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TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 8/5/2017

by on Aug.06, 2017, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Fly anglers fishing with me recently, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, continued to have some action with tarpon.  Despite poor conditions with the passing of Tropical Storm Emily, we got out for a couple of trips. When fish were high in the water column and visibility was good, we had the best action. We had about a dozen shots and jumped one tarpon on one of the trips.

Tarpon fishing in the gulf should still be an option depending on conditions. You should find juvenile tarpon in creeks, canals and turning basins. This is also a good time frame to sight fish for snook in the surf. However, snook season remains closed on the west coast of Florida until Sep 1st, so please handle them gently and release them quickly. Fishing lighted docks and bridges in the ICW for snook and tarpon with flies and DOA Lures should also be a good option.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
FFI Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
www.snookfin-addict.com, www.snookfinaddict.com andwww.flyfishingflorida.us
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
(941) 923-7799

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CB’s Saltwater Outfitters “Orvis Fly Fishing 101” Clinic- Oct 14, 2017

by on Aug.06, 2017, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

CB’s Saltwater Outfitters, 1249 Stickney Pt. Rd., on Siesta Key (Sarasota) will hold an “Orvis Fly Fishing 101” introductory fly fishing clinic on Saturday, Oct 14 from 9am – 11am with Orvis-Endorsed fly fishing guides Capt. Rick Grassett, Capt. Ed Hurst, Capt. Kelly Stilwell and Capt. Andy Cotton. Cost for the clinic is $25 and will include fly casting basics, fly tackle rigging and fly casting with premium Orvis fly tackle. There will also be special in store offers on Orvis products. Call (941) 349-4400 to reserve your spot.
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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota , FL Fishing Report for 3/19/2017

by on Mar.19, 2017, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released trout in Sarasota Bay on flies, CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA shrimp during the past week. Trout, blues, Spanish mackerel, pompano and more should be a good option on deep grass flats and passes of Sarasota Bay. You should also find larger trout in shallow water along with snook and reds when conditions are good.

Look for action in the coastal gulf to take off with king and Spanish mackerel, cobia and tripletail. Fishing lighted docks and bridges in the ICW for snook with flies and DOA Lures continues to be a good option.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
www.snookfin-addict.com, www.snookfinaddict.com and www.flyfishingflorida.us
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
(941) 923-7799

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota & Gasparilla Sound, FL Fishing Report for 2/26/2017

by on Feb.26, 2017, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released trout in Sarasota Bay and trout and snook in Gasparilla Sound on CAL jigs with shad tails and jerk worms during the past week. The best action was in shallow water, where long casts with spinning tackle paid off.

Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, IL and Jim Pociask, from Sarasota, FL, fished the backcountry of Gasparilla sound near Boca Grande with me on Monday. They caught and released trout to 21” and snook to 26” on CAL jigs with shad tails and jerk worms.

Siesta Key and Longboat Key winter residents, Joe Brinkmeyer and Jim Brady, and Ray Brinkmeyer, from Indianapolis, IN, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday. We worked deep grass flats on the west side of the bay and they had steady action with trout to 18” on CAL jigs with shad tails.

Capt. Ed Hurst and I were the instructors for a CB’s Saltwater Outfitters Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing School on Saturday. Students received instruction in fly casting basics, line control, shooting line and the roll cast. We also covered leader construction, fly selection and saltwater fly fishing techniques. Contact CB’s Saltwater Outfitters at (941) 349-4400 or info@cbsoutfitters.com to make reservations for the next school on Mar 25th.

You should find snook, larger trout and reds in shallow water when conditions are good. Wading with a fly rod or making long casts with spinning tackle are good tactics for fishing shallow water. Catch and release night snook fishing around lighted docks and bridges in the ICW with flies and DOA Lures continues to be a good option. Trout should also be a good option on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
www.snookfin-addict.com, www.snookfinaddict.com and www.flyfishingflorida.us
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
(941) 923-7799

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2017 bay scallop season in Dixie/Taylor counties set

by on Feb.11, 2017, under Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast, Horseshoe Beach, Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Ozello to Crystal River, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay, Shell Point to Lanark, Ochlockonee Bay, St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina, Steinhatchee, Suwannee, Yankeetown and Waccasassa

The 2017 bay scallop season for Dixie County and parts of Taylor County will be open from June 16 through Sept. 10. This includes all state waters from the Suwannee River through the Fenholloway River. These changes are for 2017 only and are an opportunity to explore regionally-specific bay scallop seasons.

These changes were discussed at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) meeting on Feb. 8, where staff was directed to work with local community leaders on selecting potential 2017 season dates and to adopt changes by executive order.

At the Feb. 8 meeting, staff also updated the Commission on the status of bay scallops in St. Joseph Bay in Gulf County, and set a July 25 through Sept. 10 recreational bay scallop season off Gulf County, including all waters in St. Joseph Bay and those west of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County, through the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County.

A prolonged red tide event in late 2015 negatively impacted the scallop population in St. Joseph Bay, which led to modified local scallop regulations for 2016 that included a shortened season and reduced bag limits. FWC researchers conducted a scallop restoration project last year within St. Joseph Bay to help speed the recovery of the scallop population. These efforts have been going well and the scallop population has shown signs of improvement. Staff will conduct similar restoration efforts in 2017.

All other portions of the bay scallop harvest zone will be open from July 1 through Sept. 24. This includes all state waters from the Pasco-Hernando county line to the Suwannee River Alligator Pass Daybeacon 4 in Levy County and from north and west of Rock Island near the mouth of the Fenholloway River in Taylor County through the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County.

Bag and vessel limits throughout the entire bay scallop harvest zone will be 2 gallons whole bay scallops in shell or 1 pint of bay scallop meat per person, with a maximum of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell or 1/2 gallon bay scallop meat per vessel.

At the December 2017 Commission meeting, staff will review public feedback on these changes and make a recommendation for future management. To submit your feedback on bay scallop regulations, visit MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments.

For more information on these changes, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and select “Commission Meetings,” then click on the link below “Next Meeting.”

For information on bay scallop regulations, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops.”

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 11/27/2016

by on Nov.27, 2016, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Action was steady on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay during the past week. Anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released trout and blues on flies, CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos. Holiday weeks are usually all about family fun and this one was no different.

Alan Ross, from Sarasota, FL and his son Adam Ross, from CA, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Monday. It was their first time fly fishing in saltwater and they did well. They had good action catching and releasing trout on Ultra Hair Clouser flies fished on sink tip fly lines.

Susan Gros, from The Villages, FL, also had some action with trout and blues on flies on Tuesday and Marshall Dinerman, from Atlanta, GA, got in on the action on Wednesday catching and releasing numerous trout and blues on Ultra Hair Clouser flies and CAL jigs with shad tails.

On Friday and Saturday, grandfathers and grandsons got in on the fun. Phil Rever and grandsons Max and Wesley, all from MD, fished with me on Friday and Bill Misischia, from University Park, FL and grandson Patrick Walsh, from IN, fished with me on Saturday. They all had good action with trout and blues in Sarasota Bay on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos.

Trout, blues and more on deep grass flats and snook, reds and larger trout in skinny water should be good options. Night snook fishing around lighted docks and bridges in the ICW with flies and DOA Lures should also be a good option. There may be some action in the coastal gulf with false albacore (little tunny) as the water cools down and baitfish school up along the beaches. Tripletail should also be a good option since stone crab traps are now in the coastal gulf, increasing the amount of available structure for them.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
www.snookfin-addict.com, www.snookfinaddict.com and www.flyfishingflorida.us
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
(941) 923-7799

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 10/15/2016

by on Oct.16, 2016, under Bradenton and Sarasota, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Anglers fishing Sarasota Bay with me during the past week, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released trout, jacks and small gag grouper on DOA Lures and flies. Fly anglers also caught and released snook in the ICW near Venice on a night trip. Water conditions in Sarasota Bay were good during the past week; clear water with baitfish present and no signs of red tide in the areas that I fished.

Stewart Lavelle, from Sarasota, FL and David Lavelle, from Venice, FL, fished Sarasota Bay with me last Sunday. We fished the east side of the bay, which had good, clean water. They caught and released a few trout and jacks on Ultra Hair Clouser flies and DOA Deadly Combos. Sarasota winter resident Tom Lamb and Roy and Diane Glah, also from Sarasota, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday afternoon. They caught and released trout, including a couple of slot-size fish, and small gag grouper on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Shrimp.

David Weber, from Memphis, TN and Dudley Sandifer, from MS, fished the ICW near Venice with me on Wednesday evening. We had a good tide but snook were being very picky and tough to get to eat our flies. However they persisted and caught and released a few snook on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly.

CB’s Saltwater Outfitters had a good turnout for their Orvis Fly Fishing 101 introductory fly fishing clinic on Saturday. I was one of the instructors for the clinic, which gave students an opportunity to fly cast and understand the principles of fly fishing. Contact CB’s Saltwater Outfitters at (941) 349-4400 or info@cbsoutfitters.com for info on upcoming Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Schools.

I look for action in the coastal gulf with false albacore (little tunny) and Spanish mackerel to take off as the water cools down and baitfish become more plentiful. Tripletail will also become a good option since stone crab traps are now in the coastal gulf, increasing the amount of available structure for them. Night snook fishing around lighted docks and bridges in the ICW with flies and DOA Lures should be a good option. You might also find a few juvenile tarpon and reds in the lights along with snook. In addition, there should be good action with trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
www.snookfin-addict.com, www.snookfinaddict.com and www.flyfishingflorida.us
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
(941) 923-7799

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Jensen Beach & Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 10/8/2016

by on Oct.08, 2016, under CAPT. TOMMY'S BOOK SIGNINGS, TALKS, TRAVELS, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

I traveled to Jensen Beach on Florida’s east coast on Sunday afternoon, 10/2 to fish the DOA Fishing Lures “Outdoor Writer’s Festival” out of River Palm Cottages and Fish Camp. The annual event features a couple of days of fishing with outdoor writers from around the country and other fishing industry sponsors. It’s always good to see old friends and see what’s new in the fishing world. New from DOA Fishing Lures this year are the “PT”, a weedless top water, surface walking bait and a new and improved 2 ¾” DOA Shrimp. Good friends, good music, good food and good fishing!

We worked docks in the Indian River where we caught and released snook and jacks on CAL jigs with shad tails and jerk worms. Surprisingly several bonefish, which usually aren’t found that far north, were caught and released on CAL jigs with jerk worms by other anglers. In addition to bonefish, anglers caught and released snook, trout, reds, jacks and tarpon on a variety of DOA Lures. A few anglers headed over to Lake Okeechobee where they had good top water action with DOA PT’s on largemouth bass. Their “mullet run” was in full swing, which had jacks and tarpon blowing up in mullet schools. They were fast moving and tough to get on but several anglers hooked up with huge jacks on DOA Airheads and PT’s. I’ll be at the DOA booth today (Saturday, 10/8) at the Florida Sportsman Fishing Expo at the fairgrounds in Tampa so stop by to say hello and check out the new stuff.

Back in Sarasota, anglers fishing Sarasota Bay with me during the past week, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released trout and jacks on DOA Lures. Although there is still some red tide in areas of Sarasota Bay, particularly close to passes, there are areas that are fine.

John Freeman and Dave Willer, both from MN, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday. We fished the east side of the bay, which had good, clean water. They had steady action catching and releasing trout and jacks on DOA Deadly Combos and CAL jigs with shad tails and jerk worms. Friday’s trip was postponed due to high winds associated with Hurricane Matthew.

I look for action in the coastal gulf with false albacore (little tunny) and Spanish mackerel to take off as the water cools down and baitfish become more plentiful. Tripletail will also become a good option since stone crab traps are being placed in the coastal gulf, increasing the amount of available structure for them. Night snook fishing around lighted docks and bridges in the ICW with flies and DOA Lures should be a good option. You might also find a few juvenile tarpon and reds in the lights along with snook. In addition, there should be good action with trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
www.snookfin-addict.com, www.snookfinaddict.com and www.flyfishingflorida.us
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
(941) 923-7799

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota Bay, FL Fishing Report for 10/1/2016

by on Oct.01, 2016, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Anglers fishing Sarasota Bay with me during the past week, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released juvenile tarpon, trout and jacks on flies. Although there is red tide in some areas of Sarasota Bay, particularly close to passes, there are areas that are fine. Red tide may actually concentrate fish in some areas as fish move away from affected areas.

Marshall Dinerman, from the Atlanta area, fished deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay with me on Monday. He had good action catching and releasing trout and jacks on Ultra Hair Clouser flies. We also fished a backwater area where he caught and released a juvenile tarpon on my Grassett Flats Bunny fly with a 6-wt. His first tarpon on a fly!

I had an instructional fly fishing trip in Sarasota Bay on Tuesday. We worked on basics and were shooting line and catching and releasing a few fish before the end of the trip. This is a good option for beginning fly anglers, since it is different when fishing from the deck of a boat with different fly lines and weighted flies as opposed to casting on grass or from the shore of a lake.

I look for action in the coastal gulf with false albacore (little tunny) and Spanish mackerel to take off as the water cools down and baitfish become more plentiful. Tripletail will also become a good option as stone crab traps hit the water next week, increasing the amount of available structure for them. Night snook fishing around lighted docks and bridges in the ICW with flies and DOA Lures should be a good option. You might also find a few juvenile tarpon and reds in the lights along with snook. In addition, there should be good action with trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
www.snookfin-addict.com, www.snookfinaddict.com and www.flyfishingflorida.us
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
(941) 923-7799

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Fishing Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass by Hobie “Pedal” Craft!

by on Jun.18, 2016, under CAPT. TOMMY'S BOOK SIGNINGS, TALKS, TRAVELS, Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva, Middle Charlotte Harbor, Siesta Key to Boca Grande

 

 

 

pineisland

Charlotte Harbor “turns into” Pine Island Sound at an imaginary line drawn east from the mouth of Boca Grande Pass.  And for the most part, all the water in the upper half of the sound, as well as much of Charlotte Harbor, is moved by the action of that pass.  The lower half of the sound is affected by the pull of water from the Caloosahatchee River at Fort Myers and generally feeds into San Carlos Bay, to the south.  Matlacha Pass lies to the east of Pine Island and it’s water typically flows more strongly to the south on falling tides. What all this has to do with fishing is that the ebb and flow of the tides here and the constant filling and flushing of the harbor, the sound and Matlacha Pass all move bait, and with it–lots of inshore species of game fish.

This is big water, and that generally calls for big boats.  However, there’s plenty of good fishing within range of paddle or pedal craft.  On a recent trip, sponsored by the Hobie Cat Company, the leading manufacturer of pedal craft, I had the opportunity to fish the shoreline of Pine Island in a variety of weather conditions.  With summer thunderstorms building and winds howling, I experienced the ease with which I was able to move about, using my legs to power the boat, and all the while being able to continue fishing. Hobie not only pioneered pedal-style “kayaks”, but that segment of their business is now significant–with fishing “boats” the largest part of that segment.  I’ve paddled conventional kayaks and tried to fish from them, but there’s no comparison.  The ability to navigate your craft while still fishing has tremendous advantages.   Hobie’s MirageDrive, Turbo Fins and Vantage Seat have made their Pro Angler the go-to boat for serious kayak anglers!

Fishing a fully rigged Hobie Pro Angler in Matlacha Pass

Fishing a fully rigged Hobie Pro Angler in Matlacha Pass

While there are several primitive roadside launch spots on Pine Island, Hobie did their research and put us in the water (in about 15 kayaks!) at some places where we’d have easy reach to the fishing grounds.  That’s not to say that we didn’t pedal as much as 5 miles, but the beauty of the rugged Pine Island shoreline is such that you don’t have to go far to catch fish.  And, when you get “home” you want to be able to easily load the boats onto trucks or trailers and have a cold beverage.  Luckily, locals like Frank Stapleton (Hobie’s Sales Rep) and John Donahue (local writer and man-about-town) know the area well and provided welcome guidance for fishing, launching and cold beverages.

The flats west of Pineland Marina and the Tarpon Lodge offer excellent kayak fishing.

The flats west of Pineland Marina and the Tarpon Lodge offer excellent kayak fishing.

Buzzard Bay, north of the bridge at Matlacha, offers great kayak fishing in protected waters.

Buzzard Bay, north of the bridge at Matlacha, offers great kayak fishing in protected waters.

Hobie, along with PR Pro Ingrid Niehaus, put on a first class event.   We stayed at The Tarpon Lodge at Pineland, and even had a fun dinner at Cabbage Key, also owned by the Wells family.  The event was also sponsored by the local tourism office, The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel.  And, in terms of easy access to water, we found great kayak launches at Pineland Marina and at the county park/boat ramp at Matlacha, on the east side of the island.

Dollar bills….a Cabbage Key tradition–along with the original “Cheesburger in Paradise”

hobie_ch-34

Tarpon Lodge

Tarpon Lodge

Cabbage Key

Cabbage Key

Dollar bills....a Cabbage Key tradition--along with the  original "Cheesburger in Paradise"

Dollar bills….a Cabbage Key tradition–along with the original “Cheeseburger in Paradise”

There are lots of options when it comes to fishing the waters here.  But there are no limitations to tackle.  Some of our group used light spinning gear, while others used baitcasters or fly rods.  The Hobie boats are stable, making it easy to get out and wade, or to stand while fishing.  The waters are generally shallow, making it a perfect place to throw topwater plugs (MirrOlure Top Dogs) or soft plastics (D.O.A. 3-inch shrimp or CALs).

 

 

hobie_ch-6

Fishing the flats in Pine Island Sound, just a short paddle from the Tarpon Lodge and Pineland Marina

 

 

hobie_ch-8

There’s no problem standing up–or fly fishing–from a Hobie Pro Angler kayak!

 

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It’s just a short paddle north from the Matlacha boat ramp to the backwaters of Buzzard Bay.

 

 

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