Monday, May 24, 2010

Sarasota Beach Tarpon

Capt. Rick Grassett’s Fishing Report for 5/9 through5/23/2010

Anglers fishing with me on my flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and tarpon during the past couple of weeks. After warming up quickly, more than 10 degrees in a week or so, bay fishing slowed. However, tarpon showed up in force along our beaches.

Fly anglers Lynn Skipper, from Brandon, FL and Robert Fischer, from Tampa, FL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on 2 different days during the week of 5/10. We spent some time tarpon fishing early both days, but they weren’t showing well enough to give us any decent shots at them. Sarasota winter residents, Norm and Francie Boardman, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Saturday. Action in the bay was slow with a few trout and scattered blues and Spanish mackerel on a variety of flies and DOA Deadly Combos.

I turned my attention to tarpon last week and conditions were great. The pattern has been for a push of tarpon schools at first light in the morning, although they haven’t been showing that well on the surface. Jim Festa and Bob Benson, both from Sarasota, FL, fished with me on Monday. We jumped a pair of tarpon off Siesta Key on live crabs and Jim landed the first tarpon of the season on my boat, an estimated 60-pounder. A couple of other fly tarpon trips had numerous shots at fish but no bites. Accuracy is very important when fly fishing for tarpon. The fly must be in the right place at the right time to be successful.

Fly angler Jamie Grow, from Washington, DC, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Saturday. We had some action for the first couple of hours of the day at Stephens Point, catching and releasing several trout to 18” and getting cut off by a blue or mackerel. Due to the success we’ve been having with the DOA Deadly Combo, we opted for a popper/dropper fly combo with my Grassett Flats Bunny fished behind a Bubblehead popper. Jamie caught the largest trout using this technique as well as had several exciting strikes. All fish were attracted by the popper in the off color water, but ate the bunny fly.

Tarpon should be plentiful next week as we approach a full moon on May 27th. Drift live baits in their travel lane along beaches and cast live baits or DOA Baitbusters, Swimming Mullet and BFL’s to tarpon schools passing by. Fly anglers should do best later in the day when visibility is best. It is usually a matter of the right presentation to the right fish.

Tight Lines,

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

FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
(941) 923-7799
E-mail V and

Jim Festa, from Sarasota, caught and released this tarpon on a live crab while fishing off Siesta Key with Capt. Rick Grassett.

Jamie Grow, from Washington, DC, caught and released this nice trout in Sarasota Bay on a Grassett Flats Bunny fly while fishing with Capt. Rick Grassett.

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