Reds beginning to school on flats
Capt. Rick DePaiva | submitted
Capt. Rick Grassett caught and released this
big red at sunset on a Grassett Flats Minnow fly while
wading Pine Island Sound with Capt. Rick DePaiva.
Captain Rick Grassett
Anglers fishing Sarasota Bay reported good action on deep grass flats with trout, blues, Jacks and more on CAL jigs with shad tails, DOA Deadly Combos and flies during the past week. Reds are also beginning to school on Sarasota Bay flats. It is easier to find them when the tide is low. Look for wakes or patches of nervous water when it is calm or slick spots when there is a chop to find schools.
My friend, Capt. Rick DePaiva, invited me to fish Pine Island Sound with him on Wednesday afternoon. Tides were right for reds to tail on shallow grass as the tide bottomed out at about 5 p.m., which gave us a window to fish the falling tide and then the incoming just before dusk. We had some shots at reds and snook on the outgoing tide, but as the tide hit low the water slicked off and conditions got right. We got out and waded as reds snaked their way back onto a shallow flat, crawling through the exposed grass. I caught and released a 30-inch red on my Grassett Flats Minnow fly with only a 20-foot cast. Very rewarding!
Look for schools of reds staging on edges of bars and flats or tailing on shallow grass flats when the tide is low. There should still be some action with tarpon in the coastal Gulf. However as they thin out in the coastal Gulf, they are moving to inside areas where you may find them rolling on deep grass flats or in passes at first light. You also should find trout, blues and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Catch and release snook fishing should be good in the surf, in passes and around docks and bridges close to passes.
Captain Mark Howard
Fishing this past week out of Keyes Marina on Anna Maria Island on my 23-foot tower boat has provided exciting opportunites to catch some of Tampa bay's abundant game fish and enjoy the beautiful surrounding waters of our west coast paradise. Speckled trout, redfish, snook and mangrove snapper have been landed on my recent charters.
Speckled trout have been located in 2 to 8 feet of water and chewing shiners when the tide is moving . Using a popping cork rigged with a tiny split shot near the hook will get the baits deeper in the water column and keep them away from the hoards of needle fish. The use of a dehooker will greatly increase the survival of these fragile predators.
Snook are still on the beach and the outside points of Tampa Bay. Look for the fish to move away from the passes as the new moon arrives. Chumming with shiners and smaller pinfish will get the snook to chew.
Redfish are starting to gather into medium-sized schools and rallies are finally starting to occur. Using the live and dead shiners in your livewell to chum will get the bite fired up. Follow the schools of reds from the outside edges on low tide and then moving up into the bushes as the tide increases.
Looking forward as the moon goes to the new moon phase, expect to have big tides that can trigger the fish to chew. The shiner game has been easy with plenty in our area. Until next time, keep the slack out of your line and learn to feel the thump of the predator inhaling your bait.