CB’s Monthly Fishing Forcast

Capt. Jim Klopfer’s Monthly Forecast for Sept 2014

Reported: August 31st, 2014 by Capt. Jim Klopfer

 

Now that's some kind of eating. On the water with Capt. Jim Klopfer.

It really just doesn't get much better than this does it.

September is the month that redfish begin schooling up in Sarasota. The expansive shallow flats in north Sarasota Bay are traditionally the most productive areas to fish. Long Bar is a great place to start searching for fish. A low, incoming tide in the morning is preferred, allowing anglers to see the large schools of reds. As the tide rises, the fish will work up from the edges of flats and holes onto the grass to feed. Locating the fish can be difficult under flood tide conditions; there is just too much water up on the flat to effectively sight fish.

Artificial baits that work shallow and don’t get hung up in the grass are the most effective baits. This includes soft plastics on a light jig head, weedless spoons, and topwater plugs. A gold Johnson weedless spoon is a proven lure. It can be cast a long way and covers a lot of water. Scented soft plastics such as Gulp! baits are extremely effective, particularly once fish are located. They allow anglers to work an area slowly and thoroughly. Special weighted hooks are made specifically for this application, but a 1/8 ounce jig head also works well. Large live shrimp and bait fish will also produce; however live bait can be difficult to fish in shallow grass.

Speckled trout fishing has been outstanding this year and this should continue in September. Deeper flats will produce more fish, while the larger specimens may be found in shallow water. A Rapala Skitter Walk or X-Rap worked over bars at first light is a deadly technique for fooling gator trout. Along with trout, anglers fishing the deep grass will catch a variety of species this month including bluefish, Spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper, pompano, gag grouper, and ladyfish. Both live bait and artificial lures will catch plenty of fish. A Bass assassin Sea shad on a ¼ ounce jig head is a great choice for anglers who enjoy casting artificial lures. Olive (08) X-Raps and other plugs are also effective along with gold and silver spoons. A live shrimp under a popping cork is a time-proven technique for catching “specks” on the West Coast of Florida.

We experienced a fantastic late summer tarpon frenzy the last several years off of Buttonwood Harbor. Giant tarpon will terrorize schools of glass minnows and ladyfish early in the morning. Live ladyfish and pinfish drifted behind a boat will produce strikes, as will large plugs cast to rolling tarpon.

Snook will migrate from the beaches back into the bays. Both passes will be great spots to fish, especially on afternoon outgoing tides. The bars and mangrove shorelines along Siesta Key are prime spots as the fish move towards their fall feeding areas. Artificial baits will allow anglers to cover more water, while a well full of pilchards practically guarantees success. Redfish, large speckled trout, jack crevalle, and mangrove snapper may also be encountered while pursuing the mighty snook. Lighted docks and bridges are snook magnets and will provide great action for anglers looking to catch fish and escape the summer sun. Live and artificial shrimp free lined in the tide are deadly, as are small white flies.

The rocks and bridges in both New Pass and Big Pass will be excellent spots to target mangrove snapper this month. These tasty saltwater panfish will be migrating out of the bay and into the Gulf of Mexico. Slack tides are the best times to drop a live shrimp or bait fish along the structure. Don’t be surprised if a big snook intercepts a bait meant for a mang!

Capt. Jim Klopfer

Jim's Adventure Charters is a family oriented guide service that caters to anglers of all skill levels in a relaxed, fun environment. He can accommodate up to 4 anglers on his 20′ Key West bay boat. Charters are customized to the clients schedule, experience, expectations, and location.


Capt. Rick Grassett’s Monthly Forecast for August 2014

Reported: August 2nd, 2014 by Capt. Rick Grassett

 

Tarpon will move to inside waters of Sarasota Bay, Charlotte Harbor and Tampa Bay this month. You may also find juvenile tarpon in creeks, canals and turning basins. Reds will school on shallow flats and big trout will prowl the same waters at dawn. Also look for trout on deep grass flats mixed with blues, pompano, Spanish mackerel and more. Catch and release snook fishing should be good around lighted docks at night or in the surf. Look for false albacore (little tunny) to show up in the coastal gulf later in the month.

Tarpon addicts will still be able to get their fix this month. You should still find a few tarpon in the coastal gulf early in the month. Drifting live baits or casting flies, DOA Baitbusters, DOA shrimp, DOA Airheads and the new 4” CAL shad tail should all work. As tarpon thin out along beaches, they will move to inside waters where you may find them schooling around bridges or rolling on deep grass flats. They will also feed in schools of ladyfish that are feeding on the surface. You should also find juvenile tarpon from 10 to 30-pounds in creeks, canals and turning basins. Your snook tackle will work fine for smaller tarpon although you’ll need a leader of 40 to 60-pounds to keep them from going through it. Fly anglers should score with 8 or 9-weight fly rods, sinking lines and scaled down tarpon flies. These smaller tarpon are the perfect size for DNA sampling and since they are young, they may provide a data for years to come.

Snook season remains closed this month so handle them gently and use tackle heavy enough to catch and release them quickly. You’ll find them around lighted docks and bridges in the ICW and in the surf. Small white flies, like my Grassett snook Minnow, DOA shrimp or CAL jigs with shad tails and jerk worms should all work well. The same lures and flies will work at night and in the surf, although you should be observant of what size baits are in those areas.

Reds will school up this month. You’ll find them on shallow flats of north Sarasota Bay, lower Tampa Bay and Gasparilla Sound. They’ll be easier to find in shallow water when the tide is low. Look for “nervous” water when it is slick calm or a slick patch of water when there is a ripple on the water. They may push a wake that looks like a boat wake. I try to be as quiet as possible in shallow water, poling to locate them. Once you’ve located a school of reds, try to get ahead of them to intercept them, much like tarpon fishing. If you work around the edges of the school, you may be able to catch a few of them before they spook. We often also find big jacks, blues and other predators in the mix along with reds. Top water plugs and fly poppers or Gurglers may draw some big bites. The new DOA Airhead should also be a hit with schooling reds.

Trout fishing should be good this month. You may find a big trout in skinny water at first light. Focus on mullet or bait schools to find them. Top water plugs, fly poppers or Gurglers should be very effective at that time of day. I always release big trout over 20”, since they are usually females that may be full of roe. I like the same areas for big trout that I like for reds.

After it gets bright and starts to warm up, drop out to deeper grass flats (4’ to 8’) for trout, blues, Spanish mackerel and more. I like to drift and cast ahead of my drift with CAL jigs and shad tails or jerk worms or an Ultra Hair Clouser fly fished on a sink tip fly line. I make a series of drifts to locate fish and then shorten the drift or anchor depending on conditions. Ladyfish may feed in glass minnow schools and if they stay up long enough, it will attract trout, blues, mackerel, tarpon or sharks. Wide profile plastic baits or flies fished slowly around the edges of breaking fish will help keep ladyfish off your lure or fly and give you a chance to catch a tarpon. When blues, Spanish mackerel or sharks are in the mix add 6” of wire or heavy fluorocarbon. Also look for tripletail around crab trap floats, buoys or channel markers in inshore waters this month. A CAL shad tail or DOA shrimp rigged weedless or my Grassett Flats Minnow fly with a weed guard should get the job done.

You might find false albacore (little tunny) or Spanish mackerel in the coastal gulf this month. Look for baitfish to find them. The Tampa Bay ship channel from the Skyway Bridge to Egmont Key is often one of the first areas where I find them this time of year. Small white flies, like my Grassett Snook Minnow, poppers or Crease flies should all work well. Spin anglers should score with CAL jigs and shad tails. You’ll need to add wire or heavy fluorocarbon when toothy fish are around.

Even though it is one of the hottest months of the year, there are lots of options this month. I usually tarpon fish as long as I can either in the coastal gulf or in inside waters. An early start for snook or tarpon around lighted docks or bridges and then on the flats for reds, trout and more is a good option. Whatever you choose to do, please limit your kill, don’t kill your limit!

Capt. Rick Grassett

Rick is the owner of Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc. He's a full time fishing guide and outdoor writer based in Sarasota, FL. He’s been guiding since 1990 and is an Orvis-Endorsed fly fishing guide here at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters, the 2011 Orvis Out­fit­ter of the Year.


Capt. Jim Klopfer’s Monthly Forecast for August 2014

Reported: August 2nd, 2014 by Capt. Jim Klopfer

 

Fishing is terrific in and around the waters of Sarasota here in August

There is a little secret here in Sarasota; the fishing is terrific in August! Many anglers assume that the heat slows down the action, but this is far from true. The reality is that due to daily rain showers, the water temperature is actually lower in August than it is in June. Hordes of bait fish cover the flats. This combination results in excellent conditions for anglers to succeed. The best action will be early morning, late afternoon, and at night.

Snook love the infusion of fresh water into the bay. Phillippi Creek, South Creek, Hudson Bayou, Big Pass, New Pass and the Venice inlet are all good spots to cast a plug in search of snook as they migrate back into the bays after spawning out on the beach. Shallow diving plugs such as the Rapala X-Rap are very effective baits. They cover a lot of water and produce explosive strikes. Scented soft plastics also work well. Live shrimp, pinfish, and pilchards will also catch a lot of snook, particularly once the fish are located. Outgoing tides at first light and in the evening are the best times to fish.

Redfish will begin to school up in large numbers in August. Traditionally, the best spots are the expansive flats in north Sarasota Bay. Long Bar north to Tidy Island on the east side and the Moorings north to Sister Keys on the west are great area to look for schooling reds in August. The bars south of Siesta Drive are also worth a try. Weedless gold spoons and scented soft plastic baits on a 1/8 ounce jig head are proven baits. Hand-picked shrimp cast into pot holes is a deadly technique, too. Low, incoming tides are best.

The deep grass flats at Marina Jack, Bird Key, Radio Tower, Moorings, Bishop’s Pt., Buttonwood, and Stephen’s Pt. will be good spots to target speckled trout. High tides in the morning will produce plenty of fish. Spanish mackerel, pompano, bluefish, ladyfish, jack crevelle, sharks, small gag grouper, and mangrove snapper will also be caught by anglers drifting the deep grass. A live shrimp under a popping cork works very well. A jig with a grub tail is the preferred artificial bait but plugs and spoons are also effective.

The bars form CB’s Saltwater Outfitters at Stickney Pt. south to Blackburn Pt. will hold some very nice trout. This area does not get a lot of pressure in the summertime. This is an early morning bite and a high tide is preferred. Any oyster bar that drops off sharply from shallow water into four or five feet with grass is a likely spot. Live shrimp work very well either free lined or under a cork. Rootbeer/gold and olive/red Cotee jigs are productive lures to cast. Redfish and snook will also take a bait that is intended for a big speckled trout.

In the last several years mangrove snapper fishing has been outstanding! Grass flats that drop off into deep water with some current flow should produce plenty of nice snapper this month. Live bait works best and baitfish will usually catch larger fish than shrimp. A 1/0 live bait hook tied on a 24” piece of 20 pound flourocarbon leader with just enough split shot to get to the bottom is the simple but effective rig.

Tarpon will still be an option in the inshore Gulf, but their numbers will be diminishing and they will not be “showing” like they do earlier in the season. Live pinfish floated out under a cork at Point of Rocks will still produce a fish or two.

Capt. Jim Klopfer

Jim's Adventure Charters is a family oriented guide service that caters to anglers of all skill levels in a relaxed, fun environment. He can accommodate up to 4 anglers on his 20′ Key West bay boat. Charters are customized to the clients schedule, experience, expectations, and location.


Capt. Rick Grassett’s Monthly Forecast for July 2014

Reported: July 2nd, 2014 by Capt. Rick Grassett

 

 July is a great month to fly fish for tarpon in Sarasota in the coastal gulf. Jay Peck, from NY, caught and released this one on a fly last July while fishing with Capt. Rick Grassett.

July is my favorite time of year to fly fish for tarpon

Tarpon will still be a good option this month. Shallow water action for reds and big trout will be best early and late in the day. Some of the best action will be with trout, blues, pompano and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Catch and release snook fishing in the ICW at night or in the surf should also be good options.

Tarpon fishing will be good in the coastal gulf this month. Large schools of tarpon will dwindle in size and numbers to singles, doubles and small schools of post spawn fish. I usually find tarpon to be aggressive in July, with spawning completed and after a long migration, they usually feed aggressively. I also find them to be more curious this time of the year often swinging closer to check out the sound of a landing bait, lure or fly. Spin anglers will do best by setting up in travel lanes and drifting live baits under floats while staying ready to sight cast to fish that may pop up with no notice. The DOA Baitbuster is my “go to” lure for tarpon. The DOA Swimming Mullet, Shrimp, Airhead and new CAL swim bait are also good choices depending on the situation. I like the Owner Beast hook with the Airhead and CAL swim bait. It is easier to penetrate a hard tarpon mouth with a single sharp hook rather than a treble hook.

This is my favorite time to fly fish for tarpon. The tactics are the same as earlier in the season, anchoring or staking out on travel routes in shallow water, although fish are in a better mood. Unlike the large tarpon schools that we see around full and new moon phases in June, July fish are usually aggressive. Large schools of tarpon are impressive, but if you spook the lead fish you will spook all of them.

Tarpon will thin out towards the end of the month as they begin to move to inside waters of Sarasota Bay, Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor. They move into these areas to rest and feed following spawning. They can be targeted in these areas with flies, a variety of DO lures or live bait. Also look for tarpon feeding in schools of “breaking” ladyfish in these areas.

Catch and release snook fishing will also be a good option this month. With very warm water this time of year, it is important to use tackle heavy enough to land them quickly. Spin anglers should do well fishing lighted docks and bridges in the ICW with CAL jigs with shad tails or jerk worms or DOA shrimp. Fly anglers should do well with clear intermediate sink tip lines and wide profile flies, such as Lefty’s Deceiver or EP flies, since larger baitfish may be more predominant. Docks and bridges close to passes should be the best ones. You’ll also find snook in the surf, where you can walk along the beach and sight cast to them in shallow water. The same lures and flies that work at night usually also work in the surf, although be observant of the size baits that are present in the area you are fishing so you can “match the hatch”.

You’ll find reds very active in shallow water this month. With plentiful baitfish and higher tides, they’ll spend more time feeding over shallow grass flats. Look for them along the edges of bars or in potholes when the tide is low or along mangrove shorelines and around oyster bars when the tide is high. You’ll also find big trout in many of the same areas where you find reds, but the bite for big trout is usually best early or late in the day. Surface walking top water plugs or fly poppers and Gurglers may draw some big explosions! Casting CAL jigs with shad tails or jerk worms ahead of your boat is a good way to locate reds. I like the shallow flats of north Sarasota Bay for reds and big trout in July.

Trout will be plentiful on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. I like to drift and cast ahead of my drift with CAL jigs and shad tails or jerk worms, DOA Deadly Combos or Ultra Hair Clouser flies tied on long shank hooks on sink tip fly lines to find them. A drift anchor will slow your drift to a more manageable speed if it’s windy. Look for birds or baitfish on the surface to find fish.

Tom Files, from McIntosh, FL, beat the heat last July by catching this tripletail early in the morning on flies while fishing in Sarasota with Capt. Rick Grassett.

There are lots of options this month including tripletail

You may also find Spanish mackerel, blues, pompano and more mixed with trout on deep grass flats. Flats close to passes or on points that get good tidal flow, like the Middleground, Radio Tower and Marina Jack flats or Stephens and Bishop Points are usually productive.

In addition to tarpon, you might find false albacore (little tunny) or cobia in the coastal gulf this month. Look for albies feeding on the surface. You might even find a stray king mackerel in the mix around feeding frenzies. I have seen large schools of albies “blitz” the beach while tarpon fishing this time of year. They are usually feeding on larger baits, such as threadfins or pilchards, so flies and lures should be sized accordingly. You might even find cobia swimming with tarpon or cruising bars in shallow water along the beach. You can use your tarpon fly or spin tackle for cobia, but a medium spinning outfit or an 8 to 9-weight fly rod will be better suited for mackerel and albies.

There are lots of options this month, late season tarpon, snook in the surf or at night or fishing skinny water for reds or big trout. Tarpon fishing is best when sweat is pouring down your back, but you’ll want to fish early in the day in shallow water. Whatever you choose to do, please limit your kill, don’t kill your limit!

Capt. Rick Grassett

Rick is the owner of Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc. He's a full time fishing guide and outdoor writer based in Sarasota, FL. He’s been guiding since 1990 and is an Orvis-Endorsed fly fishing guide here at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters, the 2011 Orvis Out­fit­ter of the Year.


Capt. Jim Klopfer’s Monthly Forecast for July 2014

Reported: July 1st, 2014 by Capt. Jim Klopfer

 

In July's heat early morning is the most reliable time to fish.

The heat makes morning the most reliable time to fish

July fishing can be excellent, but tactics need to be a little different and windows of opportunity are smaller. It is simply too hot to fish in the middle of the day. Early morning will be the most reliable time to fish, evenings are good too, but frequent thunderstorms can make planning a trip difficult. Anglers who don’t mind fishing in the dark will have success at night, and they will beat the summer heat!

Action on the deep grass flats from the north end of Siesta Key to Long Bar should be very good for speckled trout, along with bluefish, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, pompano, and jacks. A high tide in the morning is favored for anglers to drift the flats and cast Cotee jigs, Rapala plugs, spoons, and live shrimp under a popping cork. Netting up a bunch of shiners and chumming the deep flats will usually result in non-stop action.

The flats and oyster bars south of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters at Stickney Pt. down to Blackburn Pt. will hold some nice trout in July, and that area gets very little pressure in the summertime. The key is water temperature; if it is too high the bait and gamefish will not be there. Periods of rain will help cool the water down. Redfish and snook will also cruise the bars and shorelines in search of prey. Areas that drop off quickly into three or four feet will be the most productive spots. A hand picked shrimp is deadly fished early in the morning on a high tide. Anglers choosing artificial lures will score with topwater and shallow diving plugs, scented soft plastics, and weedless gold spoons.

Redfish will begin to school up in July. Long Bar is an excellent spot to look for schooling reds. The large flat to the north has numerous pot holes and bars. On the west side of the bay, the prime area is from the Moorings north to Sister Keys. A low, incoming tide is best, fish are difficult to locate on a flood tide. Artificial baits are generally more effective when hunting these fish, gold spoons and soft plastics allow the angler to cover a lot of water and not get hung up in the shallow grass. Live shrimp and white bait can be used effectively once the fish are located. The largest trout prefer very shallow water, so don’t be surprised if a “gator” intercepts an offering meant for a redfish. These fish should be released unharmed, they are the female breed stock and are crucial to a healthy trout fishery.

Night fishing will be exciting and productive in July. Lighted docks and bridges attract glass minnows and shrimp, which in turn attracts the gamefish. Snook are abundant, but trout, reds, jacks, ladyfish, and snapper will also be caught at night. Live shrimp works very well free lined in the current with little or no weight. A 24” piece of 25 lb flourocarbon leader and a 1/0 live bait hook is the basic rig. Lures will also catch fish, but can be difficult to cast at night. Fly fisherman will score with a small white snook fly such as the Grassett’s Snook Minnow tied on a #4 hook.

Tarpon will still be plentiful in the Gulf of Mexico, although the anglers will not be. The large schools will have broken up, and although the fish don’t show as well, they eat better. Pinfish and crabs drifted out 6 feet under a cork at first light will catch tarpon in July. Point of Rocks on Siesta Key is a proven spot to fish.

Capt. Jim Klopfer

Jim's Adventure Charters is a family oriented guide service that caters to anglers of all skill levels in a relaxed, fun environment. He can accommodate up to 4 anglers on his 20′ Key West bay boat. Charters are customized to the clients schedule, experience, expectations, and location.


Capt. Jim Klopfer’s Monthly Forecast for June 2014

Reported: May 31st, 2014 by Capt. Jim Klopfer

 

June will find Sarasota beaches lined with anglers in search of the ultimate gamefish, tarpon, especially early in the month. Catching these giants is really not complicated. Rig a 25 lb spinning outfit with 36” of 80lb flourocarbon leader and a 5/0 hook, then position the boat 100 yards off the beach and cast a live crab, pinfish, sardine, lure, or fly at any pod that presents itself. A trolling motor helps considerably as far as boat positioning is concerned, but fish can be caught without one. Be courteous to anglers that are already working a school.

One benefit of the popularity of tarpon fishing is that pressure in the bay will be light. With many anglers “out on the beach” the bays are relatively un-pressured. Bait will be plentiful, those proficient in cast-netting will have no problem filling their live-wells with frisky pilchards. Once the well is filled, you can choose to anchor up on a likely spot or drift across a large flat. Live shrimp is also deadly on most species, but as we move into summer the pinfish become more of a problem. Anglers casting artificial baits will do well with scented soft plastics, Rapala X-Raps, and spoons.

Nice catch… you go girl!The flats around both passes and north to Buttonwood Harbor will be productive for speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, pompano, bluefish, and ladyfish. Shrimp under a popping cork, live pilchards, and artificial lures are all productive baits. Topwater baits are great fun first thing in the morning on large speckled trout, target bars in shallow water around Long Bar, Whale Key, and Buttonwood Harbor. The deeper flats in 5-7 feet of water will be productive, but the trout will generally be smaller. 3” Gulp shrimp in new penny, natural, or glow and Cotee grubs in olive, rootbeer/gold on a ¼ oz jig head will account for plenty of fish.

Redfish will begin to school up on the shallow flats, particularly in the north bay. Long Bar and Tidy Island on the east side and Buttonwood Harbor on the west side are the top spots. A low, incoming tide is preferred, the fish will move up onto the flats with the rising tide. Scented soft plastics, weedless spoons, and topwater plugs work well for those who prefer to cast artificial lures. Live bait can be extremely effective, anchoring up and fishing potholes is a proven technique.

You can count on one thing in June in Sarasota, it is going to be hot! One way to beat the heat is to fish in the evening and at night. Snook are nocturnal by nature and feed heavily in the dark. Working lighted docks and bridges is the most popular night fishing method. Anchor a cast away up-current of the light, then toss a live or artificial shrimp, baitfish, small jig, plug, or fly into the shadow line of the light. You may also catch mangrove snapper, speckled trout, ladyfish, jacks, and maybe even a tarpon fishing the bridges at night.

Beach fishing for snook was fabulous last season, and it should be good again this summer, especially with the mild winter that we had. Walk the beach in the morning, looking for snook in the surf line. Cast out a small spoon, plug, or jig in front of any snook that you spot. This is a great time to break out the fly rod, white baitfish patterns are best.

Capt. Jim Klopfer

Jim's Adventure Charters is a family oriented guide service that caters to anglers of all skill levels in a relaxed, fun environment. He can accommodate up to 4 anglers on his 20′ Key West bay boat. Charters are customized to the clients schedule, experience, expectations, and location.


Capt. Rick Grassett’s Monthly Forecast for June 2014

Reported: May 31st, 2014 by Capt. Rick Grassett

 

June should be a good month to fly fish for tarpon in the coastal gulf. Sarasota winter resident, Mike Perez, caught and released this one on a fly while fishing the coastal gulf recently  with Capt.Rick Grassett.

June should be a good month to fly fish for tarpon.

Tarpon should be plentiful in the coastal gulf this month as big schools of fish migrate along our beaches. Also look for cobia, triple tail and false albacore (little tunny) in the coastal gulf. Catch and release snook fishing should also be good in and around passes and in the surf. Fishing for trout and reds should be strong on shallow grass flats of Sarasota Bay.

Tarpon fishing should be strong this month as schools of fish increase in size and numbers. They will head off shore to spawn close to new and full moons. Set up in travel lanes along the beach at first light in the morning and cast live crabs, baitfish, plugs, DOA Bait-busters and Swimming Mullet to them. I travel well offshore along the beach in the morning to avoid disturbing schools of tarpon that may be traveling or “laid up” close to the beach. Once you’ve reached the area you intend to fish, ease into the beach with an electric trolling motor and set up in your spot. You can anchor or drift, depending on conditions. Give other anglers as much room as possible. Since fish may be moving both north and south, setting up too close to another angler may negatively affect their fishing.

Use tackle heavy enough to land them as quickly as possible. I use 7’, 20#-40# class spinning rods and Quantum Boca or Cabo 60 reels with 50-pound Power Pro braid. When spin fishing, I usually drift a couple of live baits under a float while we wait for tarpon schools to pass by. Blind casting with DOA Bait-busters or Swimming Mullet can also be productive when fish are moving past you but not showing well on the surface. The new DOA Airhead with a heavy weedless hook should also be a good tarpon bait, especially when sight fishing.

When fly fishing, I use 12-weight rods and large arbor reels capable of holding 250 to 300-yards of backing with 25-pound tippet. I use a variety of baitfish, shrimp or crab fly patterns fished on intermediate sink tip fly lines. The shallower the water, the easier it is to get you fly in front of a fish when fly fishing. Stake out or anchor in travel lanes to get shots at them.

Snook season remains closed this month, so also use tackle heavy enough to catch and release them quickly. You should find them in the surf, in passes and around docks and bridges in the ICW near passes. You can walk the beach and sight fish them in the surf with fly or spinning tackle. Small baitfish fly patterns, CAL jigs with shad tails and jerk worms or DOA shrimp should all work well. The same lures and flies that work in the surf will also work well at night. Snook will congregate in passes around the new and full moons to spawn. They will usually be in deep channels in these areas. Bouncing a DOA TerrorEyz or Bait-buster in bridge channels or passes can be an effective technique in these areas.

Fishing for reds should also be good in June. Look for them over shallow grass along mangrove shorelines or around oyster bars when the tide is high. You’ll find them in potholes or edges of flats when the tide is low. Top water plugs will work well, especially early in the day. I like to cover water with CAL jigs and shad tails or jerk worms to find them. Fly anglers should score with baitfish fly patterns like my Grassett Flats Minnow or Gurglers. You’ll also find big trout in the same areas where you find reds in shallow water. You can use the same lures and flies to catch them although first light in the morning will be prime time to catch a “gator”. I like the flats of north Sarasota Bay for reds and big trout in June.

You’ll also find trout schooling on deep grass flats along with the occasional Spanish mackerel, bluefish or pompano this month. I like to drift and cast ahead of my drift with CAL jigs and shad tails or jerk worms or DOA Deadly Combos. Fly anglers should score by drifting and casting ahead of the drift with Ultra Hair Clouser flies tied on long shank hooks on an intermediate sink tip fly line. You’ll need to add a few inches of heavy (50 or 60-pound) fluorocarbon when toothy fish are in the mix. Deep grass flats on points, such as Stephens and Bishop Point and near passes, like the Middleground, Radio Tower and Marina Jack flats are usually good deep grass flats in Sarasota Bay.

In addition to tarpon look for Spanish mackerel, false albacore, cobia and triple-tail in the coastal gulf this month. Although none of them may be thick, I’ve encountered all of them before in June. Keep your eyes open for bird activity or “breaking” fish to find albies and mackerel. Cobia and triple-tail triple-tail triple-tail triple-tail triple-tail triple-tail triple-tail around crab trap floats; however I’ve seen cobia swimming with tarpon schools before. Medium spinning tackle and a DOA shrimp or CAL jig will get the job done for all of them, although your tarpon tackle would also work well for a big cobia. An 8 or 9-weight fly rod with a floating or clear sink tip fly line is adequate to catch everything except a big cobia, in which case your 12-weight tarpon fly tackle will work well.

There are lots of options in inshore waters or the coastal gulf this month. If pulling on a 100-pound tarpon isn’t for you, fishing pressure is usually light inshore this month so reds, snook, trout and more will also be good options. Whatever you choose to do, please limit your kill, don’t kill your limit!

Capt. Rick Grassett

Rick is the owner of Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc. He's a full time fishing guide and outdoor writer based in Sarasota, FL. He’s been guiding since 1990 and is an Orvis-Endorsed fly fishing guide here at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters, the 2011 Orvis Out­fit­ter of the Year.