Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fly Fishing Forecast for August 2018
Tarpon will move to inside waters of Sarasota Bay, Charlotte Harbor, and Tampa Bay this month. You may also find juvenile tarpon in creeks, canals, and turning basins. Reds should be schooling on shallow flats and big trout will prowl the same waters at dawn. Also, look for trout on deep grass flats mixed with blues, pompano, Spanish mackerel and more. Catch and release snook fishing should be good around lighted docks at night or in the surf. Look for false albacore (little tunny) to show up in the coastal gulf later in the month.
Tarpon addicts will still be able to get their fix this month. You should still find a few tarpon in the coastal gulf early in the month. As tarpon thin out along beaches, they will move to inside waters where you may find them schooling around bridges or rolling on deep grass flats. They will also feed in schools of ladyfish that are feeding on the surface. You should also find juvenile tarpon from 10 to 30-pounds in creeks, canals, and turning basins. Fly anglers should score on juvenile tarpon with 8 or 9-weight fly rods, sinking lines and scaled down tarpon flies.
Snook season remains closed this month so handle them gently and use tackle heavy enough to catch and release them quickly. You’ll find them around lighted docks and bridges in the ICW and in the surf. Small white flies, like my Grassett Snook Minnow or Gurglers, should all work well. The same flies will work at night and in the surf, although you should be observant of what size baits are in those areas.
Reds should school up this month, although their numbers have been thin for the past couple of years. You should find them on shallow flats of north Sarasota Bay, lower Tampa Bay, and Gasparilla Sound. They’ll be easier to find in shallow water when the tide is low. Look for “nervous” water when it is slick calm or a slick patch of water when there is a ripple on the water. They may push a wake that looks like a boat wake. I try to be as quiet as possible in the shallow water, poling to locate them. Once you’ve located a school of reds, try to get ahead of them to intercept them, much like tarpon fishing. If you work around the edges of the school, you may be able to catch a few of them before they spook. We often also find big jacks, blues and other predators in the mix along with reds. Fly poppers or Gurglers may draw some big strikes!