News Section: Fishing
Captain Favorite's Fishing Forum: Feb. 25, 2013
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|Catch of the Week|
Bill Flader, from WI, caught this nice Spanish mackerel on an Ultra Hair Clouser fly while fishing a Sarasota Bay deep grass flat with Capt. Rick Grassett.
BRADENTON – With water temperatures in the mid-60s, which is probably 8 to 10 degrees above normal for February, many popular pelagic species such as king mackerel, cobia and Spanish mackerel have moved to sunny south Florida. You should find trout, Spanish mackerel, blues, pompano and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Capt. Rick Grasset says you may also find blues and Spanish mackerel in passes when the tide is moving. Look for reds around docks, in potholes and on the edges of bars when the tide is low or on shallow flats on sunny afternoons when the tide is high.
- Competitors in the 2013 Python Challenge™ trekked through more than a million acres of swamps and sawgrass in search of the well-camouflaged Burmese python. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) today announced the results: 68 Burmese pythons harvested during the Jan. 12-through-Feb. 10 competition.
- The goal of the Python Challenge was to heighten public awareness about this invasive species, yet it also proved to be an unprecedented opportunity to gather important data about Burmese python populations and their impact on the Everglades ecosystem.
- The calendar says it’s February, but you sure can’t tell it by the fishing action. February is generally considered to be one of the slowest months of the year, but my Super Bowl weekend half-day fishing trips out of Carrabelle proved otherwise.
- With water temperatures in the mid-60s, which is probably 8 to 10 degrees above normal for February, out-of-season and out-of-place gag grouper were hungry on the limestone “grouper” ledges in 28 to 44 feet of water. This time of year, gag grouper are usually in deeper and warmer water, and many popular pelagic species such as king mackerel, cobia and Spanish mackerel have moved to sunny south Florida. Gag grouper is closed to harvest right now to give the overfished species time to rebuild, but can still be caught and released.
Several changes to black sea bass management in Atlantic state waters went into effect this week. These changes will help rebuild the Atlantic black sea bass population for future generations of recreational and commercial fishers and were made by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at its Dec. 5 meeting.
- Increasing the minimum size limit for commercial harvest from 10 to 11 inches total length, and for recreational harvest from 12 to 13 inches total length.
- Changing the recreational daily bag limit from 15 to five fish per person.
- Requiring federal commercial endorsements and permits for the harvest of black sea bass using traps.
- Matching federal trap specifications and requirements, including requirements for trap construction, requiring traps to be set only in waters north of Cape Canaveral and requiring traps to be removed from the water and brought back to shore at the conclusion of each trip.
- Black sea bass populations in the Atlantic are improving but are undergoing overfishing, which means more fish are being removed from the water than is considered sustainable. Federal fishery managers made several recent changes to help continue to rebuild Atlantic black sea bass populations. The FWC-approved changes will align state management efforts with most current federal regulations for black sea bass.
Weekly Fishing Report by Capt. Rick Grassett
Fred Netherton, from Ontario, Canada, caught this nice trout on an Ultra Hair Clouser fly while fishing Sarasota Bay 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, reds, Spanish mackerel, flounder and blues in Sarasota Bay on lures and flies during the past week.
I was out of town visiting family for a few days early in the week. Nick Reding, from Longboat Key, Fla., and Tony Merlis, from NH, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday. I poled a couple of sand bars and we waded shallow flats on the east side of the bay where they caught and released several trout to more than 20 inches, a flounder and a couple of reds on my Grassett Flats Minnow fly.
Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, IL and Jack Walker, from W.I., fished Sarasota Bay with me on Friday. They had good action on several deep grass flats on both sides of the bay catching and releasing numerous trout to 18” and several blues on CAL jigs with shad tails.
Tom Newman, from Fairfax, VA, and his brother, John Newman from Annapolis, M.D., fished Sarasota Bay with me on Saturday. With a strong south wind, we found some protection on the west side of the bay. They caught and released a few trout and ladyfish and a couple of Spanish mackerel from the Middleground flat to Whale Key on Ultra Hair Clouser flies, CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos.
Tides will be good next week as we head away from a full moon. You should find trout, Spanish mackerel, blues, pompano and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. You may also find blues and Spanish mackerel in passes when the tide is moving. Look for reds around docks, in potholes and on the edges of bars when the tide is low or on shallow flats on sunny afternoons when the tide is high.
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.
www.flyfishingflorida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com
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Areas of dense fog will continue to affect portions of the waters mainly from around Tarpon Springs in Pinellas County south this evening. More widespread dense sea fog will likely develop overnight from the coastline to areas 40 to 50 miles offshore along the west central and southwest Florida nearshore waters. A strong low pressure center will track slowly through the lower Mississippi Valley tonight through Tuesday with an associated cold front sweeping across the East Gulf Monday night into Tuesday with numerous showers and isolated thunderstorms.
South winds 5 to 10 knots increasing to around 15 knots in the afternoon. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop. Areas of dense fog in the morning. Isolated showers in the morning then a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Monday night will bring south winds around 15 knots. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop. A slight chance of thunderstorms in the evening.
South winds around 15 knots then becoming west in the afternoon. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop. Numerous showers and isolated thunderstorms in the morning then scattered showers in the afternoon. Tuesday night west winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop. A slight chance of showers in the evening.
Northwest winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop. Wednesday night will bring northwest winds around 15 knots. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop.
Northwest winds around 20 knots. Bay and inland waters choppy. Thursday night northwest winds around 15 knots. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop.
Northwest winds around 15 knots. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop.
Merab is a writer at the Bradenton Times. She can be reached at email@example.com