Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fly Fishing Forecast for June 2016
Tarpon should be plentiful in the coastal gulf this month as big schools of fish migrate along our beaches. Also look for cobia, tripletail and false albacore (little tunny) in the coastal gulf. Catch and release snook fishing should also be good in and around passes and in the surf. Fishing for trout and reds should be strong on shallow grass flats of Sarasota Bay.
Tarpon fishing should be strong this month as schools of fish increase in size and numbers. They will head off shore to spawn, close to new and full moons. I use 12-weight rods and large arbor reels capable of holding a minimum of 250 to 300-yards of backing. Leaders consist of a 60-pound butt section, a 25-pound tippet section with 2 Bimini twists, to add stretch to the leader, and an 80-pound bite tippet. I’ve done well with Lefty’s Deceiver and my Grassett Flats Bunny fly patterns fished on floating or intermediate sink tip fly lines. Stake out or anchor in travel lanes to get shots at them. Tarpon are creatures of habit and will travel on the same edges and depth contours. The shallower the water, the easier it is to get you fly in front of a fish when fly fishing. Since fish may be moving both north and south, setting up too close to another angler may negatively affect their fishing.
Snook season remains closed this month, so also use tackle heavy enough to catch and release them quickly. You should find them in the surf, in passes and around docks and bridges in the ICW near passes. You can walk the beach and sight fish them in the surf with fly tackle. Small baitfish fly patterns, like my Grassett Snook Minnow, should work well. The same flies that work in the surf will also work well at night. Snook will congregate in passes around the new and full moons to spawn, so docks and bridges close to passes will usually hold more fish this time of year.
Fishing for reds should also be good in June.  Look for them over shallow grass, along mangrove shorelines or around oyster bars when the tide is high. You’ll find them in potholes or edges of flats when the tide is low. Fly anglers should score with baitfish fly patterns like my Grassett Flats Minnow or Gurglers. You’ll also find big trout in the same areas where you find reds in shallow water. You can use the same flies to catch them although first light in the morning will be prime time to catch a “gator”. I like the flats of north Sarasota Bay for reds and big trout in June.
You’ll also find trout schooling on deep grass flats along with the occasional Spanish mackerel, bluefish or pompano this month. I like to drift and cast ahead of my drift with Ultra Hair Clouser flies tied on long shank hooks on an intermediate sink tip fly line. You’ll need to add a few inches of heavy (50 or 60-pound) fluorocarbon when toothy fish are in the mix. Deep grass flats on points, such as Stephens and Bishop Point and near passes, like the Middleground, Radio Tower and Marina Jack flats are usually good deep grass areas to fish in Sarasota Bay.
In addition to tarpon look for Spanish mackerel, false albacore, cobia and tripletail in the coastal gulf this month. Although none of them may be thick, I’ve encountered all of them before in June. Keep your eyes open for bird activity or “breaking” fish to find albies and mackerel. Cobia and tripletail may be found around crab trap floats; however I’ve seen cobia swimming with tarpon schools before. An 8 or 9-weight fly rod with a floating or clear sink tip fly line is adequate to catch everything except a big cobia, in which case your 12-weight tarpon fly tackle will work well.
There are lots of options in inshore waters or the coastal gulf this month. If pulling on a 100-pound tarpon isn’t for you, fishing pressure is usually light inshore this month so reds, snook, trout and more will also be good options. Whatever you choose to do, please limit your kill, don’t kill your limit!
Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc. and
(941) 923-7799