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Captain Favorite's Fishing Forum: March 24, 2014




Nick Reding, from Longboat Key, FL, caught and released this 30-inch red on a Grassett Flats Minnow fly while wading a shallow Sarasota Bay flat with Capt. Rick Grassett.


Be a citizen-scientist: Help FWC monitor horseshoe crabs spawning on beaches

• 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: State’s saltwater fish offers on-the-water excitement

• 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, crew can retain recreational bag limits of reef fish in Atlantic soon

• 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.



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 trout, Spanish mackerel and pompano in Sarasota Bay and trout, redfish and snook in Gasparilla Sound on flies and CAL jigs with shad tails during the past week.


A front came through on Monday and Tuesday with strong winds and rain so we didn’t fish those days. JeffaHardin, from Lancaster, PA and Mark and sue Arrant, from Seattle, WA Hardin, from Lancaster, PA and Mark and Sue Arrant, from the Seattle, WA area, fished the back country of Gasparillla Sound near Boca Grande with me on Wednesday. They caught and released a few trout, redfish and a snook to complete their boat slam on CAL jigs with shad tails.


Shane Nicholls, from MA, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday. We worked on fly casting and fishing techniques and fished several deep grass flats and edges of bars where he caught and released trout on CAL jigs with shad tails.


Nick Reding, from Longboat Key, FL, and his grandson, Andrew Breckenridge from CT, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Friday. I did some fly casting instruction with Andrew in the morning and then Nick and I waded a shallow flat in the afternoon. Visibility was poor but we managed to catch and release a couple of over slot reds on my Grassett Flats Minnow fly!


Action was steady on Saturday when Keith Johnson and his dad, Fred Johnson, both from Raleigh, NC, fished Sarasota Bay with me in the morning and with Dean Fields, from Indianapolis, IN, in the afternoon. They caught and released trout, Spanish mackerel and a pompano on Ultra Hair Clouser flies and CAL jigs with shad tails.


Look for reds, snook and big trout on shallow flats or edges of bars in Sarasota Bay. Fishing deep grass flats for trout, Spanish mackerel, pompano and more should also continue to be a good option.  When conditions improve in the coastal gulf, action with Spanish and king mackerel, false albacore (little tunny) and tripletail should also heat up.

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 snookfin@aol.com

To create a forecast specific to

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Winds and seas are expected to remain below critical levels through today then increase with the next frontal boundary that will begin to move through the area tonight and Monday. Small Craft Advisory conditions appear likely for most...if not all...of the coastal waters Tuesday and Wednesday. Areas of sea fog are possible tonight into Monday morning...with the best chances of seeing reduced visibilities occurring from the Manatee County coast northward.



Northeast 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...then showers likely in the afternoon. Monday night will bring east winds around 10 knots then becoming south around 5 knots after midnight. Bay and inland waters a light chop. Showers likely in the evening. A slight chance of thunderstorms. Showers after midnight.

2014/03/24 Mon 2:43 a.m. -0.17 L

2014/03/24 Mon 6:58 p.m.1.99 H



Northwest winds 10 to 15 knots. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop. A chance of showers in the morning. Tuesday night will bring north winds 10 to 15 knots. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop.

2014/03/25 Tue 3:58 a.m. -0.21 L

2014/03/25 Tue 11:16 a.m. 1.26 H

2014/03/25 Tue 2:50 p.m. 1.12 L

2014/03/25 Tue 8:36 p.m. 1.94 H



Northeast winds 10 to 15 knots. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop. Wednesday night will bring east winds 10 to 15 knots. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop. A slight chance of showers.

2014/03/26 Wed 4:59 a.m. -0.21 L

2014/03/26 Wed 11:39 a.m.1.37 H

2014/03/26 Wed 4:29 p.m. 0.95 L

2014/03/26 Wed 10:04 p.m. 1.94 H



East winds 10 to 15 knots. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop. A chance of showers.

2014/03/27 Thu 05:48 a.m. -0.16 L

2014/03/27 Thu 12:02 p.m. 1.49 H

2014/03/27 Thu 05:38 p.m. 0.69 

2014/03/27 Thu 11:16 p.m. 1.94 H



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