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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: Fishing

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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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).

 

 

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

 

 

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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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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 6/11/2016

by on Jun.12, 2016, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Anglers fishing with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had some action with tarpon in the coastal gulf in Sarasota, getting numerous shots at tarpon, jumping one and fighting the fish to the boat one day during the past week. The early part of the week was blown out as tropical storm Colin passed on Monday, churning the gulf into rough seas and muddy water for a few days. However, conditions improved by Friday and tarpon returned to their normal patterns.

Denis Clohisy, from WI, and Jim Dempsey, from IL, fished with me on Thursday and Friday. With the coastal gulf still churned up on Thursday, we opted to fish inside waters in Tampa Bay on Thursday. However by Friday, even though the wind was still from the west, seas were down and water had cleared enough to allow tarpon to return to their normal patterns. We had shots at numerous tarpon in the form of scattered singles and schools of fish.

Denis hooked up with a “hot” tarpon on a live pinfish. He fought the fish through several long runs, almost getting spooled on the initial run and numerous jumps and had the fish alongside the boat. Unfortunately, just as I was preparing to land the fish it was attacked by a large hammerhead shark. We tried to fend off the shark but the shark succeeded in getting it’s meal. Although sharks are more prone to attacking hooked tarpon in some areas, I haven’t had this happen for several years.

Tarpon fishing in the coastal gulf should be good next week, depending on conditions, as we head towards the next full moon. Trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and more should also be good options on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Snook season is closed now on the west coast of Florida, but catch and release night snook fishing around lighted docks and bridges in the ICW or in the surf with flies and DOA Lures should be another good option. Look for reds, snook and big trout mixed with mullet schools or cruising shallow flats and edges of bars in backcountry areas of Charlotte Harbor and lower Tampa 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, FL Fishing Report for 12/5/2015

by on Dec.05, 2015, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

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 snook and trout on CAL jigs with shad tails, DOA Deadly Combos and top water plugs in Sarasota Bay and Little Sarasota Bay during the past week.

Sarasota winter resident, Mike Perez, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday. We spent most of our time in skinny water where he caught and released a nice snook on a top water plug.

Don Tase, from NH, fished Little Sarasota Bay with me on Friday. He caught and released a few trout to 18”, ladyfish and jack crevalle on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos.

Catch and release snook fishing around lighted docks and bridges with flies and DOA Lures should be a good option now. Look for reds, snook and big trout mixed with mullet schools on shallow flats and edges of bars in backcountry areas of Charlotte Harbor and lower Tampa Bay. False albacore, tripletail, Spanish mackerel and more should still be a good option in the coastal gulf when conditions are good.

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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The Revival of Mary’s Fish Camp–A Hernando County Landmark

by on Sep.16, 2015, under Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast

Mary's Fish Camp--A Hernando County Landmark! 8092 Marys Fish Camp Rd, Weeki Wachee, FL 34607

Mary’s Fish Camp–A Hernando County Landmark!
8092 Marys Fish Camp Rd, Weeki Wachee, FL 34607 www,marysfishcamp.org

 

I’d bet that the number of “legitimate” fish camps in the state of Florida can be counted on the fingers of both my hands.  With Florida’s rapid growth and the desire of the tourist and native population for hotels with hot tubs, free breakfast buffets and beach access, the few fish camps with cabins, RV parking, shoreline fishing, and the simpler things in life have been pushed aside in the name of “progress”.

Mary's is simple, with 3 cabins, a bait shop, and 16 RV spaces, on the Mudd River.

Mary’s is simple, with 3 cabins, a bait shop, and 16 RV spaces, on the Mud River near Weeki Wachee, Florida

When I wrote ” The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida”, I started with a chapter on Hernando County.  At that time (2011), Mary’s was one of the few places to stay in the Weeki Wachee/Bayport area that reminded me of the “real Florida”.  After the book was published, and after Mary’s death, the place fell into disrepair and was soon closed.

Fishing from the seawall at Mary's is a local tradition--and a bargain at $6 a person!

Fishing from the seawall at Mary’s is a local tradition–and a bargain at $6 a person!

I’m happy to say that Mary’s has been revived and is scheduled to re-open in early October, 2015.  With lots of hard work, fond memories, and some cash, several local entrepreneurs are returning Mary’s to its original “glory”.  A simple place.  A place to relax.  A place to fish.

The cabins at Mary's have been rebuilt, with new kitchens and air-conditioning!

The cabins at Mary’s have been updated, with new kitchens and air-conditioning!

Mary’s is located at the end of Mary’s Fish Camp Road (where else?), just off Cortez Blvd, west of US19 in Bayport.  The Mud River flows downriver from Mary’s to the Gulf.  Along the way, it’s met by the flow of the “famous for mermaids” Weeki Wachee River.

marys 6

And, if you’re wondering why Mary’s Fish Camp is there, it’s simple.  There’s great fishing and scalloping just outside the Mud River on the Bayport flats, as well as near the multitude of shallow rocky outcrops that dot the Gulf coastline here.

 

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Free Fishing Weekends In Florida, June 2015

by on Jun.05, 2015, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Governor Rick Scott announced four license-free fishing days in June for Florida residents and visitors. The license-free fishing weekends are: Saturday and Sunday, June 6-7, saltwater recreational fishing license requirement will be waived. Saturday and Sunday, June 13-14, freshwater recreational fishing license requirement will be waived. Governor Scott said, “This summer, we’re excited to make it easier for families to enjoy the world class fishing our state has to offer. Florida is the fishing capital of the world and one of the many reasons we welcomed a record 98.9 million visitors to the Sunshine State last year. I look forward to fishing with my grandsons this summer, and I hope everyone takes advantage of license-free fishing this month.” “We hope new anglers, including residents and visitors, are inspired to join in the excitement with those who already enjoy fishing,” said FWC Executive Director Nick Wiley. “This is an excellent way for the entire family to get out and enjoy all of the great fishing opportunities we have to offer in Florida: the Fishing Capital of the World!” The four days in June are a part of the eight total license-free fishing days the FWC offers each year. All bag limits, seasons and size restrictions apply on these dates. To learn more about license-free fishing days, visit MyFWC.com/License.

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Florida Offers Saltwater Fishing Camps, Summer 2015

by on Jun.04, 2015, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Hey kids and parents! Are you looking for something fun to fill the long summer days? Why not try a Kids’ Saltwater Fishing Camp? Several of these educational, weeklong events are scheduled across the state this summer. Spaces are limited, so sign up today before they fill.

Hosted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and partners, these clinics enable young people to learn the basics of environmental stewardship, fishing ethics, angling skills and safety.

Find a camp near you:

To find out more about FWC’s other fishing clinics for kids, go to MyFWC.com/Fishing and select the “Youth & Student” option under “Education.”

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 4/26/2015

by on Apr.26, 2015, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Anglers fishing with Rick Grassett on his Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released trout and Spanish mackerel in Sarasota Bay during the past couple of weeks.

Not much to report this time since I was away for a week and off the water a few more days while having some work done to my boat. I took my 1720 Action Craft to the factory in Cape Coral for some upgrades, repairs and detailing.  After that a new 90-HP Evinrude E-TEC was rigged on the boat while the Ameratrail trailer was being rebuilt. Ready to go tarpon fish!

Fly anglers fished deep grass flats on both sides of Sarasota Bay with me a couple of days and caught and released trout and Spanish mackerel on Ultra Hair Clouser flies fished on sink tip fly lines. Mark Nichols, owner of DOA Fishing Lures, his wife Jenny and I fished the 20th annual Sarasota CCA “All Release Challenge” fishing tournament with Capt. Andy Cotton on Saturday, 4/25. Fly and spin fishing anglers fished with identical boxes of flies or lures donated by fishing tackle manufacturers, tackle shops and local fly tiers for reds, trout and snook in a catch, photo and release format. We fished the Terra Ceia area and caught and released trout, snook and flounder (not an eligible species) on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Shrimp. Eligible fish were immediately released with minimal handling after photographing. Thanks to Mark Nichols, owner of DOA Fishing Lures, and numerous other manufacturers and fly tiers for donating lures and flies to the event and to Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers as a sponsor of the fly fishing division.

I think it’s a shame that I’m seeing numerous inshore “kill” fishing tournaments lately. I see no reason to kill a fish, especially large breeders, just to see who caught the biggest when a catch, photo and release format can be used to verify catches. Our fishery (and tourism) is as good as it is because of many battles that were fought in the 80’s and 90’s by CCA members (FCA at the time) to protect reds, snook, trout and more and to eliminate gill nets from our waters. In my opinion, fishing tournaments for inshore species that kill fish are a thing of the past, hopefully we don’t go back in that direction.

Look for tarpon in the coastal gulf and reds, snook, flounder and big trout mixed with mullet schools on shallow flats and edges of bars in Sarasota Bay. You may find trout, Spanish mackerel, blues, flounder or pompano on deep grass flats, particularly close to passes.

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 & Tampa Bay, FL Fishing Report for 4/5/2015

by on Apr.05, 2015, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Fly and spin 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, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and cobia in Sarasota Bay on flies, CAL jigs with shad tails, DOA Deadly Combos and top water plugs and trout and redfish on flies in Tampa Bay during the past week.

Bill Moore and grandson Kevin Reilly, from Libertyville, IL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Monday. Mike and Mickey Reilly, also from Libertyville, IL, fished with Capt. Andy Cotton on the family trip. We fished deep grass flats on the east side of the bay and caught and released trout to 21”, Spanish mackerel and a bluefish on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos.

Longboat Key and Sarasota winter residents, Nick Reding and Mike Perez, fished the south shore of Tampa Bay with me on Tuesday. We waded and fly fished, catching and releasing several trout to 4-pounds, redfish and flounder on my Grassett Flats Minnow and Clouser flies.

Anna Maria Island and Sarasota winter residents, Bill Morrison and Gary Marple fished Sarasota Bay with me on Wednesday. We fished deep grass flats on the east side of the bay and near Long Bar. The trip started slow but turned on towards the end. They had great action with trout to 18” and Spanish mackerel on Ultra Hair Clouser flies fished on sink tip fly lines. On the last couple of drifts of the day, Gary caught and released a cobia and Bill caught and released a 10-lb jack that had him well into his backing!

Greg Baumeyer and his son, Wyatt, from IL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday. We also worked deep grass flats and caught and released trout on Ultra Hair Clouser flies, DOA Deadly Combos and CAL jigs with shad tails.

You may find trout, Spanish mackerel, blues, pompano or flounder on deep grass flats, particularly close to passes. Look for reds, snook and big trout mixed with mullet schools on shallow flats and edges of bars.

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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