Sarasota fishing report

Current fishing reports for Sarasota, Florida

Red tide affecting Sarasota fishing

Red Tide affecting fishing in Sarasota


The red tide moved further north in Sarasota Bay.  Fishing was decent, but on 8/10 the wind shifted west and that pretty much shut things down.  It seems to be easing up, so we shall see how it goes this week,  Capt Jim

Unfortunately, red tide has shown up off of the Sarasota beaches.  I hate to see the red tide affecting Sarasota fishing, but it does.  Patient anglers can still caught fish, the key being finding "clean" water on Sarasota fishing charters

Sarasota Fishing Report

Some of my favorite spots near Big Sarasota Pass and New Pass had red time move into it during the middle of the week.  It wasn't terrible and clients caught a few fish.  However, the dead fish floating nearby kind of take way some of the enjoyment.  The good news is that at least for now, the middle portion of Sarasota Bay has clean water and plenty of fish.  On Friday morning we ran across a couple large schools of jack crevelle.  They were terrorizing bait fish in three feet of water.  We got on them several times with a couple double-headers.

That bite slowed, so we eased out and worked grass flats in six feet to seven feet of water at Bishop's Pt., Buttonwood, and Stephen's Pt.  Action was steady with numerous  speckled trout to 18" being landed.  Jigs with Bass Assassin baits, Gulp Shrimp, and live shrimp were all effective.  Bluefish, mangrove snapper, gag grouper, ladyfish, jacks, and catfish were also caught.

Red Tide Tactics

While anglers can achieve success during periods of red tide, tactics do need to change.  Fishing with live bait fish can be difficult.  Red tide will move bait fish schools and it can be difficult to keep bait alive.  Running through one little patch can kill them all.  Live shrimp are not affected, it seems.  Anglers will do well by fishing fast and moving around until fish, and good water, are located.  Artificial lures such as the jig and grub combo work well.  Jigs allow anglers to cover a lot of water fairly quickly.  I wish my Sarasota fishing report did not include red tide affecting Sarasota fishing.  More info at the FWC site.

red tide affecting Sarasota fishing

Snapper and trout top the list

Snapper and trout were the highlights of Sarasota fishing report this week.

Snapper and trout top the list of species landed by clients this week.  My Sarasota fishing report features those species along with many others that hit live and artificial baits in Sarasota Bay.


Anglers did well on Sarasota fishing charters of late.  Speckled trout and mangrove snapper were the top catches.  Spanish mackerel, bluefish, flounder, sea bass, grouper, ladyfish, jacks, catfish, and were were also landed.  Gulp Shrimp on a jig head and live bait fish were equally effective.  The flats new New Pass were the top spots.  Radio Tower, Middlegrounds, and Bishop's Pt were all very productive.


As has been the case, the nost productive pattern on my charters has been to start off casting jigs at first light.  Either Bass Assassin Sea Shad baits and Gulp Shrimp on a 1/4 jig head worked well in six feet to ten feet of water over submerged grass.  On several morning the jig bite stayed strong.  On other mornings, or with young kids, a switch to live bait mid morning worked well.  Pilchards and threadfin herring were small, but just large enough for bay fishing.


Chumming the deep flats with live baitfish is a deadly technique in summer.  Bait fish are usually plentiful and easy to catch.  The smaller bait is actually advantageous.  More bait fish can fit in the well and the smaller chum gets the fish excited without filling them up.  Snapper and trout are attracted to the line of chum.  Catching them on a hooked bait is pretty easy after that.


I spent one morning trying for snook on the flats and docks in New Pass.  A topwater plug fooled one snook.  Live shrimp free lined under docks produced another.  It was quite breezy with storms, so we called it an early morning and went in.

snapper and trout


Big Sarasota snook surprises client!

After 27 years of guiding, I am still surprised to see new things.  This week Mitch French was free lining a small pilchard out behind the boat.  Something big grabbed it and dumped the spool.  After a scramble to chase it down, we landed a 35" snook!  That was a big SArasota snook.  In normal action, the bite on the deep grass flats has been steady.  Gulp Shrimp produced early then a switch to lve bait worked better later in the morning.  Fresh cut bait worked well, too.  Speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jacks, grouper, snapper, sharks, ladyfish and more were landed.  Just about ecery grass flat in 6' to 10' of water held fish.  This action should continue all summer.

Sarasota fishing report

Wind, tide, and water clarity are all important issues when deciding where to fish.  Recent rains helped cool the water off, however is also stains it.  The floating mossy weed has definitely thinned out, which is a good thing.  Whenever possible, choosing a spot where the wind and tide move in the same direction is very beneficial.  Speckled trout have been the most plentiful species caught on Sarasota fishing charters.  Trout hit both jigs and live bait fish.  Chumming with live bait is a fantastic technique that produces a lot of fish.  Spanish mackerel will show up in the chum and feed more aggressively.  Adding more chum will keep them fired up.


My Sarasota fishing report would not be complete without a mention of snook and tarpon.  Snook fishing has been good in Big Sarasota Pass and New Pass.  There are also plenty of fish out on the beach.  Outgoing tides are best for fishing the pass for Big Sarasota snook.  A high, incoming tide is preffered for the beach.  It has been a disappointing season for tarpon in 2018.  West wind, a bit of red tide, and fishing pressure were all factors.

big Sarasota snook

Summertime family Sarasota fishing charters

Summer means a bunch opf families visiting Sarasota and Siesta Key and Lido Key, and for me running my fishing charters, that means families with children.  The goal on these trips is action and vartiety, keeping the rods bent and the kids excited is very important.  I switched over to primarily fishing with live bait as this is the best approach to achieving that goal.  My Sarasota fishing report includes speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jack crevelle, gag grouper, mangrove snapper, ladyfish, catfish, and more.  The deep grass flats near both passes were the best spots.  Getting out there early was crucial, it has been VERY hot!  We started at 6:30 and finished up by 10:30.  Most charters produced around 50 fish.

Sarasota fishing report

Fair fishing on Siesta Key; conditions were challenging

My Sarasota fishing report is fair at best as conditions have not been the best of late.  For some reason, the water in Sarasota Bay remained murky and a kind of brown color.  I am not sure if it was due to the persistent wind, or perhaps the rain, but the stained water makes the fishing a bit tough.  Still, persistent anglers caught speckled trout to 21", snook, ladyfish, jacks, gag grouper, snapper, ladyfish, catfish, and a small cobia this week.  Gulp Shrimp and Bass Assassin jigs fooled most of the fish while free lined live shrimp also accounted for fish.  The flats in the middle of the bay were best, with Bishop's Pt. being the top spot.  Docks in New Pass hels snook while bridges produced mangrove snapper, jacks, and a small cobia on live shrimp.  I am hoping the water clears up and the baitfish show up; that will really crank up the summer fishing.

Sarasota fishing report

Weather is an issue for anglers in Sarasota

Mother Nature has made fishing in Sarasota a bit challeging of late.  It has been breezy with som rain and with Tropical Storm Alberto bearing down, we can expect more of the same for several days.  Also, I was on vacation for a week or so, did some bass fishin in Indiana.  In between the weather, clients landed speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, and more on the deep grass flats using jigs and live shrimp.  Rapala plugs and live hand-picked shrimp fooled snook, redfish, mangrove snapper, and jack crevelle along mangrove shorelines and under docks in Robert's Bay.  Tarpon are showing up, but the wind is hindering the fishing.

Sarasota fishing report

Good fishing in Sarasota for speckled trout, redfish, and more!

Fishing was good this week, with anglers catching a variety of species using several different techniques. The deep grass flats continue to be the most reliable pattern. Speckled trout were plentiful on flats in 6' to 8' of water for clients fishing lIdo Key, Radio Tower, and Stephen's Pt. Wind was an issue, forcing us to look for a little break and fish the east side of the bay and the flats behind Bird Key. Live shrimp and jigs with Gulp Shrimp and Bass Assassin baits did well. Spanish mackerel,bluefish, gag grouper, and ladyfish were also landed.

Big Sarasota Pass runs between Siesta Key and Lido Key and has been providing anglers on Sarasota fishing charters with steady action. Ladyfish, mackerel, pompano, and catfish hit small chartreuse jigs and live shrimp. Drifting with the tide worked best.

Docks in Robert's Bay along Siesta Key are holding redfish, snook, snapper, and sheepshead. It is a bit late in the season, but there are still sheepshead around. Live shrimp fished with a split shat was the best technique. It is encouraging to see redfish starting to show up again after being scarce the last couple of years.

Sarasota redfish

Speckled trout pleasing anglers in Sarasota!

The trout bite continues to be very good on grass flats in 5' to 8' of water in Sarasota Bay and is the highlight of my Sarasota fishing report.  Bass Assassin jigs and live shrimp did well at Middlegrounds, Bird Key flats, and Stephen's Pt.  Speckled trout to 23" with quite a few nice ones in the 16" to 20" range were caught by clients.  Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, grouper, and sailcats were mixed in.  Ladyfish and mackerel hit jigs and shrimp in Big Pass and sheepshead and gag grouper took live shrimp at the Ringling Bridge.

Sarasota fishing report

Decent fishing for persistent clients on Siesta Key!

Weather was once again a factor this week as a pretty strong front moved through early in the week, impacting my Sarasota fishing report.  The bite was strong on Sunday as we drifted the flats casting Bass Assassin jigs and catching a bunch of fish.  Monday and Tuesday were nasty, and it was still breezy Wednesday but got better each day after that.  Speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, and ladyfish hit jigs and free lined shrimp on the deeper flats.  The areas north of New Pass had cleaner water and those spots were more productive., with Bishop's Pt. and Stephen's Pt. being best for me.  I ran across a bucket while up on plane and saw a tripletail under it.  A live shrimp cast toward it was instantly devoured!  The passes and nearby docks are loaded up with sheepshead, if you want a few for dinner, fine, but please don't keep too many as they are easy to catch while schooled up to spawn.  Redfish and snook hit live shrimp under docks south of Phillippi Creek.

Siesta Key fishing charters

Steady fishing on the Sarasota flats around cold front.

Mother Nature had an impact this week as a fairly strong front moved through mid-week.  Clients on fishing charters experienced fast action on Monday and Tuesday as the front approached.  Speckled trout and ladyfish were plentiful at Marina Jacks and Marker #5 and hit Bass Assassin Sea Shad baits.  Sheepshead, mangrove snapper, Key West grunts, and gag grouper hit shrimp in Big Pass.  Docks in Robert's Bay held snook and grouper.  I got back out on Friday afternoon as the winds subsided, and expected to find the water churned up.  I was pleasantly surprised to find the water fairly clear, considering.  Middlegrounds and Bishop's Pt were the top spots with anglers landing pompano, speckled trout, grouper, ladyfish, a blacktip shark, and a small cobia casting Gulp Shrimp on a jig head.

Sarasota fishing report