CATCH OF THE WEEK
|Pierre Fortier, from Quebec, Canada, caught and released this nice jack and numerous snook on a Grassett Snook Minnow fly while fishing the ICW near Venice at night with Capt. Rick Grassett.|
• A ritual dating back millions of years takes place again this spring on Florida beaches. Spring marks horseshoe crabs’ mating season, and biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) want the public’s help identifying spawning sites.
• Beachgoers will likely have the best luck spotting mating horseshoe crabs around high tide, just before, during or after a new or full moon. The conditions around the full moon this Sunday, March 16, and the new moon on March 30 will create ideal opportunities to view the spawning behavior of horseshoe crabs. Read more by following the link.
• Sailfish hold a special place in many Florida resident and visitor’s hearts. Whether they’ve admired a replica of the beautiful fish while waiting for a fresh-caught meal at a local restaurant, or felt their blood pump as one leapt into the air on the other end of a fishing line, the fish known for its tall “sail-like” dorsal fin is a Florida icon. Though you can find the highly migratory species in warm offshore waters around the globe, sailfish are so abundant off the coast of Florida and so popular with people it was made the state’s official saltwater fish in 1975.
• Between its aesthetic beauty and its penchant for fighting, sailfish are a recreational favorite. Read more by following the link.
• For-hire captain and crew can retain recreational bag limits of vermilion snapper, groupers and golden tilefish in state waters of the Atlantic (including all of Monroe County for grouper species and golden tilefish) starting March 13. This change means that for-hire captain and crew will be able to retain recreational bag limits of all species of reef fish caught in Atlantic state waters.
• This change will make state regulations consistent with Atlantic federal regulations.
• Similar changes to federal rules became effective Jan. 27. The federal rule was modified because it was not effectively limiting harvest of vermilion snapper and gag grouper as originally intended and it was causing confusion because captain and crew of for-hire vessels could keep recreational bag limits of some snapper and grouper species, but not others. Additional harvest of these species by captain and crew is expected to be negligible and not negatively impact fish stocks.
•To learn more about this change made at the FWC’s February Commission meeting, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and click on “Commission Meetings.” To learn more about snapper and grouper recreational regulations, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Overview” under the “Reef Fish” header.
WEEKLY FISHING REPORT BY CAPT RICK GRASSETT
|Capt. Rick DePaiva, from Ft. Myers, FL, battles a tarpon jumped on a fly while fishing the coastal gulf 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 snook and jacks on flies at night in the ICW near Venice and trout, Spanish mackerel and pompano on flies, DOA Deadly Combos and CAL jigs with shad tails in Sarasota Bay during the past week. We fished deep grass flats on both sides of Sarasota Bay depending on wind direction for the bay action. The best bite of the week was fly fishing for snook and jacks at night.
Martin Marlow, from NY, and his son, Bruce Marlowe, from RI, snook fished with me on Sunday evening in the ICW near Venice. Snook were being very picky that night but they managed to catch and release several snook to 25 inches, ladyfish and jacks on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly.
Nick Reding, from Longboat Key, FL, and Tony Merlis, from NH, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Monday. We caught and released a few trout on my Grassett Flats Minnow and Ultra Hair Clouser flies.
Anna Maria and Sarasota winter residents, Bill Morrison and Gary Marple, fished with me on Tuesday morning. It was slow to start but they finished strong with trout and a nice pompano. Gary did particularly well with a glass minnow fly pattern that his son tied for him.
David Thompson, from Bozeman, MT, snook fished with me in the ICW near Venice on Tuesday night. He caught and released about 20 snook on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly and a shrimp Gurgler. Action was steady to start and really turned on when snook started to bust shrimp on the outgoing tide. We switched to a shrimp Gurgler and he had great action with snook blowing up on his fly!
Pierre Fortier and Alex Couture, from Quebec, Canada, snook fished the same areas with me on Wednesday evening. The action was similar to the night before, particularly on the outgoing tide at the end of the trip, but it was below the surface on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. In addition to snook, they also caught and released several jacks in the 3 to 4-pound class.
A front passed through on Thursday and 25 mph winds forced us to cancel fishing that day. Frank Zaffino, from Rochester, NY, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Friday. He caught and released a few trout, jacks and ladyfish on Ultra Hair Clouser flies. Mike Manning, from Sarasota, FL and Jim Samuels and Ray Branham, from Bradenton, FL, fished with me on Saturday. They had steady action with trout, ladyfish, jacks and a couple of Spanish mackerel on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos.
Fly angler Tim Gibian, from Frederick, MD fished with me on Sunday. With an approaching front, the wind blew 25-mph out of the SE by the end of our trip, making it very tough to hide from. We bumped up to a 9-wt rod with a heavier Clouser fly, which made it a little easier to deal with the wind and he persisted and caught a few trout and ladyfish. The best way to catch fish on a fly is to keep your fly in the water!
Fishing deep grass flats for trout, Spanish mackerel, blues, pompano and more should continue to be a good option. Look for reds and big trout on shallow flats or edges of bars in Sarasota Bay. You may also find tripletail or false albacore (little tunny) in the coastal gulf when conditions are good there.
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.
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A storm system will bring showers and thunderstorms over the waters tonight through Monday night. Elevated winds and seas will continue through Monday as well before high pressure builds in and winds and seas subside. The Small Craft Advisory has been expanded to include the near shore waters and Tampa Bay.
Southwest winds 10 to 15 knots. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop. Numerous showers and isolated thunderstorms in the morning...then widespread thunderstorms in the afternoon. Monday night will bring southwest winds around 5 knots then becoming west around 10 knots after midnight. Bay and inland waters a light chop. Widespread thunderstorms in the evening then numerous showers and scattered thunderstorms after midnight.
2014/03/17 Mon 01:47 a.m. 1.67H
2014/03/17 Mon 08:16 a.m. 0.27L
2014/03/17 Mon 01:45 p.m. 1.81H
2014/03/17 Mon 08:45 p.m. 0.04L
Northwest winds 10 to 15 knots diminishing to 5 to 10 knots in the afternoon. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop. A chance of showers in the morning. Tuesday night will bring northwest winds around 5 knots then becoming north after midnight. Bay and inland waters smooth.
2014/03/18 Tue 02:25 a.m. 1.59H
2014/03/18 Tue 08:38 a.m. 0.38L
2014/03/18 Tue 02:07 p.m. 1.95H
2014/03/18 Tue 09:25 p.m. 0.07L
North winds around 5 knots then becoming northwest around 10 knots in the afternoon. 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.
2014/03/19 Wed 03:08 a.m.1.49H
2014/03/19 Wed 09:02 a.m. 0.5L
2014/03/19 Wed 02:35 p.m. 2.06H
2014/03/19 Wed 10:10 p.m. 0.14L
East winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop. Thursday night will bring east winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop.
2014/03/20 Thu 03:57 a.m. 1.35H
2014/03/20 Thu 09:27 a.m. 0.63L
2014/03/20 Thu 03:08 p.m. 2.14H
2014/03/20 Thu 11:03 p.m. 0.17L
East winds around 10 knots diminishing to around 5 knots in the afternoon. Bay and inland waters a light chop.
2014/03/21 Fri 04:58 a.m. 1.2H
2014/03/21 Fri 09:53 a.m. 0.76L
2014/03/21 Fri 03:47 p.m. 2.17H
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