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Captain Favorite's Fishing Forum: March 31, 2014




Venice winter resident, Chub Bortz, caught this upper slot Sarasota Bay trout on an Ultra Hair Clouser fly while fishing with Capt. Rick Grassett.


Spiny lobster season closes April 1

  • The spiny lobster recreational and commercial season closes to harvest in state and federal waters starting April 1 and will reopen Aug. 6. The two-day recreational sport season is the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July, which is July 30 and 31 this year.


Beach-nesting shorebirds need peace and quiet to survive

  • During spring and summer on Florida beaches, shorebirds build nests out of sand and shells and hatch chicks that can barely be seen. So well-camouflaged are the nests, eggs and chicks of shorebirds like the snowy plover that they can easily be stepped on or missed unless people know to watch out for them.
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is reminding beachgoers to be on the lookout and avoid disturbing bird nurseries on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida. Among the state’s beach-nesting shorebirds facing conservation challenges are the snowy plover, least tern, black skimmer, American oystercatcher and Wilson’s plover.


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 and Spanish mackerel in Sarasota Bay on flies during the past week.


A front passed through on Monday with a soaking, all day long rain, so we chose to not snook fish on Monday evening. It was good choice because it rained all night. Venice and Lakewood Ranch, FL winter residents Chub Bortz and Jeff Wagner fished Sarasota Bay with me on Tuesday.  The rain stopped by late morning and the wind blew 25-mph before the end of the trip, however they persisted and caught trout to 20”, including a couple of slot size fish, and ladyfish on Ultra Hair Clouser flies.


Weather was a problem again on Wednesday as cold air settled in and strong winds continued to blow, so we didn’t fish.  Bill Fox, from Atlanta, GA, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday and Friday. Bill prefers the action and variety found on deep grass flats, so we focused on those areas to keep his fly rod bent. He had good action both days catching and releasing numerous trout and a few Spanish mackerel on Ultra Hair Clouser flies. There were also ladyfish and jacks in the mix to keep things interesting.


I was the instructor for a CB’s Saltwater Outfitters Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing School on Saturday.  In addition to fly casting, students were also schooled on leader construction and saltwater fly fishing techniques. The next class will be on April 12th. Contact CB’s Saltwater Outfitters at (941) 349-4400 to sign up.


Fishing deep grass flats for trout, Spanish mackerel, pompano and more should continue to be a good option Also, look for reds, snook and big trout on shallow flats or edges of bars in Sarasota Bay.  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

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Wind speeds to exercise caution criteria can be expected tonight mainly over the offshore Gulf waters south of Tarpon Springs and the near shore waters adjacent to southwest Florida. Both winds and seas are then expected to remain below headlines through mid-week.



Northeast winds around 10 knots diminishing to around 5 knots in the afternoon. Bay and inland waters a light chop.Monday night will bring northeast winds around 10 knots then becoming east after midnight. Bay and inland waters a light chop.

2014/03/31Mon01:59 a.m.1.71H

2014/03/31Mon08:00 a.m.0.46L

2014/03/31Mon01:31 p.m.2.07H

2014/03/31Mon08:52 p.m.-0.14L



East winds around 10 knots then becoming northeast around 5 knots in the afternoon. Bay and inland waters a light chop. Tuesday night will bring northeast winds around 5 knots then becoming east after midnight. Bay and inland waters smooth.

2014/04/01Tue02:46 a.m.1.56H

2014/04/01Tue08:25 a.m.0.62L

2014/04/01Tue01:56 p.m.2.17H

2014/04/01Tue09:35 p.m.-0.2L



Southeast winds around 5 knots. Bay and inland waters smooth. Wednesday night will bring east winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop.

2014/04/02Wed03:34 a.m.1.42H

2014/04/02Wed08:48 a.m.0.74L

2014/04/02Wed02:25 p.m.2.22H

2014/04/02Wed10:21 p.m.-0.19L


South winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop. Thursday night will bring south winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop.

2014/04/03Thu04:26 a.m.1.28H

2014/04/03Thu09:12 a.m.0.85L

2014/04/03Thu02:56 p.m.2.22H

2014/04/03Thu11:10 p.m.-0.14L



South winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop.

2014/04/04Fri05:28 a.m.1.18H

2014/04/04Fri09:36 a.m.0.95L

2014/04/04Fri03:33 p.m.2.15H



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