The fishing on Friday and Saturday was absolutely crazy!!! We had a bite or caught a fish on every cast!!!! We were catching mainly trout and had quite a few jacks, mackerel, and some nice snapper!!!!! All of the fish were caught using live pilchards!!!’
Capt. Andy Cotton’s Weekly Fishing Report
Anglers fishing with me this past week aboard the O’Fishall out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key caught a variety of species this past week. I have been concentrating on fishing the deeper grass flats using DOA deadly combos and CAL Shad tails on 1/4 ounce jigs heads and catching spotted seatrout, jacks, bluefish and mangrove snapper. Early mornings and on cloudy days I have been fishing the shallow flats for snook and redfish with topwater plugs and the new 4″ DOA CAL Shad tails rigged weedless. I am also finding schools of breaking fish that are working just outside the passes in the coastal Gulf of Mexico. These schools of fish consist of Spanish mackerel, False Albacore, Jack Crevalle and sharks.
Brad and Lauren from Kentucky had a great day fishing with me last week. We fished several shallow flats and mangrove shorelines north of Longbar in Sarasota Bay. The couple caught snook, redfish and spotted seatrout on topwater plugs. Lauren caught a 27 1/2″ redfish and Brad hooked and landed a respectable 36″ snook. Both fish were photographed and released unharmed.
Friday I did some scouting in the coastal Gulf with another CB’s guide Capt. Rick Grassett. We found birds working over schools of bait just outside the passes. We stopped to investigate and found Spanish mackerel and false albacore gorging themselves on bait. I hooked up on a nice false albacore using a DOA CAL jerk bait on a 1/4 once jig head.
With the water temps getting a little cooler Fall fishing is just around the corner.
Capt. Bruce Burkhart’s Weekly Fishing Report
Fishing was pretty good last week. I went out one day with a buddy of mine the Blackburn Legend Lil Joe. We started at daylight and caught a dozen or so Redfish to 26 inches and a handful of nice Snook on top water plugs. At the end of the week I went out solo and had another good day. Tossing top water and Gulp jigs around docks I managed to land 15 Snook to 25 inches and three Redfish to 26.5 inches. Black Drum, Trout and Jacks also had my rod bending on the jigs. Blackburn Bay is giving up some nice catches even with all the rain we have had in the last two weeks.
On Tuesday I took Bob and Diane Burns from Jupiter FL who bought a donated CCA trip, out for a day on Sarasota Bay. We started out on the east of the Bay where the fish were blowing up on bait fish. It was almost a fish every cast for about an hour and then it slowed. Trout, Mackerel, Jacks and big Ladyfish were schooled up trashing the bait as it came down the shoreline. We went to fish some rock piles with jigs and landed six Flounder to 19 inches that were all released in good condition to be caught another day.
Capt. Rick Grassett’s Weekly Fishing Report
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 trout and bluefish on DOA Lures in Sarasota Bay during the past week.
We fished deep grass flats on the east side of Sarasota Bay on a trip early last week and caught and released numerous trout and a bluefish on CAL jigs with shad tails, DOA Deadly Combos and top water plugs.
Since it’s the right time of year for action in the coastal gulf to turn on, Capt. Andy Cotton and I scouted that area in his Action Craft Coastal Bay boat on Friday. It paid off when we found several schools of Spanish mackerel and false albacore (little tunny) feeding on the surface and Andy caught and released a nice albie on a CAL jig with 4” jerk worm. This action should get better over the next couple of months. One of my favorite things to do in the fall!
Look for Spanish mackerel and false albacore in the coastal gulf. Trout, blues, mangrove snapper and more should be good options on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Look for bait schools, diving birds or breaking fish to find them. You may find reds schooling on edges of bars or shallow grass flats when the tide is low. 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.
Capt. Kelly Kurtz’s Weekly Fishing Report
Fishing has been very good this past week. Water temps are beginning to cool off and there is a ton of bait to be caught. I took my wife Diana out and she caught and released at least a dozen snook, with the largest being 29″. She also caught a lot of mangrove snapper in the passes.
Jim Ragusin took his 12 year old son on his 1st saltwater fishing trip Saturday night. Eugene caught and released snook and redfish, some up to 26″. Quite a battle for a beginner but he used all of his strength and was very coachable.
Fishing in the passes the mangrove bite is fantastic as well as trout, mangroves and lot of Spanish mackeral on the deeper grass flats.
Capt. Roy String’s Weekly Fishing Report
The fishing is really good right now with the fall weather on the way. I fished yesterday with my wife and there was a lot of mackerel showing up in the bay. The deeper grass are loaded with trout, ladyfish,and bluefish, the bait is everywhere and only takes a minute to fill the live well. The snook fishing should begin to get good in a week or two, as the fish start returning from the beaches.
Capt. Rick Grassett’s Weekly Fishing Report
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 snook, redfish and trout on DOA Lures and flies in Sarasota Bay during the past week.
Fly angler Rob Merritt, from Springfield, MO, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Monday. We fished lighted docks before dawn and it paid off when Rob caught and released several snook to 24” and a 28” red on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. We worked bait schools on deep flats on the east side of the bay after daylight where he caught and released trout and a couple more snook on an Ultra Hair Clouser fly. He finished with a bang when he caught and released a mullet on the same fly while we worked a mullet school looking for reds. Not only did he score a slam with a fly, he also caught one of only 3 or 4 mullet caught in the mouth with a lure or fly on my boat in more than 30 years of fishing here!
Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, IL, fished with me on Wednesday. With heavy rain and a strong west wind most of the day, due to a front passing through, fishing was challenging. We fished skinny water from the mouth of the Manatee River to north Sarasota Bay where he caught and released trout and a snook on CAL jigs with shad tails and a top water plug. Saturday’s trip was rescheduled due to rain and thunderstorms.
You may find reds schooling on edges of bars or shallow grass flats when the tide is low. 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. Trout, blues, mangrove snapper and more should be good options on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Look for bait schools, diving birds or breaking fish to find them.
Capt. Andy Cotton’s Weekly Fishing Report
Anglers fishing with me this past week aboard the O’Fishall out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key caught a variety of species this past week. The best bite was with spotted seatrout, Spanish mackerel and bluefish. We have been concentrating on fishing deeper grass flats using DOA deadly combos with a holographic silver glitter/glow shrimp and CAL Shad tail jigs.
I’m finding schools of breaking fish that are working the outside edges of the deeper grass flats in Sarasota Bay. These schools consist of spanish mackerel, ladyfish, jack crevalle, bluefish and sharks.
Joe Staffieri and his son Joey fished with me on Saturday morning. We fished the deep grass around Stephen’s Pt. and Buttonwood Harbor in Sarasota Bay. Stephens’s Pt was the most productive with breaking fish and terns diving in 10 feet of water. We set a drift up-wind of all the action and started casting DOA CAL Shad tail jigs in to the fury of feeding fish. Joe and Joey caught and released jack, ladyfish and bluefish to 4 pounds. The duo had fast action for a couple hours until the tide stopped towards the end of the trip then the bite began to slow down.
Capt.Jack Ryan’s Weekly Fishing Report
I wouldn’t call it Shark Week last week but I would call it Shark Day on one of our charters at the middle grounds, Marina Jack Flats, or the Bird Key flats for sure. Our customers on the Sea Dog w/Capt. Jack out of CB’s had a great time fishing for Trout under corks with live shrimp. Not only did we catch Trout, Mangrove snapper, Flounder, Ladyfish and some nice Spanish Mackerel but numerous Bonnet head sharks.
The areas mentioned were all the same as we anchored and just put shrimp out the back of the boat. In short time here come the invaders (sharks). Some sharks would come along the side of the boat and I would throw dead shrimp at the fish and then put one with a hook in it and the fight was on. Some of these sharks were small but some up to 15 lbs. Not big fish but definitely a lot of fun. All sharks were released and most other fish released.
Capt. Rick Grassett’s Weekly Fishing Report
Anglers fishing with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had some action catching and releasing trout on DOA lures, top water plugs and flies in Sarasota Bay during the past week.
It was breezy on Friday as a tropical system moved across south Florida when Greg Stepanski, from Tampa, FL and Tom Frankfurth, from Terra Verde, FL, fished Sarasota Bay with me. We fished deep grass flats on both sides of the bay where they caught and released trout to 18” on DOA Deadly Combos, CAL jigs with shad tails, top water plugs and flies.
I spent some time at the DOA Fishing Lures booth at the Florida Sportsman Fishing Show in Tampa on Saturday. The newest bait from DOA is the 4” CAL shad tail and it should be a hit, especially when larger profile baits are around. The lure, which can be rigged on a long shank CAL jig head or on a weedless hook, has an amazing wiggle and vibration!
You should find trout, blues, mangrove snapper and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Look for bait schools, diving birds or breaking fish to find them. You may find reds schooling on edges of bars or shallow grass flats when the tide is low. Snook fishing should also be good around lighted docks and bridges at night or on shallow flats early in the day.
Capt. Jim Klopfer’s Weekly Fishing Report
Fishing Continues to be good on the deep flats near the passes. Radio tower and Middlegrounds produced best for me this week. Cooling temps seem to have resulted in an increase in Spanish mackerel, the bite has been good along with mangrove snapper, trout, jacks, grouper, sharks, and ladyfish. Bait is still plentiful on the bars near both passes.
Trip of the week went to Billy Chasteen from Colorado and his twenty-something year old daughters Kim and Rachel, who fished with me on Thursday. The tide was dropping fast as we left Centennial park. Bait was a bit tough on the low tide, I loaded up near Bird Key, a lot of it was small but had some decent pieces mixed in. I hit Marker #5, and fishing was fair. They caught a couple of Spanish mackerel, trout, ladyfish, and other species, but the bite was a bit slow and the cormorants were really a nuisance so I moved over to the radio Tower where the action was better.
Along with more macks, trout, mangrove snapper and jacks, sea bass, and gag grouper joined the list of species caught. Kim had the hot hand, catching the most and also hooking a shark that just about spooled her before it bit through the leader. The tide quit and so did the bite, so I eased over to New Pass where I saw some birds diving and re-loaded up on bait. One toss and i could barely get the net over the side.
We finished up at the Middlegrounds as the tide turned to come in with an INSANE bite! It was three fish at a time at first, then settled into pretty much a bite on every cast until it was time to go home.
Capt. Jack Ryan’s Weekly Fishing Report
Anglers on the Sea Dog charter boat w/Capt. Jack Ryan out of CB’s enjoyed catching and releasing Trout to 23”, Mangrove snapper, Spanish Mackerel and Flounder of good size on Pilchards. With good incoming tides and live baits, fishing the flats or docks was very productive and fun for our anglers. We had an unusual catch last Friday when fishing some docks in Big Pass. Using live Pilchards we caught a flounder that was 18” in length and had the same camouflage and design on both sides. However the under side or head was white. Never have seen this arrangement ever on a Flounder. We are going to show this report to Mote.
Capt. Rick Grassett’s Weekly Fishing Report
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 trout, blues and jacks on DOA lures, top water plugs and flies in Sarasota Bay during the past week.
Since I was away most of August, I needed to get back on the water in Sarasota before a trip on Saturday. Steve Traves, owner of Anna Maria Island Outfitters and Rusty Chinnis, from Longboat Key, FL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday. We had some action catching and releasing trout and blues on DOA Deadly Combos and CAL jigs with shad tails on deep grass flats on both sides of the bay.
Pete Pedersen and his son Bill, from MA, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Saturday. We fished some of the same areas and had good action catching and releasing blues and trout on CAL jigs with shad tails, DOA Deadly Combos, top water plugs and flies. Bill also caught and released a couple of trout on my Grassett Flats Bunny fly, his first saltwater fish on a fly! I often use a “popper/dropper” rig when fly fishing on deep grass flats this time of year.
The principle is the same as the DOA Deadly Combo, with the popper making noise and a smaller lightly weighted fly fluttering along 3’ behind.
You should find trout, blues, mangrove snapper and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Look for bait schools, diving birds or breaking fish to find them. Reds are schooling on flats of Sarasota Bay. They may stage on edges of bars or shallow grass flats when the tide is low. Look for wakes or patches of nervous water when it is calm or slick spots when there is a chop to find schools.
Capt. Jim Klopfer’s Weekly Fishing Report
Action continues to be outstanding on the deep grass flats in Sarasota Bay. Recent rains cooled the water off a tad, temperatures are in the low to mid 80s. Bait is thick on the beach and in the passes, catching a well full and chumming the fish up produced consistently this week, though we also caught fish on Bass assassin jigs in Big Pass. Mangrove snapper continue to led the way but there was a noted increase in Spanish mackerel this week. Snook, speckled trout, jack crevelle, flounder, black sea bass, gag grouper, bluefish, and ladyfish rounded out the list of species landed by clients this week. The Radio Tower, Marker #5, and the Bird Key flats all provided a lot of action. I hit a couple spots In Robert’s Bay with fair results, just a few snook, snapper and trout. It is probably still just a bit too warm.
I started my week off with Richard Nunn from the UK and Stuart Nunn (20) and Isla Murton (11). I caught bait and basically sat at the Radio tower all morning. The mangrove snapper bite was terrific, with over two dozen fat snappers being caught, along with ten Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, and ladyfish. Action was very steady with most baits producing a bite.
On Labor Day I took out buddies Darrell Rich from Johnson City, TN and John Wade from Lebanon, OH. We started off casting jigs on the flats and in Big Pass, hooking a handful of ladyfish. I caught bait and hit Marker #5, where action was virtually non-stop. Speckled trout, jack crevelle, mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel, gag grouper, black sea bass, and ladyfish kept the boys busy. After the bite slowed, I hit a couple snook and red spots near Selby, but no luck. We finished up at the Radio Tower with more mixed-bag action before we called it a morning.
I had another very productive charter on Wednesday with Karen and Barry Hamm from Flemingsburg, KY. Bait was easy, I actually caught too much, then we basically fished 2 flats near Bird Key all morning. The tide was high first thing, then turned to go out. The fish came to the chum and Karen and Barry experienced steady action all morning. Speckled trout to 17′, Spanish mackerel to 2 1/2 pounds, bluefish to 3 pounds, mangrove snapper to 14″, flounder to 14″, gag grouper, sea bass, ladyfish, and catfish kept us busy.
I finished up my week with Phil Hughey from Nokomis, FL, his son Jackson, and friend Harold Morse. Fishing was VERY good! We started off drifting in Big Pass and vertically jigging Glow Bass assassin jigs, catching ladyfish and gag grouper. The tide was quite swift, so I moved to catch bait, then hit Marker #5. The snapper bite was decent but Spanish mackerel kind of stole the show with their vicious strikes and blistering runs. In all, they probably landed a couple dozen mackerel, another twenty snapper, along with speckled trout, ladyfish, grouper, and a bonnethead shark. We finished up the charter looking for snook and reds in Robert’s Bay, catching a small snook and losing a decent one.
Capt. Rick Grassett’s Monthly Forecast for Sept 2014
September is one of my favorite months. Reds will be schooling on shallow grass flats of Sarasota Bay and you also might find big trout there at first light. Plentiful baitfish along beaches will attract Spanish mackerel, false albacore (little tunny), sharks, tarpon and more. You should find snook in the surf and around docks and bridges in the ICW. You should also find tarpon around bridges at night and in areas of Sarasota Bay, Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor. Juvenile tarpon from 10 to 30-pounds should be a good option in creeks and canals.
Tarpon will still be a good option this month. There may still be a few singles, doubles and small schools in the coastal gulf and if you’ve got the patience to wait them out it can be good. Many have moved to inside waters this month, so you’ll find them around bridges, over deep grass flats or deeper areas. When tarpon move into these areas, they are in a feeding mode. After a long migration and with their spawning duties completed, they need to rest and eat to restore themselves. Ladyfish will feed in glass minnow schools and tarpon will gorge themselves on ladyfish. I have also seen tarpon, “ball” glass minnows into tight schools, and eat them by the bucket full! DOA Baitbusters, TerrorEyz and Shrimp are my favorite tarpon lures this time of year. Fly anglers should score with wide profile patterns, such as Lefty’s Deceiver or EP flies. Small flies, like my Grassett Snook Minnow, tied on a 1/0 or 2/0 hook, are another good choice for tarpon that are feeding on glass minnows.
Snook season will reopen on Sept. 1st on the west coast of Florida. Bag limit is 1 fish per person, per day between 28”-33”. You can check www.myfwc.com for full regulations. Personally, I’m going to continue to ask that snook be released on my boat. If continuing to release them now means more and bigger snook later, I’m all for that. They are a magnificent game fish that hits hard and fights smart and I hate to kill one that is big enough to fit the slot.
You might find snook in the surf this month or around docks and bridges in the ICW. They will also start making their move towards shallow flats where you might find them staging along sand bars or in potholes. I often fish lighted docks and bridges for snook before dawn before moving to the flats after daylight. CAL jigs with shad tails and jerk worms, DOA shrimp or small white flies, like my Grassett Snook Minnow, should all work well. You can also walk along the beach in the morning, so the sun is behind you, and look for snook cruising the trough in the surf, very close to the sand. This is sight casting, so an accurate cast at the right angle is required to be successful. The same lures and flies that work at night will be good for fishing the surf, too. Surface walking top water plugs or fly popper and Gurglers may draw some big strikes in shallow water early in the day.
Reds will be in large schools in September. You may find them in shallow water when the tide is high or along the edges of flats when the tide is low. Look for wakes, some as big as boat wakes, or “pushes” to locate them. If it is calm, a school of reds may look like a nervous patch of water or if there’s a ripple on the surface, it may appear as a slick patch of water. Once you’ve located them, try to get in front of them and work around the edges of the school to avoid spooking the whole school. Surface walking top water plugs, shallow running DOA Baitbusters, the new CAL 4” shad tail and DOA Airheads (I like to clip the tail so it works like a buzz bait) should work well for spin anglers. Fly anglers should score with fly poppers, Gurglers and wide profile baitfish fly patterns. I like to be as quiet as possible in shallow water, using a push pole to move my boat. Electric trolling motors can be used sparingly, but varying the speed or running at faster speeds will often spook a school. It is great to find a big school of reds but remember if you spook 1 fish you may spook the whole school. Running an outboard may make fish show themselves, but in the long run it will make them harder to catch. I sometimes also find big jacks and blues mixed with schools of big reds in shallow water. Not a bad problem!
Trout fishing should also be good this month. Look for big trout in skinny water in many of the same places that you find reds this month. They will be most active in low light, either first thing in the morning or at dusk, particularly if we’ve had an afternoon shower. Cloud cover in the afternoon will also reduce heating of shallow flats, which usually makes fish more active. The same lures and flies that you use for reds will work well for big trout in shallow water. I release all trout over 20” on my boat since they are usually females, capable of spawning thousands of other trout.
You may also find trout mixed with blues, pompano, Spanish mackerel and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. I like to drift and cast ahead of my drift with DOA Deadly Combos or CAL jigs with shad tails or jerk worms. Fly anglers should do well with an Ultra Hair Clouser fly fished on a clear intermediate sink tip. In addition to making a series of drifts to find fish, focus on bait schools, breaking fish or diving birds to find fish. You may find tripletail on buoys, crab trap floats or channel markers in Sarasota Bay this month. A DOA shrimp, CAL jig or a lightly weighted fly should get the job done.
You’ll also find tripletail along with cobia, false albacore (little tunny), king and Spanish mackerel in the coastal gulf this month. Look for surface activity to find the mackerel and albies and cast small white flies or CAL jigs with shad tails to them. I don’t usually target kings but will occasionally catch one around the edges of a feeding frenzy. Look for feeding frenzies that begin with ladyfish feeding in glass minnow schools and may end with everything else, including sharks or tarpon, joining the fray. Remember to “match the hatch” to be successful. You’ll need to add wire to your leader when toothy fish are around.
While you are looking for mackerel and albies in the coastal gulf, you can look for tripletail and cobia. However since stone crab traps haven’t hit the water yet this season, there are less places for them to be. In addition to abandoned crab trap floats, check channel markers, buoys and any floating debris. Artificial reefs are another good area to check. A DOA Baitbuster, DOA Airhead, 4” CAL shad tail or a wide profile fly should be good choices for cobia. Most tarpon flies also work well for cobia.
There are lots of options this month, but the key is usually to fish early or late for the best chance at success. An early start for snook or tarpon around lighted docks or bridges and then on to the flats for reds, trout and more is a good plan. There will also be good action in the coastal gulf for a variety of species. I usually tarpon fish as long as I can wherever I find them! Whatever you choose to do, please limit your kill, don’t kill your limit!