A fishing smorgasbord
CAPTAIN RICK GRASSETT | submitted
Nick Reding, from Longboat Key, caught and released this
nice sheepshead on a Grassett Flats Minnow fly while
wading a Sarasota Bay sandbar with Captain Rick Grassett.
Captain Rick Grassett
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 trout, reds and snook in Gasparilla Sound on CAL jigs with shad tails; redfish, trout, sheepshead and Spanish mackerel in Sarasota Bay and snook and Jacks in the ICW at night near Venice on flies during the past week.
I was out of town for a few days and returned on Tuesday night in time for Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, Ill., to fish Gasparilla Sound near Boca Grande with me on Wednesday. We fished hard in shallow water, hunting reds with some success. Keith caught and released a pair of slot reds, several trout and a snook on CAL jigs with shad tails to complete his slam. We also fished a sandbar where he caught and released a few jacks and a 36-inch blacktip shark also on a CAL jig with a shad tail.
Nick Reding, from Longboat Key, and Mike Perez, from Sarasota, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Friday. We waded a shallow grass flat on the west side of the bay where they had good action catching and releasing several trout to 4 1/2 pounds, an 8-pound red and a sheepshead on Clouser and my Grassett Flats Minnow flies. A good day!
I gave a presentation, “How to Catch More Fish on a Fly,” at the Outdoors Expo & Boat Show, formerly the Frank Sargeant Show, at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa on Saturday and also spent some time with my friends at the DOA Fishing Lures booth. If you’re interested in learning how to fly fish, there’s still time to sign up for the next CB’s Saltwater Outfitters Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing School, which will be on March 8. The class will cover fly casting basics, shooting line, roll cast, leader construction and saltwater fly fishing techniques. Contact CB’s Saltwater Outfitters at 941-349-4400 to sign up.
Snook season reopened on Florida’s Gulf coast on March 1 and will remain open through April 30. Bag limit is one fish per angler per day, which must be in a slot from 28 to 33 inches. Fish should be measured horizontally from the tip of the nose (mouth closed) to the pinched tip of the tail. The majority of fish will be undersized, so handle them gently and release them as quickly as possible. If you want a digital image of your trophy, be ready with your camera and support the fish horizontally with two hands for a quick shot.
There is a great article on fish handling, including photography tips, on the Florida FWC web site at the following link, http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/fish-handling/. Personally, I will continue to ask clients to release all snook while the population rebounds from the devastating freeze of 2010.
Look for reds and big trout on shallow flats or edges of bars in Sarasota Bay as we head away from a new moon next week. Fishing deep grass flats for trout, Spanish mackerel, blues, pompano and more should continue to be a good option. You may also find tripletail in the coastal Gulf when conditions are good.