Fishing Report: Anglers fishing with me on the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CBís Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, continued to have action with tarpon on fly and spinning tackle over the past couple of weeks. In addition, fishing deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay has also had good variety and action.
The Notariís tarpon fished a couple of days with me on June 30 and July 1st. They always seem to have good action and a high percentage of fish landed. Terry Notari, from Longboat Key, FL, his son, Craig, and grandson, James, both from IL, fished with me on Monday, June 30th. They had great action landing 3 out of 3 tarpon jumped including a 110-pounder that Craig landed on a chartreuse Toad fly. On Wednesday, James sat out and his younger brother, Josh, got in on the action. We had 3 bites that day, 2 on live crabs including one that Josh double teamed with his dad, Craig, and another hook up on a chartreuse fly that broke off when the fly line wrapped around the foot of the reel. They landed a total of 4 out of 6 fish over 2 days, which is far above average.
Sarasota Herald-Tribune outdoors editor, Steve Gibson, fished with me on Tuesday, July 1st. The goal was a tarpon on a fly in shallow water and we were successful. We had lots of shots, but fish were deep that day which made it tougher to get the fly in front of them. Steve made a long cast to a single and led the fish by 20 feet. When the fish intercepted the fly, all it took was a single strip and the big fish inhaled Steveís chartreuse Toad fly. After about 30-minutes we had her alongside the boat. She taped out at a 35Ē girth and 69Ē long-close to 120-lbs.
Justin and Brandon Bunting, both from CO, fished with me on July 4 and 5. We spent a couple of hours in the morning each day tarpon fishing and had a few shots, but no bites. They opted to fish Sarasota Bay near Bishops Point later in the morning each day. They caught and released trout, bluefish, mangrove snapper and a big red on CAL jigs with shad tails, DOA Deadly Combos and Ultra Hair Clouser flies.
Fly tarpon trips on Monday and Tuesday, July 7 and 8, had lots of shots at tarpon in shallow water, several follows and one fish jumped, again on a chartreuse Toad fly. If youíve never cast a fly at a 100-pound fish in clear shallow water, you wonít understand the thrill that it is. Itís not for everyone, but it is definitely how I prefer to catch them!
I had a group of 4 anglers on Wednesday. Steve and Liz Stallard, from MI, fished with me and Freddie Parish and Cece Woolf, from Land OíLakes, FL, fished with Capt. Jack Hartman. Anglers fishing with Capt. Jack jumped 6 fish and landed a pair of tarpon of 100 and 130-lbs. Liz landed a 120-pound fish right away on my boat with a live crab and had another hook up that resulted in 4 or 5 beautiful jumps before the fish jumped off. We headed for shallow water by 9 AM, where Steve had numerous shots at tarpon in shallow water. We had a couple of follows, but no bites.
We had lots of shots at tarpon with a fly in shallow water over the next couple of days, several follows but no hook ups. I subscribe to the theory that being successful with tarpon on a fly is making the right presentation to the right fish. The best candidates are usually high in the water column and moving slow. I prefer singles, doubles and small schools since they are usually post spawn fish at this time of the year.
Bill and Sandy King, from Osprey, FL, fished with me on Saturday. Sandy hooked up right away with a nice fish that was making a long run when it wrapped the line around a half submerged crab trap float and cut us off. Sandy also hooked up with what appeared to be a 7í or 8í tiger shark that ate a live threadfin twice. The first time the hook pulled and the second time the big fish chewed through the 80-pound leader. Bill also had some action, getting a couple of bites on the same cast from an aggressive tarpon that tried to eat his Dinner Mint Toad fly (black, chartreuse and olive).
Hopefully tarpon action will continue for the rest of the month. As we get later in the month, tarpon numbers will dwindle as they move to inside waters to feed. Snook in the surf and around lighted docks before dawn or reds, trout and more on shallow flats will also be good options.