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.
Snook season reopened on Florida's gulf coast on March 1st and will remain open through April 30th. There should be good snook action around lighted docks in the ICW at night. Personally, I will continue to ask clients to release all snook while the population is still rebounding from the 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.
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 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.
Anna Maria and Sarasota winter residents, Bill Morrison and Gary Marple, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday morning. We fished deep grass flats on the east side of the bay where they caught and released numerous trout and a couple of Spanish mackerel on Ultra Hair Clouser flies. Frank Zaffino, from Rochester, NY, snook fished with me in the ICW near Venice that evening. It was cool (50's) and drizzling rain all night, but the snook bite was hot! He caught and released more than 20 snook to 25" and several jacks in the 3 to 4-pound class on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly.
Nick Reding, from Longboat Key, FL and Mike Perez, from Sarasota, FL, 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. 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 8th. 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.