In Capt. Rick Grassett Sarasota Florida Fly Fishing Forecast for March 2018 he explains how to target Snook, Redfish, Tarpon and other species when fly fishing near Sarasota FL.
There should be good action with reds, trout and snook in skinny water in March as the water warms and bait-fish become more plentiful. Look for Spanish and king mackerel, cobia, tripletail and false albacore (little tunny) in the coastal gulf. Night snook fishing in the ICW should also be a good this month.
Snook season reopens this month on the west coast of Florida, although personally I will continue to ask my clients to release all snook. They are a fantastic game-fish and I’d rather my clients have a better chance to experience that! This should be a good month for snook fishing at night around lighted docks and bridge fenders in the ICW. Small white flies, like my Grassett Snook Minnow, usually work well at night since glass minnows are the predominate bait-fish. Focus on shadow lines where light meets dark and fish strong tides for the best action. Although snook may also be found in rivers, creeks or canals in March, they will also start to move onto shallow flats, particularly on sunny afternoons when it’s warm. I like wider profile flies, like my Grassett Flats Minnow, Deceivers and EP flies, for snook on the flats.
Look for early season tarpon that may start to show in back-country areas. These are usually adult resident fish that are making their way out of rivers and creeks. They may be “laid up” or rolling on deep grass flats, on edges of shallow flats or along bars when it is calm. An accurate cast may result in an explosive strike! Look for them in areas of Sarasota Bay, lower Tampa Bay or in Gasparilla Sound on some of the same deep grass flats where you find trout.
Reds should be more active as the water warms and bait-fish become more plentiful. Higher tides, as we head into spring, will allow them to spend more time feeding in shallow water. Look for them over shallow grass, along mangrove shorelines and around oyster bars when the tide is high. You should find them in potholes and along sand bars when the tide is low. Fly anglers should score with my Grassett Flats Minnow fly, fished on a 12’ or longer leader. When using a long leader be sure you are able turn it over, otherwise you’ll need to shorten it until you can. The butt section should be at least 50% of the total length of the leader and stiff enough to transfer energy from your fly line to the leader.
You might also find reds around docks when the tide is low. Look for deep water under docks with a good tidal flow for the best action. A clear intermediate sink tip fly line with a weighted fly and a 6’ leader should work well for dock fishing. In addition to reds, you might find snook, flounder, sheepshead, jacks and more around docks when fishing near Sarasota, FL.