Fishing this past week in the lower Tampa Bay area continues to improve as the water temperatures have continued to drop slowly.
Redfish have been schooling up, and we have been bringing upper-slot reds to the boat on most trips. Trout have been plentiful, but we have been catching a lot of under-sized fish to get to the slot-size trout.
On most trips, we have been limiting out on nice-sized trout. We also are catching a lot of under-slot snook with the occasional slot-size snook coming to the boat. This will continue to improve over the coming weeks as the bigger females get back on the flats with the spawn coming to a close.
A variety of baits have been working, including shrimp, white bait and cut bait. Low -ight times have been the best fishing for us. Fishing will continue to improve as water temperatures continue to drop on through at least the end of November.
Capt. Mike Senecal
Anglers fishing with me on my Action Craft flats skiff, the Snook Fin-Addict out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action catching and releasing trout, blues and jacks on DOA lures, top-water plugs and flies in Sarasota Bay during the week of Sept. 1.
Since I was away most of August, I needed to get back on the water in Sarasota before a trip on Sept. 6. Steve Traves, owner of Anna Maria Island Outfitters and Rusty Chinnis, from Longboat Key, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Sept. 4. We had some action catching and releasing trout and blues on DOA Deadly Combos and CAL jigs with shad tails on deep grass flats on both sides of the bay.
Pete Pedersen and his son Bill, from Massachusetts, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Sept. 6. We fished some of the same areas and had good action catching and releasing blues and trout on CAL jigs with shad tails, DOA Deadly Combos, top-water plugs and flies. Bill also caught and released a couple of trout on my Grassett Flats Bunny fly, his first saltwater fish on a fly! I often use a "popper/dropper" rig when fly fishing on deep grass flats this time of year. The principle is the same as the DOA Deadly Combo, with the popper making noise and a smaller lightly weighted fly fluttering along 3 feet behind it.
You should find trout, blues, mangrove snapper and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Look for bait schools, diving birds or breaking fish to find them. Reds are schooling on flats of Sarasota Bay. They may stage on edges of bars or shallow grass flats when the tide is low. Look for wakes or patches of nervous water when it is calm or slick spots when there is a chop to find schools.
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.