FLORIDA: Good Flats & Coastal Gulf Action in Sarasota & Charlotte Harbor

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 false albacore (little tunny), Spanish mackerel, trout, flounder, redfish and snook in Gasparilla Sound and the coastal gulf in that area during the past couple of weeks. We also caught and released numerous Spanish mackerel on fly poppers off of Longboat Key one day.

Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, IL, and Jack McCulloch from Englewood, FL, fished Gasparilla Sound with me on Friday, 9/28. They started the day off with a bang landing a couple of 10-pound false albacore on CAL jigs with jerk worms and shad tails in the coastal gulf before we headed for the back country. They had steady action catching and releasing trout, flounder, redfish and snook on CAL jigs with a variety of tails. Jack finished the day strong with a 27″ snook on a CAL jig with a shad tail.

I was away visiting family in Delaware from 9/29-10/6, so I don’t have a Sarasota fishing report for that time frame. However, I did have an opportunity to fish Tangier Sound in Chesapeake Bay a couple of days while I was there. My brother Joey Grassett and I fished with our brother, Kirk Grassett, on his Jones Brothers 18′ Cape Fisherman, a perfect boat for those waters. One day we launched at Hooper’s Island, MD and another day we began our trip out of Crisfield, MD.

We had good action both days catching and releasing numerous striped bass (locally know as rockfish or stripers) and spotted sea trout on flies and jigs. It was great to have good action with trout! That area is at the northern extreme of the spotted sea trout’s range. We caught more than 15 trout with many of them from 18″ to 22″. The larger stripers were about the same size and very scrappy. We also caught and released a couple of blues and 3 small reds.

Rusty Chinnis, from Longboat Key, FL, and I scouted the coastal gulf off Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island in his Hell’s Bay flats skiff on Wednesday, 10/10. We didn’t find much surface activity except for a few mackerel blasting out of the water in a few spots, but we couldn’t get them going. With not much to cast to on the surface, we looked for fish over structure and hit the jackpot. We found some bait holding over hard bottom and made a drift over it casting fly poppers. We caught and released numerous Spanish mackerel in the 3 to 4-pound class. It was fun watching them blow up on our poppers when they ate!

Back at home in Sarasota, fishing for false albacore (little tunny), Spanish mackerel and more in the coastal gulf should continue to get better as the water cools and baitfish schools become more concentrated. Although there have been reports of red tide from Casey Key south into Charlotte and Lee counties, it is currently clear in Sarasota from Siesta Key north. Fish deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay for trout, Spanish mackerel, blues and more. Shallow water fishing for reds, trout and snook should also improve as it gets cooler.

Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Srv
p: 941-923-7799

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