Monday, July 09, 2012

Sarasota Tarpon Fishing 7-9-2012

Sarasota, FL Fishing Report
by Capt. Rick Grassett

Conditions were good for tarpon fishing last week, although following a full moon on Tuesday they weren’t aggressive. Anglers fishing the coastal Gulf of Mexico off Sarasota with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, during the past week had numerous shots at tarpon with a fly and caught and released one early in the week. We are still seeing some large schools of tarpon, that may not have spawned yet, as well as singles, doubles and small schools traveling both north and south.

I saw something on Monday that I’ve never seen before in 22 years of guiding and more than 30 years on the water in Sarasota, an endangered smalltooth sawfish. The big fish, approximately 7’-8’ long was swimming in clear, shallow water with a small cobia following. I paralleled the prehistoric fish for several minutes and we got a good look at it as we cast to the cobia. In addition to its “saw”, the fish is distinguished by an extra fin between its dorsal and tail fins. We also had several shots at tarpon with a fly and a DOA shrimp on spinning tackle that day.

Randy Honaker, from OH, his son, Randy, Jr. from Tampa, FL, and son-in-law, Justin, tarpon fished with me on Tuesday. Tarpon were plentiful on the incoming tide. They had shots at numerous schools of tarpon, which were mostly moving north. Randy, Jr. jumped and landed a 65-pound tarpon on a bunny fly out of a small school of 8 or 10 fish. A great job with his first tarpon on a fly!

We had lots of shots at tarpon with a fly the rest of the week. Although we had a few leans and follows, we didn’t have any other bites. Large schools of tarpon look impressive, but sometimes pre spawn tarpon are so focused on migrating to spawn that eating becomes secondary to them. Late in the season, singles, doubles and smaller schools of tarpon are fish that may have already spawned and are usually more aggressive when it comes to eating.

Tarpon should be in a better mood next week as we approach the quarter phase of the moon on Tuesday. Fly anglers should do best with tarpon in shallow water when visibility is best. Trout, blues and redfish should also be good options in Sarasota Bay. Fish the bay early for the best action due to heat later in the day.

Tight Lines,

Capt. Rick Grassett
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis- Endorsed Outfitter Guide
CB’s Saltwater Outfitters-2011 Orvis Outfitter of the Year
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
(941) 923-7799
E-mail and

Capt. Rick Grassett leaders a tarpon caught on a fly by Randy Honaker, Jr., from Tampa, FL, while fishing the coastal gulf off Sarasota.

Capt. Rick Grassett prepares to release a tarpon caught in the coastal gulf off Sarasota by Randy Honaker, Jr, from Tampa, FL. It was Randy's first tarpon on a fly.

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