Monday, August 29, 2011

Fall Fly Fishing Challenge set Oct. 29

Co-Tournament Director Rick Grassett

The Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers and the Sarasota Chapter of Coastal Conservation Association will hold their 7th annual Fall Fly Fishing Challenge Oct. 29.

The catch, photo and release event will feature an Open Division, for guides and anglers fishing with guides (all anglers are eligible to compete in the Open Division), and a Fly Angler Division (no guides).

In the Open Division, eligible species include snook, redfish and spotted sea trout. Those in the Fly Angler Division will fish for a variety of species, including snook, redfish, spotted sea trout, bluefish, ladyfish, flounder, snapper, jack crevalle, pompano and permit based on a point-per-inch system.

Entry fee is $50 and includes an awards BBQ at the Ken Clark Auditorium, 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. Applications are available at area tackle shops or on line at and

Call Rick Grassett at 923-7799 or Steve Gibson at 284-3406 for information.

Monday, August 22, 2011

August heat can make for some hot fishing

Last August yielded this Charlotte Harbor tarpon via a D.O.A. TerrorEyz.

The humid, sultry days of August scare off most Florida anglers.

Don’t let the heat beat you down.

There is some fine fishing this time of year – if you’re willing to get up early and hit the water before daylight.

I have been fishing Bishop Harbor for the last two weeks and doing pretty well. I’ve been getting some nice snook, redfish, spotted seatrout and a surprising amount of flounder on topwater plugs and D.O.A. CAL Jigs.

Best bet is to hit the water early and cast a topwater plug anywhere you can find mullet and/or baitfish. The morning bite usually lasts until about an hour after dawn.

On several occasions, I’ve taken Slams (snook, trout and redfish) very quickly.

I’ve also been fishing Mose’s Hole, a pristine area only accessible via kayak. To get to the hold, you have to paddle through a picturesque mangrove tunnel.

First time I fished Mose’s Hole, I caught six snook and four redfish. Since, then I’ve taken a number of redfish, bigger trout, flounder and some monster ladyfish.

I also have been fishing in Tampa Bay and poling the productive sand bars. The white sand and clear water can make for some exciting sight-fishing! I have caught a few redfish, spotted seatrout and flounder. There are plenty of bonnethead shark cruising the bars, but I haven’t hooked up.

I plan to drive to Punta Gorda to look for tarpon in Charlotte Harbor. If I get a calm day, I’ll bet I can find them. First trip down a year ago, I was met by tarpon all over the place. It was strange. I saw tarpon tails and fins in almost every direction I looked.

The tarpon there run a variety of size. Many are 20 to 40 pounds, but you’re also likely to hook into one of 100 pounds or more.

I use medium-heavy spinning gear, 20-pound braided line and 50-pound mono shock leader. Lure choices include D.O.A.’s TerrorEyz, Baitbuster and Swimming Mullet.

Flies also work well when conditions are right. When I get a fly-fishing opportunity, I use dark flies on a 9-weight rod with a sinktip line.

We should start seeing schooling redfish any day. They group up this time of year in preparation for their spawning migration into the Gulf of Mexico. I often find schools of 100 or more redfish, most of which are well over the slot limit. All it takes to hook up is to get your fly or lure near the school.

Beach snook fishing this summer has been, um, crappy. We’ve had a lot of west wind and rough conditions along the beach.

My best day has been seven snook.

I did take newcomer Jim Asaph of Englewood out and he caught two of the nine snook he hooked. They were the first snook he’d ever caught.

Asaph, a spin angler, caught his fish on a D.O.A. Shrimp.

The heat really doesn’t get to me. Usually, I’m too busy fight fish.

Anyway, I’m most often off the water by noon.