|Captain's Weekly Fishing Report
Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 12/1/2013
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 in Sarasota Bay on flies during the past week. A strong front with winds above 20 mph pushed through earlier in the week, so with a broken trim and tilt module on my outboard and in need of maintenance I put my boat in the shop for service.
John Nelson, from Tampa, FL, his son, Mark and son-in-law, Chris, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Friday. With 3 fly anglers our plan was to wade shallow flats, but with a 10- degree drop in water temperature we didn’t find anything in that zone. We drifted deeper grass flats near Stephens Point where they caught and released trout on intermediate sink tip fly lines and Ultra Hair Clouser flies. Mark and Chris each caught and released their first saltwater trout on flies!
Fishing deep grass flats for trout, blues and more or reds and trout on shallow flats of Sarasota Bay should be good inshore options next week. Look for false albacore, tripletail and Spanish mackerel in the coastal gulf when conditions are good. There should also be good action with snook around lighted docks in the ICW.
Sarasota Fishing Report Capt Jim Klopfer Adventure Charters out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters 12/1/2013
Mother Nature provided us with challenging conditions this Thanksgiving week. Winds were 20+ knots during the first half of the week, but fishing was productive. Anglers fishing Big Pass and the nearby flats did well on bluefish, trout, ladyfish, jacks, and flounder using Cotee and D.O.A. CAL jigs. Snook fishing was good in the Myakke River, with fish to 28" being caught on Rapala BX Minnow plugs. Post front fishing was fair. Most of the fish caught were ladyfish with a few flounder and mangrove snapper mixed in. Good fishing should resume in a couple of days as the water clears and warms up.
On Sunday morning Dr Bill Ritchie from Akron, OH treated his daughter Laura to a trip on Sunday. Action was very steady on jacks, bluefish, and ladyfish in Big Pass and the flats near Marina Jack. Jigs, Rapala X-Raps, and live shrimp all produced plenty of fish.
On Tuesday I took out Patrick Tinucci and his teenage children Francesca and Anthony. We started off on the flats near Marker #5 catching a few trout, flounder, and ladyfish. The wind picked up, It was a steady 20 knots with gusts to 35. We "hid" in Big Pass and caught a lot of ladyfish and jacks, along with a couple of bluefish on gold and pearl colored jigs.
Wednesday morning I had a river snook trip scheduled with Kev Langham from the U.K. and his buddy Ian. Winds were 25+ out of the northwest and it was virtually un-fishable anywhere else. The boys did well casting Rapala Jointed BX Minnows in gold and firetiger. Snook to 28", bass, and gar fell for these life-like baits. Ian also jumped a 15 pound tarpon. Great scenery and quality fish with fun guys!
Thanksgiving morning was cold! Temps were in the upper 30's with a breeze; no fishing for me. On Friday I ran two trips with similar results. Fishing was a bit tough following the front. The water temperature was in the upper 50s, a drop of 10 degrees in a couple of days. Bruce Bellica from Atlanta and his grown sons John and Tim caught ladyfish on jigs and shrimp at the Marina Jack flats and in Robert's Bay. Mike McWilliams from Waukesha, WI and his 10 year old son Sean caught ladyfish and flounder on jigs in Little Sarasota Bay near Point Crisp and mangrove snapper in Phillippi Creek.
Capt. Jeffri Durrance's Fishing Report for 12/1/2013David Vincent and daughter Makenzi of Sarasota, along with friends Jeremy Ross and son Jeremiah of Winchester, VA fought the wind while fishing south Sarasota Bay this week. They were rewarded by catching a variety of fish. Using live shrimp and bucktailed jigs the group caught black drum, flounder, snook and redfish. Catch of the day goes to 12 year old Jeremiah with a nice 28” redfish. A great way to spend the day after Thanksgiving!
Tom and Noel Anderson of the Green Bay, WI area and their boys Tommy and Brady had a fun day on the water this week catching speckled trout, snook, ladyfish, Spanish mackerel, a flounder and bluefish. The anglers used jigs, spoons and live shrimp and fished the Roberts Bay and eastern shoreline of Sarasota Bay. Top angler for the day goes to Tommy with the largest (bluefish) and most fish caught.
Remember, the best time to go fishing is when you can and be sure to save some for seed!
Capt. Andy Cotton’s Sarasota, Fl Fishing Report 12/1/13Anglers caught and released multiple species of fish this past week aboard my Action Craft Coastal Bay boat the O’Fishall out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key.
Despite heavy winds and a temperature drop from a cold front moving through the first part of the week we had great action fishing the grass flats throughout Sarasota bay. With anglers catching and releasing Spotted Trout, Spanish Mackerel, Jacks and Bluefish.
Richard Berkes and his son Brandon from Ft. Lauderdale, FL and his nephew Rob Formino from NY fished the grass flats on the east side of Sarasota bay with me on Friday. We started in the shallow water looking for Redfish, but with the water temps dropping 10 degrees from a front earlier in the week these fish were being finicky. We moved out in to the deeper water and the trio caught and released Spanish Mackerel, Spotted Sea Trout and Jacks using combination of Logic Plastix baits, DOA CAL jigs.
Saturday I took my uncle Johnny Cotton from Haines City Florida, my cousin Chris Cotton and his two boys Brice and Avery from Charlotte, NC fishing. We fished the grass flats around the north end of Sarasota Bay. Avery caught his saltwater fish, it was a keeper Spotted Seatrout on the Logic Lures Tandem rig! He is only 7 yrs old and very competitive in nature. He was also score keeper all day and kept track of how many fish we all caught. The finally tally was a total of 75 Spotted Seatrout to 19" and 2 Ladyfish that were caught using Logic Lures Tandem rig in Chicken/Charteuse and DOA Cal Shad tails in Figi/Chix on 1/8th oz chartreuse jig heads.
On Sunday Myself and Capt. Doug Fisher fished the potholes on the shallow flats in Sarasota Bay using top water plugs and Logic Plastix lures. We caught and released several respectable sized Spotted Seatrout and Bluefish mixed in with the Mullet schools.
Keeper size Spotted Seatrout are showing up on the grass flats in Sarasota Bay. Look for Reds and Trout in the potholes on the shallow flats. Fish the deeper flats and you should have plenty of action with Spotted Seatrout, Flounder, Spanish Mackerel and Bluefish. Look for Mackerel and False Albacore in the coastal gulf, also keep eye open for Tripletail around floating debris and crab floats.
Capt. Bruce Burkhardt's Fishing Report for 12/1/2013
Thanksgiving week was a windy, cold week that made fishing a challenge. The Coony family fished a day and we floated live shrimp under corks over deeper grass flats. We did catch a bunch of smaller Trout, Ladyfish, nice Sea bass, Jacks and Mackerel. We moved to fish some docks and ended up with a few Snook, Black Drum and Mangrove Snapper.The Sapenfield family from Chicago fished Saturday in north Sarasota Bay for Redfish. Jigging CAL jigs in the shallow grass and potholes we lost a nice fish and landed a 23 inch Redfish. We headed for some docks to get out of the wind and caught some nice Black Drum, Flounder and another Redfish. It ended up to be a decent day for the conditions we had to deal with. The first week into December looks great for fishing.
Capt. Ed Hurst's Fishing Report for 12/1/2013
Laurin and his sister Michelle enjoyed an nice day together fishing with Capt. Ed Hurst out of C B's Saltwater Outfitters. We fished N Sarasota Bay and caught trout, bluefish, ladyfish, pompano, flounder and jacks using Cotee jigs with gold grub tails.
Capt. Jack Ryan Fishing Report for 12/1/13Mangrove snapper to 16”, Trout, Bluefish, Spanish Mackerel,and Snook made customers happy this past week on the Sea Dog w/ Capt. Jack Ryan out of CB’s . Fast Incoming or outgoing tides gave the best results for catching these fish. A good number of snapper are still in the bay.
Using live shrimp around “rocks and docks” on Siesta Key, the East side of the bay and Big Pass were our locations this past week. Each day out catches were good. Slower moving outgoing tides were not as productive. While fishing we were also dicing fresh shrimp to improve the action.
Capt. Kelly Stilwell Fishing Report for 11/24/2013
Anglers Randy, and Justin Scabule had a great time last Saturday, catching bluefish, trout, Spanish mackerel, and lots of good sized jacks. Most of the these fish were caught on poppers and clouser minnows which really made for an exciting day. The also fished with me on Sunday night and caught snook, redfish, trout, and lots of big ladyfish. All these fish were caught on dt special, and string bean flies.
Captain's Monthly Fishing Forecast
Capt. Jim Klopfer's Fishing Forecast for December 2013
December is a month that will test an angler’s ability to adapt to current conditions. Water quality will vary throughout the area as passing cold fronts churn up the Gulf of Mexico. The flats between Stickney Pt. and Blackburn Pt. will be more productive under these circumstances. After several days of nice weather, the water near the passes will clear and those areas will once again be good spots to fish. Creeks and canals will attract fish as water temperatures drop.
Often times the tides will be very low in the morning in December. This will move trout, pompano, and other species off of the flats and into the deeper channels. There simply is not enough water up on the flat for them to be comfortable. Bouncing a jig down the sides of channel edges can be very productive. As the tide rises, fish will move up onto the flats to feed. Afternoon high tides can be the best time to fish the deep flats this time of year. A live shrimp under a cork is very effective, as are jigs with plastic grub tails. Natural colors such as olive, rootbeer, and motor oil work well in the slightly darker water.
Oyster bars south of Siesta Drive will hold redfish, snook, and trout, along with the first of the migrating sheepshead. Bars that drop off sharply into deeper water will be the most productive spots. Free lined live shrimp and scented soft plastics on a 1/8 ounce jig head work well. Docks, canals, and creeks in this same area will also hold fish, especially after fronts; the water will be warmer and cleaner in these areas. On cold mornings the very back of a canal will have the warmest and may concentrate fish.
There are several creeks and countless canals in our area, and all of them are productive winter time spots. Hudson Bayou, Whittaker Bayou, Bowles Creek, Phillippi Creek, South Creek, and the Grand Canal on Siesta Key are some of the most popular fishing holes. Rapala X-Raps work very well on snook and jack crevelle for anglers who prefer to cast artificial baits. They elicit explosive strikes and allow anglers to cover a lot of area fairly quickly. Once fish are located, large live shrimp and slowly worked soft plastic baits will also catch their share. Sheepshead and black drum will be found in the deeper holes, a live shrimp works best for these tasty bottom dwellers. Flounder seem to be plentiful this year and should also be caught in these areas.
Both Big Pass and New Pass will be good spots to fish when the water is clean, especially on the morning incoming tide. Jigs bounced off the bottom will catch pompano, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, and ladyfish. Keep moving until fish are located, then concentrate on that area making short drifts and motoring back around up-tide and drifting through again. Structure in both passes will attract sheepshead, along with grouper, snapper, flounder, and other species. Slack tides are the best times to fish these spots, a swiftly moving tide makes getting the bait to the bottom difficult. The many docks along Bird Key are especially productive for sheepies.
If the weather cooperates, Spanish mackerel and false albacore (bonita) should still be off of our beaches. Schools of game fish will be seen ravaging helpless bait fish on the surface. Silver spoons, plugs, and jigs cast into the melee’ will all produce explosive strikes. This is a great opportunity to fly fishermen to experience some world-class fishing. A false albacore on a 9 weight rod is terrific sport!
Capt. Rick Grassett Fishing Forecast for December 2013
This should be a good month for reds. You may find reds along with big trout concentrated in potholes or along the edges of bars in Sarasota Bay or they may tail on shallow grass flats when the tide is low. This is also a good month for catch and release snook action around lighted docks in the ICW. Some lights will also have trout and reds making it possible to get a dock “slam”. There may be good action in the coastal gulf with false albacore (little tunny), Spanish mackerel and tripletail depending on conditions.
Snook season closes on the west coast of Florida this month so all snook must be released. Snook fishing around lighted docks can be good this month unless it gets too cool. I don’t recommend fishing for snook following a strong cold front or if the water dips below 60 degrees. However, it can be very good in December under normal conditions. Larger baitfish will thin out and snook will gorge themselves on glass minnows and small shrimp in the ICW at night. I like docks that have a good tidal flow and deep water under them. CAL jigs with shad tails and jerk worms or DOA shrimp are my favorite lures for snook at night. Fly anglers should do well with sink tip fly lines and small white flies. Fish peak tidal flows for the fastest action. The ICW between Sarasota and Venice is my favorite area for night snook fishing in December.
Reds may be in potholes or along the edges of flats and bars when the tide is low. They may also tail on shallow grass when the tide is low. Weedless rigged CAL shad tails and jerk worms, DOA shrimp, gold spoons and lightly weighted flies with weed guards will work well in that situation. As the tide rises, reds will spread out and feed on shallow flats. You may also find them around docks this month. I usually let the stage of the tide tell me where to look for reds.
You may also find big trout in skinny water this month in many of the same areas where you find reds. The same lures and techniques that I use for reds will also work for trout in the same areas. I release all big trout (over 20”) since they are usually females and I feel it is important that they are left in the water as breeders. You should also find trout on deep grass flats this month along with blues, flounder or pompano. Blues may sometimes feed on the surface, so bird activity may give their presence away. Pompano may skip when you drift or run past them and when that happens, circle back upwind and drift through the area casting ahead of your drift. Flounder prefer a mix of sand and grass, particularly in potholes or on the edges of bars. I like to drift and cast ahead of my drift with CAL jigs and a variety of plastic tails or DOA Deadly Combos. Fly anglers should score with sink tip fly lines and weighted flies, like Clousers or my Grassett Deep Flats Bunny fly, which behaves like a jig with a shad tail. I like the shallow flats of north Sarasota Bay for reds and trout in December and deep grass flats close to passes, on points and along sand bars for trout, blues, flounder and pompano.
There should still be good action in the coastal gulf with Spanish mackerel, blues, false albacore and tripletail. Rough or cold water later in the month may slow the action and move fish south or offshore. Look for terns either diving or hovering low over the surface of the water to find albies, blues and mackerel feeding on the surface. Once you’ve found them, cast top water plugs or CAL jigs with shad tails to catch them. Fly anglers should score with glass minnow fly patterns, poppers or Crease flies. Sometimes top water plugs or fly poppers will draw fish to the surface, especially over structure. You’ll need to add wire or heavy fluorocarbon to your leader when blues and mackerel are around. Look for tripletail around crab trap floats or channel markers. Once you’ve located a fish, work back into the wind or current with an electric trolling motor to get into casting range and cast live or DOA shrimp, CAL jigs with shad tails or lightly weighted flies to them. Try to make your first shot count since they are much tougher to catch once they know you’re there.
There will be lots of options in December, although fishing becomes more affected by weather. When fishing flats, I usually let conditions and the stage of the tide determine when, where and what I will target. I like to fish the coastal gulf for false albacore and tripletail whenever conditions are good. Whatever you choose to do, please limit your kill, don’t kill your limit!
Port Charlotte/ Boca Grande