canals for juvenile tarpon with me on Tuesday. He had a great day, jumping 5 tarpon and landing 1, on a gold/black DOA TerrorEyz. The 15-pound fish, was measured, DNA sampled and successfully released. Even though they're small tarpon, they're still big fish, mostly 10 to 30-pounders, on medium spinning tackle or an 8 or 9-weight fly rod!
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I fished with Rusty Chinnis, from Longboat Key, FL, on Thursday. He purchased a new Yamaha 70-HP 4-stroke outboard for his Hell's Bay flats skiff and needed to begin breaking it in, so what better way to do it than hunting for albies in the coastal gulf! We found a few Spanish mackerel widely scattered in the coastal gulf. However, there were schools of Spanish mackerel and albies feeding in bait schools near the mouth of Tampa Bay. We had good action catching and releasing several large albies in the 10 to 12-pound class on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly.
Fishing for false albacore, Spanish mackerel and more should be hot in the coastal gulf this week when sea conditions are good. Look for diving terns and breaking fish to find them. Tarpon of all sizes should be another good option in upper Charlotte Harbor, depending on conditions. Catch and release snook fishing before dawn and then moving to the flats for trout and reds in Sarasota Bay should also be good next week.
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service