Sarasota Bay

Tip of the week 
Techniques 

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.

Seven-day forecast 

Snook season reopens on the west coast of Florida on Mar 1, although many snook will be under the 28"-33" slot so handle them gently and release them quickly. Full regulations can be viewed at www.myfwc.com .You may find trout, blues, pompano or flounder in channels, troughs, basins or edges of flats, particularly when the tide is low. Look for reds and big trout mixed with mullet schools on shallow flats and edges of bars. Afternoons may fish better than mornings when water is cooler.

Conditions 

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 and pompano in Sarasota Bay and snook at night in the ICW near Venice on flies during the past week.

Anna Maria Island winter resident, Bill Morrison and Sarasota winter resident, Gary Marple, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Monday. We fished deep grass flats on both sides of the bay where they caught and released trout and a nice pompano on Ultra Hair Clouser flies.

Sarasota winter resident, Mike Perez, snook fished with me on Wednesday night. We fished lighted docks in the ICW near Venice and he caught and released 8 or 10 snook on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. Without much tidal flow due to an outgoing tide being negated by a strong wind blowing the opposite direction, snook were being very picky. Mike finessed them into eating by dead drifting his fly deep in the water column. There aren't many places where the wind blows 20-mph in dense fog!

I was a seminar presenter at the News Channel 8 Tampa Outdoors Expo & Boat Show (formerly the Frank Sergeant Outdoors Expo) at the Florida State Fairgrounds on Friday and Saturday. Billed as the largest outdoor and boat show in Florida, the show draws big crowds every day. Almost 50 seminars on everything from fresh and saltwater fishing, fly fishing, boating, kayaking, hunting, dog training and more were given by top outdoor experts. I gave presentations on "Saltwater Fly Fishing", which covered saltwater fly fishing tactics, fly tackle rigging and fly selection and spent some time with my friends at DOA Fishing Lures in their booth.

There are still some spots available in CB's Saltwater Outfitters Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing School next Saturday, Mar 7th. I will be the instructor for the school which will cover fly casting basics, line control, shooting line and the roll cast. The course, designed for beginning and intermediate fly casters, will focus on basics but also work with intermediate casters on correcting faults and improving casting skills. Leader construction, fly selection and saltwater fly fishing techniques will also be covered. Cost for the school, which will run from 8:30 AM to 3 PM, is $150 per person and includes the use of Orvis fly tackle, a text book and lunch. Contact CB's Saltwater Outfitters at (941) 349-4400 or info@cbsoutfitters.com to make reservations.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis- Endorsed Outfitter Guide
CB's Saltwater Outfitters-2011 Orvis Outfitter of the Year

Must Have Flies 
Clouser Minnow Chartreuse/white 1 or 2 Buy from Orvis.com
Grassett's Flats Minnow olive/white or brown 1/0 Buy from Orvis.com
Grassett's Snook Minnow white 4 Buy from Orvis.com
Captain Rick Grassett
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