Look for trout in Sarasota Bay
Captain Rick Grassett | submitted
Nick Huff, from Utah, battles a hot fly rod tarpon
in the coastal Gulf off Sarasota while fishing
with Captain Rick Grassett.
Captain Rick Grassett
Anglers fishing with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released trout in Sarasota Bay and snook at night in the ICW near Venice on flies during the past week. We also had lots of shots at tarpon in the coastal Gulf and caught one on a fly.
Tyler Barrus, from Dillon, Mont., and Nick Huff, from Utah, fished with me every day last week. Tyler is a fly fishing guide at Crane Meadow Lodge in Twin Bridges, Mont., where I have hosted a group of fly anglers in late summer for the last 13 years. He’s a good friend and a great guide who knows all the technical aspects of Western trout and steelhead fishing.
He and Nick are both great fly anglers. Although sea conditions weren’t too bad on Monday, we had heavy cloud cover and very little visibility for tarpon in the coastal Gulf. We gave it a try and had a few shots, but decided to fish shallow water in Sarasota Bay in the afternoon. They caught and released a few trout, including a 3-pounder, on Clouser flies near Buttonwood Harbor.
Light conditions improved on Tuesday and although it was rough in the afternoon, they had shots at singles, doubles and large schools of tarpon that day. Conditions improved even more on Wednesday, and it all came together for them.
Nick hooked up with a nice fish out of a small school of tarpon on a Lefty’s Deceiver fly. He got multiple jumps from the tarpon, estimated at 100-pounds, and had the fish next to the boat when she wore through the 80-pound bite tippet after a long battle. Well done!
We snook fished in the ICW near Venice for a few hours on Wednesday evening. It was fun watching Tyler and Nick cast flies far up under docks and apply their technical trout fishing skills to catching snook. They had good top water action catching and releasing about 10 snook on Gurgler flies.
After Nick’s tarpon on Wednesday, we focused on tarpon on Thursday and a short day on Friday. Conditions were good and they had numerous shots at tarpon and a few follows, but no bites. With tarpon it is usually the right cast to the right fish that scores!
Tarpon fishing in the coastal Gulf should be good next week as we approach a full moon. Look for reds and big trout in potholes and on the edges of bars when the tide is low or on shallow flats on sunny afternoons when the tide is high. Catch and release night snook fishing in the ICW from Sarasota to Venice should also be a good option.