|Catch of the Week
Bill Flader, from WI, caught this nice Spanish mackerel on an Ultra Hair Clouser fly while fishing a Sarasota Bay deep grass flat with Capt. Rick Grassett.
BRADENTON – The FWCC has named four license-free fishing days, April 6, June 1, June 8 and Sept 1. The FWCC has also proposed a 44-day recreational red snapper season for Gulf of Mexico state waters, set the 2013 recreational gag grouper season for Gulf of Mexico state waters, tabled a decision to create official saltwater game fish and sport fish designations and approved two changes to how gray triggerfish are managed in Gulf of Mexico state waters in an effort to help rebuild this overfished species. Capt. Rick Grassett recommends looking for trout, Spanish mackerel, blues, pompano and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay and looking for reds around docks, 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.
Get your fishing equipment ready for 2013 license-free days
- With more than 3 million anglers in the state, it is likely you either know someone who fishes, or you are someone who fishes. Either way, Florida’s license-free fishing days are the perfect venue to try your hand or introduce a friend to some of the finest fishing in the world.
- During its Feb. 13 meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) selected Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, Sept. 1 as the 2013 saltwater license-free fishing days. On these days, the requirement to have a recreational fishing license is waived for Florida’s residents and visitors while they are saltwater fishing.
- The FWC offers four license-free fishing days a year: two saltwater and two freshwater. While the Commission selects new saltwater license-free fishing days on an annual basis, freshwater license-free fishing days are set to the first Saturday in April and the second Saturday in June.
- This year’s freshwater license-free fishing days are Saturday, April 6 and Saturday, June 8. Use these days to catch the big one and get rewarded for it. Sign up for an FWC freshwater angler recognition program in advance at www.TrophyCatchFlorida.com and you will be entered into a drawing for a Phoenix bass boat powered by Mercury. If you catch, photograph and release a largemouth bass heavier than 8 pounds, you’ll be eligible for great rewards or certificates for catching qualifying freshwater fish from among 33 exciting species in the program. The FWC will honor license-free freshwater fishing days as a legal exemption for fish caught on these dates.
Commission proposes 2013 Gulf recreational red snapper season in state waters
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) proposed a 44-day recreational red snapper season for Gulf of Mexico state waters at its meeting Feb. 13 in Orlando.
- This season would start June 1 and end July 14. The proposed 2013 season is inconsistent with the current proposed federal season, which is currently expected to be about 27 days but may be shortened once state seasons in all Gulf state waters are finalized.
- The Commission will make a final decision on this season at the April Commission meeting in Tallahassee.
2013 gag grouper recreational season set for Gulf state waters
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) set the 2013 recreational gag grouper season for Gulf of Mexico state waters at its meeting Feb. 13 in Orlando.
- The season in most state waters is slated to start July 1 and end Dec. 3.
- State waters off the coast of Taylor, Jefferson, Wakulla and Franklin counties, including waters of the Steinhatchee River, Apalachicola Bay and Indian Pass, will have a gag grouper open season of April 1 through June 30. This four-county region will not be open during the July 1 through Dec. 3 season.
- The Commission selected the April-to-June season for the four-county region to allow fishing opportunities for private recreational anglers in this area when gag grouper are closer to shore and can be safely accessed by smaller boats. Because it is the least densely populated region of Florida’s Gulf Coast, fishing effort for gag grouper is relatively low in these counties. By replacing the July 1-through-Dec. 3 season with a shorter but more desirable season in the Big Bend, the Commission hopes to balance the economic and social needs of this region with the conservation needs of gag grouper.
Commission discusses game fish, sport fish designations
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) tabled a decision to create official saltwater game fish and sport fish designations Wednesday, Feb. 13, at its meeting in Orlando and directed staff to develop catch-and-release provisions for bonefish and tarpon.
- The Commission directed staff to bring the draft proposal to the FWC’s April Commission meeting in Tallahassee and gather public input on the issue before the meeting.
Changes to rebuild Gulf gray triggerfish population approved
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved two changes to how gray triggerfish are managed in Gulf of Mexico state waters in an effort to help rebuild this overfished species.
- More than 60 percent of gray triggerfish caught in the Gulf of Mexico come from state and federal waters off Florida, which makes the state’s management of the species integral to the success of the federal rebuilding plan.
- The changes, approved at the Feb. 13 Commission meeting in Orlando, will make state regulations consistent with pending federal regulations and will include implementing a June 1-through-July 31 closed recreational season and a two-fish daily recreational bag limit.
- Federal fishery managers also approved changes to the commercial harvest of Gulf gray triggerfish. These changes include a 12-fish trip limit and a June 1-through-July 31 harvest closure. The FWC requires fishers harvesting gray triggerfish commercially in Gulf state waters to have a federal reef fish permit. One condition of the federal reef fish permit is that harvesters must follow federal reef fish rules, even when they are fishing in state waters. This means that when the new federal commercial trip limit and closed season take effect sometime in April or May, harvesters in state waters must abide by these rules.
Weekly Fishing Report by Capt. Rick Grassett
Fred Netherton, from Ontario, Canada, caught this nice trout on an Ultra Hair Clouser fly while fishing Sarasota Bay with Capt. 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, Spanish mackerel, blues and pompano in Sarasota Bay on lures and flies during the past week. Water temperatures cooled to the low 60’s following the last front but there was still good action and variety on deep grass flats.
Keith McClintock and Victor Feldman, both from Ill., fished Sarasota Bay with me on Tuesday. They caught and released trout, including several in the slot, and Spanish mackerel on CAL jigs with shad tails on deep grass flats near Long Bar. Nick Reding, from Longboat Key, FL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Wednesday. We caught and released a few trout on deep grass flats near Buttonwood Harbor and at Stephens Point.
Conditions and action improved towards the end of the week. Bill Flader, from WI, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday. He had great action catching and releasing numerous trout to 19”, Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds, pompano and bluefish on Ultra Hair Clouser flies from the Middleground flat to Bishop Point along the west side of the bay. Fred Netherton, from Ontario, Canada, fished the same areas with me on Friday. He caught and released trout to 19”, several blues and a 3-pound pompano on Ultra Hair Clouser flies.
Look for trout, Spanish mackerel, blues, pompano and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Also look for reds around docks, 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 snook fishing in the ICW at night should also be a good option.
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.
www.flyfishingflorida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com
High pressure will build across North Florida tonight then move off the mid Atlantic coast Monday. Winds will turn southeast and then southerly as the high moves further east by Tuesday. A much weaker cold front will move across the region Wednesday before stalling across South Florida.
East winds around 15 knots. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop. Monday night will bring southeast winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop.
South winds around 15 knots then becoming southwest in the afternoon. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop. Tuesday night will bring south winds around 10 knots then becoming east after midnight. Bay and inland waters a light chop.
North winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop. Wednesday night will bring north winds around 10 knots then becoming northeast after midnight. Bay and inland waters a light chop.
East winds around 15 knots. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop. Thursday night will bring southeast winds around 15 knots. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop.
South winds around 15 knots. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop.