Intermediate sink tip fly lines are my choice for fishing the coastal gulf waters.Use floating lines for reds and trout in skinny water and intermediate sink tip fly lines and weighted flies to fish deep grass flats for trout, blues, Spanish mackerel, flounder and pompano. Fish the ICW at night for snook with intermediate sink tip fly lines and Grassett Snook Minnow flies or Shrimp Gurglers on a floating line.
Spanish mackerel and false albacore in the coastal gulf should be one of the best options now depending on conditions. Look for bait schools, diving birds or breaking fish to find them. Trout, blues, Spanish mackerel and more should be good options on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Snook fishing should be good around lighted docks and bridges at night or on shallow flats early in the day. You might also find reds and trout along with snook on lighted docks this time of year.
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 false albacore (little tunny), Spanish mackerel, tripletail, snook and trout on flies in Tampa and Sarasota Bays and Charlotte Harbor during the past week.
Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers members Mike Kwasny and Ken Babineau fished the coastal gulf off Sarasota with me on Monday. With stone crab season now open, there is plenty of structure to hold tripletail. We found several tripletail and caught and released 2. This is a great sight fishing opportunity! Later in the morning, we found some false albacore feeding on the surface and they each caught and released their first one on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly.
Frank Zaffino, from Rochester, NY, fished the coastal gulf near Boca Grande with me on Thursday. Our plan was to fish the backcountry for reds and snook, but I checked the coastal gulf before heading in that direction and found the action with Spanish mackerel and false albacore too hot to leave. Frank caught and released 4 or 5 albies to 10-pounds and numerous Spanish mackerel to 3-pounds on Clouser and Grassett Snook Minnow flies. The fall bite in the coastal Gulf of Mexico is on!
Nick Reding, from Longboat Key, FL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Friday. We waded several bars and caught and released trout and jacks on Grassett Flats Minnow and Gurgler flies. Rusty Chinnis, from Longboat Key, FL and I fished the 10th annual CCA Florida-Sarasota Chapter and Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers "Fall Fly Fishing Challenge" on Saturday. Anglers fished for a variety of species in the catch, photo and release, fly fishing only tournament. Capt. Chris Hargiss, from Sarasota, FL was the winner of the Open division and Justin Hamblet, from Sarasota, FL was the winner of the Fly Angler division. Thanks to Orvis, CB's Saltwater Outfitters, Economy Tackle, Andy Thornal Company, Simm's, Craig Smothers (saltflys.com) and Capt. Jeff Olsen for donating awards or raffle prizes. In addition to good people, good food and good fishing, the event also raises money for CCA's and MCFF's conservation efforts.