Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fly Fishing Tarpon In Shalow Water

Capt. Rick Grassett’s Fishing Report for 6/7 through 6/21/2009

Anglers fishing with me on the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action with tarpon from Siesta Key to Anna Maria Island on both fly and spinning tackle during the past couple of weeks. The best action was towards the end of this week as we approached a new moon on June 22nd.

George and Laura Kommick, from Palmetto, FL, fished off Siesta Key with me on Monday, June 8th. We dodged a few thunderstorms that morning, but it was worth it. Although tarpon weren’t showing very well on the surface that day, they were plentiful. They jumped 4 tarpon and got two of them to the boat on live pinfish drifted under a float.

A fly trip on Longboat Key on Wednesday had 3 hookups and one fish to the boat. The fish that was landed was only 75-pounds but was ornery. It ate a black and red Toad while the other two fish ate chartreuse and yellow Toads. Fly angler, Hal Lutz from Parish, FL, fished a couple of days with me at the end of that week and had plenty of shots at fish from Longboat Key to Anna Maria Island. Jon Yenari, from Sarasota, FL, joined Hal on Friday. Jon was up first and jumped a tarpon on a black and purple Toad at first light. Although tarpon were plentiful that day, they got smart after that. Jon also had another eat on Candy Corn Toad (yellow and orange) in shallow water.

A couple of fly trips earlier this week had lots of shots but no bites. That changed on Wednesday when Aledia Tush, owner of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters, and her son, Mason Tush, fished Longboat Key with me. The fish were plentiful but challenging that day. We worked several beautiful schools of tarpon with live crabs, pinfish and DOA 4” shrimp and Baitbusters for hours with no bites. Finally we gave them up to search for some new fish. With only 15 minutes of time left and Mason with a flight to catch, we returned to one of the original schools and Mason immediately hooked up on a live crab. Go figure. He landed the fish, a 75 or 80-pounder, in 10 or 15 minutes and made his flight on time!

Fly angler, Dennis Desmond from New Jersey, fished the same area with me on Thursday and Friday. We plenty of shots at fish on Thursday, but no takers. Dennis persisted and hooked up early on Friday morning on an Enrico Puglisi Black Mullet fly (black and purple). He fought the fish close to the boat for almost an hour and a half before the fish wore through his 80-pound bite tippet with the sink tip in his tip top rod guide. Close enough!

Hal Lutz was back on the boat on Saturday morning with a little luck from his sister, Lyndi Lutz, from Dallas, Texas. They also fished Longboat Key with me and had lots of shots. Hal jumped and landed a 90-pound tarpon (31” girth X 69” length) on an Enrico Puglisi Black Mullet fly. It was a single, swimming down the edge of a bar and Hal’s fast, accurate cast resulted in an eat and an aerial display right next to the boat. He kicked the fish’s butt in less than 15 minutes as a crowd cheered him on from the beach! Lyndi wasn’t about to be left out of the action, getting 3 bites or hookups including one jumped tarpon on a pinfish under a float.

When fly fishing for tarpon, it must be the right presentation to the right fish. The beauty about fly fishing for tarpon in shallow water is that you can see the body language of the fish as it reacts to your fly. Most times you’ll get a little wiggle right before the bite. Although many people think tarpon fishing will be winding down soon, we are in the best part of the season. July is a great month! With many tarpon finished spawning, schools will be smaller but hungrier providing great shallow water action with a fly.

I look for tarpon action to continue as long as the weather cooperates, i.e. predominantly east wind and good sunlight. West winds make it rough and difficult to fish the coastal gulf waters. Also, fish don’t show well on the surface in those conditions.

Tight Lines,

Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.

FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
(941) 923-7799
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
www.flyfishing florida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com

*Higher resolution versions of images avaialble.

fighting a tarpon

Mason Tush, from Sarasota, FL, puts the "heat" on a tarpon off Longboat Key while fishing with Capt. Rick Grassett.

 tarpon boat side

Capt. Rick Grassett handles a tarpon caught and released on an Enrico Puglisi Black mullet fly by Hal Lutz, from Parrish, FL.

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