Fishing was good the week of April 13 aboard my Action Craft Coastal Bay boat, the O'Fishall out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key. Anglers scored with snook, trout, redfish, jack crevalle and bluefish.
Markus and his son, Max Muhlhauser, had a great day of fishing on April 13. We concentrated on fishing the deep grass flats in Sarasota Bay. Max and Marcus had good action with spotted seatrout, jacks and ladyfish using DOA CAL Shad tail jigs.
An April 15 trip consisted of more steady action on the deeper flats. A mixed bag of species was caught, including spotted seatrout, ladyfish, jack crevalle and bluefish using DOA CAL jigs and fly.
Brian Karam from Buffalo, N.Y., fly-fished with me on April 16. We concentrated on the shallow flats looking for quality vs. quantity. Karam caught and released spotted seatrout to 3 pounds and a snook using Grassett's Flats Minnow fly pattern tied in olive colors.
On April 17, Mike Perez from Indiana scored an all-time best spotted seatrout while fly-fishing with me in Sarasota Bay. Perez and I waded the shallow flats on the east side of the Bay. We fished around mullet schools that were pushing across the flats and caught a respectable 25-inch redfish on fly. Later in the day, as the trip was winding down, we worked one last area where some mullet schools were pushing off of oyster beds, and Mike hooked up and we could tell it was a sizable trout by the way it was fighting and rolling on the surface. We landed the fish and it measured out to be a 30-inch spotted seatrout. After a few quick pictures, we released the fish unharmed to fight another day.
Mel Moore from Charleston, N.C., had fast action before the weather deteriorated on April 18. We worked some docks, shallow flats and creek mouths in Sarasota Bay and had a great bite with snook and spotted seatrout on topwater plugs.
Capt. Andy Cotton
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, bluefish, trout and flounder in Sarasota Bay on flies, DOA Deadly Combos and CAL jigs with shad tails and snook at night in the ICW near Venice on flies during the week of April 14. Although uncommon for this late in April, several fronts moved through causing wind and rain to be factors during the week.
Jamie Grow, from the Washington, D.C., area, fished with me on the morning of April 14. We took a look in the coastal gulf but didn't find anything, so we fished Sarasota Bay. He caught and released a few trout and ladyfish on an Ultra Hair Clouser fly on deep grass flats on the west side of the bay. Anna Maria and Sarasota winter residents, Bill Morrison and Gary Marple, snook fished with me in the ICW near Venice that evening. Action was slow to start but as the incoming tide picked up, snook turned on. They caught and released more than 15 snook to 23 inches on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly.
It was very windy out of the west when Rick White and Ben Garbowski, both from Apollo Beach, fished Sarasota Bay with me on April 15. We worked deep and shallow grass flats on the west side of the bay to seek shelter from the wind but action was slow. The action picked up some when Anna Maria and Sarasota winter residents Bill Morrison and Gary Marple fished Sarasota Bay with me on the morning of April 17. They caught and released trout, including a couple of slot-size fish, on Ultra Hair Clouser and EP flies on deep grass flats on the east side of the bay. Due to a stalled front with rain and wind, we decided not to snook-fish on April 17.
Action picked up on April 18 when Stewart Lavelle, from Sarasota, and his son-in-law, Justin Goerke, from Manhattan, N.Y., fished Sarasota Bay with me. We worked mullet schools on a shallow flat on the east side of the bay at the top of the tide and it was on! They caught and released a couple of nice reds, several nice trout, flounder and a snook on CAL jigs with shad tails to complete their boat slam! The biggest trout, at more than 3 pounds, was caught and released on a Zara Spook top water plug.
John and daughters Caitlin and Megan, from New York, fished Sarasota Bay with me on April 19. With 15- to 20-mph winds out of the west-northwest we fished shallow and deep flats on the west side of the bay, where they caught and released a few trout, ladyfish and bluefish on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos. Caitlin caught and released the big fish of the day, a 5½-pound trout, on a DOA Deadly Combo! Several over slot trout, all full of roe, were caught and released this week. These big trout, which are usually females, are important to the health of our trout fishery.
Tides will improve toward the end of this week as we approach a new moon. Look for reds, snook and big trout on shallow flats or edges of bars in Sarasota Bay. Fishing deep grass flats for trout, blues, flounder and more should continue to be a good option. In addition to Spanish and king mackerel, false albacore (little tunny) and tripletail, tarpon should start to show any time now in the coastal gulf depending on conditions.
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.