CB’s Weekly Fishing Reports

Capt Jim Klopfer’s Weekly Fishing Report

Reported: July 19th, 2014 by Capt. Jim Klopfer

 

We had very good action this week, Bluefish were caught on several charters.

Bluefish were caught on several charters this week.

Clients experienced very good action on charters this week using live baitfish. Trips start with bait-catching, which has been easy, only taking ten or fifteen minutes, then anchoring up over the deep grass flats and chumming brought the fish right to the boat.

Speckled trout to 25", Spanish mackerel, bluefish, mangrove snapper, gag grouper, cobia, ladyfish, sea bass, ladyfish, and more were landed this week. Anglers also landed sharks on several trips using cut ladyfish.

Coquina with a nice Sarasota Bay speckled trout, and boy she sure looks happy.

Coquina caught this nice Sarasota Bay speckled trout.

I started my week off with an excellent charter with Clement O'Connor and Paul Leighton and their girlfriends Tess and Coquina. Action was non-stop at the Marina Jack flat using live pilchards. A half dozen slot trout, a bunch of mangrove snapper to 13", bluefish, Spanish mackerel, gag grouper, and ladyfish kept the rods bent.

We caught a small cobia and had a big one eat a small trout, Clement fought it for a few minutes before it let go. We finished up with a shark on cut ladyfish.

Rob Mowers from Sarasota with a 25" speckled trout

Rob Mowers from Sarasota with a 25" speckled trout

The good action continued on Monday for Sarasota resident Rob Mowers and his grandson Andrew Little who was in town from GA. We started off casting Gulp! at the Radio Tower with Rob catching a bonnet head shark. A move to Big Pass for bait, then chumming the nearby flats resulted in quite a few gag grouper, ladyfish, trout, snapper, and ladyfish. Rob landed a nice 25" trout. We finished up with a blacktip shark and a 14" snapper at Marker # 5.

Long time client Scott Stinson from MO had a very good trip on Tuesday. I picked him up at Ken Thompson Park and idled into New Pass and loaded up on bait. The flats near Marina Jack were very productive, yielding speckled trout to 20", Spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper, and ladyfish. We finished up at the Radio Tower catching more trout.

Fishing was bit tough on Wednesday for the Wright family from South Carolina. It was breezy and overcast, making the bait a bit more difficult to catch. I hit several spots just kind of picking at them until we found better action on a deep flat near Bird Key. We tried a little shark fishing but a fast approaching storm sent us scurrying for cover after only a couple of minutes. Still, 7 year old Connor caught a bunch of fish with Uncle Caleb chipping in with the largest trout.

Boris Stoeber's 8 year old daughter Joy caught this fat mangrove snapper fishing with her dad and Capt. Jim.

8 year-old Joy Stoeber caught this mangrove snapper.

On Thursday morning it was blowing 20 knots with thunderstorms, so I bumped the trip to Friday for Boris Stoeber from Germany and his 8 year old daughter Joy. It was a bit slow to start but then we had a couple of flurries using whitebait as chum to get them fired up. Speckled trout, bluefish, ladyfish,. sea bass, mangrove snapper, and gag grouper hit baits at Marina Jacks, Bird Key, and the Radio Tower. Joy caught most of the fish and "helped" with a blacktip shark. We also had something spool one of my shark rods, I think it was a big ray.

The Schultz family from Ohio finished off my week with an excellent charter, although it was very hot and still. I caught bait and spent the entire trip at the Radio Tower and Marina Jack flat, catching speckled trout to 20", mangrove snapper to 14", Spanish mackerel, bluefish, sea bass, ladyfish, and more. Action was very steady with the boys catching close to 100 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. Kelly Stilwell’s Weekly Fishing Report

Reported: July 15th, 2014 by Capt. Kelly Stilwell

 

Rj Schupler hooked this tarpon on flies. RJ fought a very determined fish for an hour and twenty minutes

12 yr old Rj Schupler hooked this tarpon using flies.

Anglers aboard the 'Tide Tuit' had a good week. On Monday 12 yr old RJ Schupler and his father Robert both hooked and fought tarpon on flies. RJ fought a very determined fish for an hour and twenty minutes when the leader gave out. His dad Robert had a fish on for about 15 minutes before losing iy. Wednesday Jack Whitman caught several snook before the sun came up and then went on to fight a tarpon for a short while. The snook were caught on jigs and shrimp while the tarpon was hooked on a live thread-fin herring.

Capt. Kelly Stilwell

Kelly has lived and fished in this area for over 30 years. His specialties are artificial bait, fly fishing, tarpon, and live bait fishing in Sarasota Bay and the nearshore Gulf of Mexico. He is an Orvis Endorsed Outfitter Guide and currently runs a 2400 Ranger Bay boat which can accommodate 5.


Capt Jack Ryan’s Weekly Fishing Report

Reported: July 13th, 2014 by Capt. Jack Ryan

 

On the water with Capt. Jack Ryan

Good day aboard the 'Sea Dog' with Capt. Jack Ryan

Offshore fishing this past week had very good results with Yellowtail and Mangrove snapper on the charter boat Sea Dog' with Capt. Jack Ryan out of CB’s. With heavy chumming and free lining live shrimp our customers put Mangs up to 19 inches and Yellowtail snapper to 14 inches on the ice. Gags and Red grouper, along with Key West grunts were bending our rods.

Inshore fishing produced some nice Sea Trout 15 to 26 inches at Radio Tower flats along with Bay Mangrove snapper, Sea Bass, and some Bluefish. Our bait of choice was live shrimp, small Pinfish and white bait.

Capt. Jack Ryan

Come aboard the Sea Dog with Capt. Jack Ryan and experience some of Florida’s best Saltwater Fishing in the beautiful waters in and around Sarasota. We offer Inshore and Offshore Fishing Charters covering areas from Venice to the south, straight on up through Bradenton Beach.


Capt. Jeffri Durrance’s Weekly Fishing Report

Reported: July 13th, 2014 by Capt. Jeffri Durrance

 

That's Tim Palmer holding the grouper (right), and Jeff Bell holding the red snapper, on the water with Capt. Jeffri Durrance

Tim Palmer and Jeff Bell are all smiles on the water.

Early this week I fished with my brother Ronnie Durrance, his grandson 11 year old Seth Durrance (my great nephew) and family friend 13 year old Hunter Sellers. We went tarpon fishing and despite the storms moving through we were able to fish and jump several tarpon. First I missed a fish as he came right at the boat and would have gone under the boat before I could hand down the rod or climb down out of the tower. Next Hunter hooked into a nice fish and after a 21 minute battle had the fish along side for pictures and a DNA sample. Later we hooked two fish with both boys on the rod. An exciting wreck occurred when the fish crossed up the lines breaking both fish off after several jumps. Finally, a late bite saw Seth hook in to a large tarpon that with a little help and coaching from grandpa Ronnie was brought along side the boat for pictures and release (out of DNA scrubs). It was a great morning!

Bay action this week saw Aaryn Spell and her boys Logan and Carson catch a variety of species that included speckled trout, mangrove snapper, ladyfish, snook, sheephead, jacks and a bonnethead shark. They used live shrimp fishing the Stephens Point area. Mom caught the largest fish (the shark) while Carson caught the most fish and the snook.

Offshore saw slow but steady action with a lot of quality fish caught on two trips this week. The first trip saw Tim Palmer catch the largest fish, a nice 31” red grouper. Others in the group were Marty Benson, Jeff Bell and Jeremiah Acevedo catch mangrove snapper, porgies, gag and red grouper. They also caught and released amberjack and red snapper. Bait was live pinfish, squid and finger mullet. The second trip included Jim Long, Mark Grossenbacher, Jamie Manning and Marty Benson. The fishing produced the same variety as day one but also included a couple of dolphin as well as lane and vermillion snapper. The excitement for the day was when Marty had a nice gag grouper eaten by a large bull shark. All he got to the boat was a five pound head. Not what he wanted but exciting all the same.

Remember, the best time to go fishing is when you can and be sure to save some for seed!

Capt. Jeffri Durrance

Jef­fri is a fourth generation native Floridian who grew up in Bowling Green, Florida, located in Hardee County. While growing up on a cattle and citrus operation Jef­fri fished many creeks and lakes in the central Florida area as well as the Peace River.


Capt. Rick Grassett’s Weekly Fishing Report

Reported: July 13th, 2014 by Capt. Rick Grassett

 

On the water with Capt. Rick Grassett

On the water with CB's Charter Capt. Rick Grassett

Fly anglers fishing the coastal gulf in Sarasota with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, continued to have action with tarpon, getting numerous shots, jumping 5 and catching and releasing 1 during the past week.

Early in the week we saw fewer tarpon than anticipated, which were mostly singles, doubles and small schools of only a few fish. Even though they may be fewer, they are usually curious and aggressive. As we reached the full moon on Saturday large schools of tarpon became more plentiful in the mix.

Jerry Poslusny and Jay Peck, from Rochester, NY, fly fished for tarpon several days with me last week. Visibility was poor due to lots of cloud cover as numerous thunderstorms percolated up each day and we took cover from storms a couple of times. Despite tough conditions, they had shots at tarpon each day and jumped a couple, including a large female that somersaulted 10-12’ in the air as we watched in awe (with no camera in hand)!

Visibility was better on Friday, but we saw only a few tarpon early in the day. However, as the full moon, outgoing tide in the afternoon got stronger, tarpon began to flow. We had numerous shots, jumped 3 and caught and released 1, an estimated 100-pound fish. When conditions are right, tarpon can be very aggressive this time of year!

Tarpon fishing should remain strong next week as we head away from a full moon. Tarpon schools will break up after spawning and these fish should return to the beach as singles, doubles and smaller schools that are ready to eat! Inshore you should find trout, blues and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Look for reds and big trout on shallow flats or edges of bars early in the day. Catch and release snook fishing should also be good in passes and around docks and bridges close to passes.

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. Bruce Burkhard’s Weekly Fishing Report

Reported: July 13th, 2014 by Capt. Bruce Burkhart

 

Anglers fishing with me aboard the Casual Lies experienced some nice catches last week. In the bay live shrimp, DOA Shrimp, and C.A.L jigs kept the action steady with Bluefish. Flounder, Trout, Black Sea Bass, Ladyfish and small Sharks. On the higher tides live shrimp under docks produced some Redfish to 21 inches and Black Drum to 18 inches. One trip I took a couple of friends that are in their seventies tarpon fishing. a small pod came by, we casted in front of them and both anglers hooked up at the same time. Barbara lost hers after a few minutes but Clyde landed about an 80 pound tarpon for a couple of photos. Another check off his bucket list he said. I expect the fishing to stay good and steady.

Capt. Bruce Burkhart

Bruce is a Florida native and has lived in Sarasota for thirty years. Capt. Bruce grew up on the east coast of Florida and started fishing with his dad when he was about six years old. Fishing has been a lifetime passion of his and in 2001 he obtained his U.S.C.G. Captain’s license.


Capt. Roy String’s Weekly Fishing Report

Reported: July 13th, 2014 by Capt. Roy String

 

We also caught 8 bonnet head sharks

We managed to catch eight bonnethead sharks

The fishing this last week was really good with average catches of 50-60 fish in the bay consisting mostly of trout. There were also a lot of jacks, spanish mackerel, and ladyfish mixed in with the trout. I feel the Tarpon fishing is definitely winding down now with very few fish to be found on the area beaches. I did fish with Jamie and Amanda Jamison for Tarpon on Friday and we had a decent day.

We managed to catch one Tarpon, and had three other fish on line. We ended up fishing with dead bait on the bottom and chumming for the Tarpon. We also caught eight bonnethead sharks while we were waiting for those Tarpon bite.

Capt. Roy String

Roy’s been fishing these Sarasota waters for the past 32 years. Tarpon is his favorite but he’s also passionate about Snook, Red­fish and Spotted Sea Trout. He fishes with live and artificial bait, as well as fly, all from his 2015 24 ft custom T-Craft using Shimano and Orvis tackle.


Capt Jim Klopfer’s Weekly Fishing Report

Reported: July 12th, 2014 by Capt. Jim Klopfer

 

Gag Grouper are often caught on the deep grass flats as they were this past week.

Gag grouper are often caught on the deep grass flats

Fishing was steady this week on a variety of species, though we did not catch any really big trout. Speckled trout to 21", Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds, sea bass to 14", mangrove snapper to 12", gag grouper to 16", flounder, jacks, silver trout, ladyfish, and more were caught using live baitfish on charters this week. Bait was thick around both passes and a couple of casts with the net filled the well for the entire trip.

The deep grass flats near the passes produced the best action. Sharks of up to 30 pounds hit cut, with some nice ladyfish, mackerel, and pinfish near Big Pass.

I ran an afternoon charter on Monday. Bait was easy but the fishing was tough, mornings are more consistent this time of year. We did catch a few nice gag grouper and several sharks, but fishing was on the slow side.

Sarasota resident Doc Dojutrek went out early in the week. We started off casting topwater plugs along a mangrove shoreline, but had no interest. A move to catch bait then fish the deep edges near Bird Key resulted in speckled trout to 21", Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds, along with other species. Doc finished up with 2 nice sharks, going 30 lbs and 25 lbs, great fun on light tackle!

Aiden Gatton from Orlando with a nice slot speckled trout. Hey Dad, look what I caught.

Orlando's Aiden Gatton with a nice slot speckled trout.

Rob Gatton who lives in Orlando treated his dad Bob and son Aiden to a trip on Thursday. Bait was easy and action was very steady on mackerel and loads on ladyfish near the Twin Bridges. We moved to the Radio Tower in search of a few trout to keep and the boys landed several slot fish along with some mangrove snappers, sea bass to 14", flounder, and more. I ran a pontoon charter with capt Terry out of CB's on Friday. We caught a dozen or so fish in live shrimp, including a 14" mangrove snapper.

Courtney McEvin from Louisville, KY with a tasty mangrove snapper. She sure looks happy doesn't she.

Courtney McEvin with a tasty mangrove snapper.

Courtney and Allen McEvin from Louisville, KY took their two kids Kydwyn (5) and Hasten (8) out on their first "real" fishing trip on Saturday. Once again, bait was easy and it did not take long to get fish popping in the chum. We worked the deep grass flats near Bird Key and Marina Jacks and caught several trout in the slot to 18", a half dozen Spanish mackerel to 2 1/2 pounds, mangrove snapper to 12", ladyfish, and sea bass. Hasten had the hot hand, catching more by himself than his mom and dad! Nice going!

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 Kelly Stilwell’s Weekly Fishing Report

Reported: July 7th, 2014 by Capt. Kelly Stilwell

 

Anglers aboard the Tide Tuit had a good week. On Monday 12 yr. old R.J. Schupler and his father Robert both hooked and fought tarpon on flies. RJ fought a very determined fish for an hour and twenty minutes when the leader gave out. Robert had a fish on for about 15 minutes before losing his. Wednesday Jack Whitman caught several snook before the sun came up and then went on to fight a tarpon for a few minutes also . The snook were caught on jigs and shrimp while the tarpon was hooked on a live thread-fin herring.

Capt. Kelly Stilwell

Kelly has lived and fished in this area for over 30 years. His specialties are artificial bait, fly fishing, tarpon, and live bait fishing in Sarasota Bay and the nearshore Gulf of Mexico. He is an Orvis Endorsed Outfitter Guide and currently runs a 2400 Ranger Bay boat which can accommodate 5.


Capt Jack Ryan’s Weekly Fishing Report

Reported: July 7th, 2014 by Capt. Jack Ryan

 

Fishing on the Sea Dog Charter boat this past week with Capt. Jack Ryan produced a week of large Trout 18" to 26" using white bait on local large and deeper grass flats. Also a fair amount of Mangrove snapper, Bluefish, and Jacks were bending our rods.

This time of year with much warmer water it is best to put a few factors together: early morning, good water moving through the bay, and fishing most times in a little deeper water 4 to 9 feet will bring good results.

Near shore on some trips we put larger Mangroves in the ice box. Larger Jacks came in the chum slick giving customers some good reel burning moments.

Capt. Jack Ryan

Come aboard the Sea Dog with Capt. Jack Ryan and experience some of Florida’s best Saltwater Fishing in the beautiful waters in and around Sarasota. We offer Inshore and Offshore Fishing Charters covering areas from Venice to the south, straight on up through Bradenton Beach.


Capt Jim Klopfer’s Weekly Fishing Report

Reported: July 7th, 2014 by Capt. Jim Klopfer

 

Mangrove snapper bit well this week, providing action and excellent table fare.

Mangrove snapper bit well this week, providing action.

Clients experienced another very good week of fishing on charters this week! Snook, sharks to 30 pounds, speckled trout to 22", bluefish, Spanish mackerel, sea bass, mangrove snapper, flounder, jack crevelle, ladyfish and more were landed this week. Most of the fish fell prey to live bait, both shrimp and bait fish, but jigs and Rapalas also fooled a few fish. The water temperature is climbing and we could use a bit of rain to cool things down. However, we have strong, incoming tides in the morning next week and fishing should remain very good.

I started off my week on Monday with Tim Mallik from the Cincinnatti area. The mangrove snapper bite was on as the tide ebbed out. Live shrimp free lined along the edges of deep grass beds produced a dozen nice keeper "mangs". As the tide turned to come in i netted bait and we caught speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, and more, then finished up with 3 sharks on cut ladyfish.

On Tuesday Rocky and Ron Richardson, along with Joshua Parnell went out on a charter. We started off in Big Pass, catching a bunch of ladyfish on jigs and shrimp on the bottom of the outgoing tide. As the tide switched, I netted bait and they landed speckled trout, mangrove snapper, gag grouper, and ladyfish. Josh ended the trip with 3 sharks hooked and 2 landed, one of which was estimated at 30 pounds.

Frank Regnery and his grown sons Bill and Rob, all from CT, had a great charter on Wednesday! We started off from Centennial Park at first light and ran across to the Radio Tower flat where there was a lot of surface activity, mostly bait but some fish popping. For an hour or so action was steady on bluefish, trout, ladyfish, jacks, and a nice flounder using jigs and Rapalas. The bite slowed so we switched to live bait and caught speckled trout to 18", mangrove snapper, jacks, and ladyfish near Bird Key. We finished up in Big Pass with a nice little snook bite, landing a dozen or so and finishing up the trip with a snook "triple-header" on the last cast. Nice!!

Sharks provide great sport on light tackle and please anglers like Elizabeth Bissell from Nutley, NJ

Eliz­a­beth Bis­sell with Capt. Jim Klopfer handling shark

The wind cranked up a bit on Thursday and Friday, blowing 15 knots or so out of the southwest, which made catching bait more difficult. On Thursday Norm Shade and a couple of buddies experienced good action using jigs and live bait, with the Radio Tower flat being the most productive spot. Speckled trout to 18", Spanish mackerel to 2 pounds, bluefish, jack crevelle, sea bass, snapper, ladyfish, and more kept the boys fairly busy. On Friday Ralph Primavera and his 17 year old son Chris had a good trip. It was still breezy, but bait was easier and the speckled trout in particular were on the feed. Chris caught a nice 22" trout and several more slot fish came to the boat, along with snapper to 14", bluefish, sea bass, and jacks. Chris finished up the trip with a 3' long shark.

The wind laid down on Saturday morning for Johnathan Olmo and his girlfriend Elizabeth Bissell from Nutley, NJ. Bait was easy in Big Pass with a calm surface and the top of the incoming tide. Action was steady, mostly on speckled trout with a few gag grouper and mangrove snapper mixed in. Nothing huge, but a half dozen fat trout in the slot, up to 18". Liz finished off the trip with a bonnet head shark on a cut up grunt.

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. Jeffri Durrance’s Weekly Fishing Report

Reported: July 6th, 2014 by Capt. Jeffri Durrance

 

Back in the bay Brian Frank and sons Evan and Tyler caught a variety of fish this week. Dad was the top angler catching a 19” speckled trout and a bonnet head shark. The trio caught several other species that included ladyfish and sheephead. They were using live shrimp and fished the Stephens Point area.

Bryan & MaryAnn Vincent along with daughter Emma and son John as well as friend Ally Muller took a bay trip this week and caught a variety of fish. Emma took top honors catching a nice bonnethead shark for the biggest fish while the others all boated a species that went home for supper. The group used live shrimp to catch speckled trout to 17”, mangrove snapper, black drum, bluefish, ladyfish and jacks.

Josh Compton with this nice 21" trout he caught on Wednesday out fishing with his mom out on the water with Capt. Jeffri Durrance.

Josh Compton with the 21" trout he caught this week

The Friendliest Catch saw Josh Compton and his mom Carlene Beckham fish the middle grounds area this week. Josh had the hot hand catching several species of fish that included speckled trout, jacks, bluefish, ladyfish, and mangrove snapper. The top catch was a beautiful 21” speckled trout. The fish were caught on live shrimp, jigs and top water lures.

Jesse Heidenthal and Alex Whalen fished the middle grounds and Longboat Key this week and caught trout, jacks, ladyfish and mangrove snapper. While Alex caught the most fish Jesse had the biggest with a nice 21” trout. They used jigs and live shrimp.

Remember, the best time to go fishing is when you can and be sure to save some for seed!

Capt. Jeffri Durrance

Jef­fri is a fourth generation native Floridian who grew up in Bowling Green, Florida, located in Hardee County. While growing up on a cattle and citrus operation Jef­fri fished many creeks and lakes in the central Florida area as well as the Peace River.


Capt. Bruce Burkhard’s Weekly Fishing Report

Reported: July 6th, 2014 by Capt. Bruce Burkhart

 

Last week the fishing stayed good although the water temp is rising up abit. Trout and Bluefish topped the species list for anglers fishing with me on the Casual Lies. Darker C.A.L jigs like Rainbow Trout and Root beer seemed to be the best bait in the deeper water. Pompano showed up a couple of trips for some good action and good dinners for a few people. Spotted Sea Trout, Silver Trout, Flounder, Black Sea Bass and ladyfish also kept the action steady.

Capt. Bruce Burkhart

Bruce is a Florida native and has lived in Sarasota for thirty years. Capt. Bruce grew up on the east coast of Florida and started fishing with his dad when he was about six years old. Fishing has been a lifetime passion of his and in 2001 he obtained his U.S.C.G. Captain’s license.


Capt. Roy String’s Weekly Fishing Report

Reported: July 6th, 2014 by Capt. Roy String

 

 Tim kolchowsky from Chicago and his uncle Irv from Seminole had 9 tarpon on, and landed 4.

Tim Kolchowsky of Chicago fishing with his Uncle Irv.

The tarpon fishing continues to be very good at this point. I fished Tim kolchowsky from Chicago and his uncle Irv from Seminole and we had 9 tarpon on and landed 4 all of the fish were caught on crabs and pin fish. The bay fishing is really starting to get really got now that the bait has arrived in the bay. I fished the bay in Thursday and we landed 60+ fish on a 4 hr trip. We caught mostly trout, mackerel, snapper and a couple of jacks.

Capt. Roy String

Roy’s been fishing these Sarasota waters for the past 32 years. Tarpon is his favorite but he’s also passionate about Snook, Red­fish and Spotted Sea Trout. He fishes with live and artificial bait, as well as fly, all from his 2015 24 ft custom T-Craft using Shimano and Orvis tackle.


Capt. Rick Grassett’s Weekly Fishing Report

Reported: July 5th, 2014 by Capt. Rick Grassett

 

A fly angler 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 with tarpon in the coastal gulf in Sarasota during the past week.

Frank Zaffino, from Rochester, NY, had good action catching and releasing tarpon estimated at 70 and 90-pounds.

Frank Zaffino catching and releasing tarpon in the gulf.

Frank Zaffino, from Rochester, NY, fly fished for tarpon several days with me last week. The goal was tarpon on a fly and he did well, especially since it was his first time targeting tarpon. Tuesday was a great day with lots of shots and Frank caught and released his first tarpon, an estimated 90-pounder!

Shots were fewer on Wednesday and our day ended when a thunderstorm pushed through roughing up the water. Tarpon fishing is usually a waiting game, much like hunting whitetail deer or turkeys, so we often see other things along the way. Over several days we saw bull and hammerhead sharks, manatees and had a shot at a couple of cobia while we waited for tarpon.

Conditions deteriorated on Thursday as a stiff west wind made it rough. Frank hung in there and made his shots count, hooking up with another tarpon, an estimated 70-pounder, and successfully catching and releasing the fish on the last cast of the day! Going 2 for 2 on tarpon with a fly, especially on your first attempt-priceless!

Tarpon fishing should remain strong next week as we head towards a full moon. Large schools of tarpon should become more plentiful as they prepare to head offshore to spawn. Catch and release snook fishing should also be good in passes and around docks and bridges close to passes. You should find reds and big trout on shallow flats or edges of bars in Sarasota Bay or fish deep grass flats for trout, blues and more.

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.