an angler stands on a boat and fights a fish

Early morning topwater action

Inshore fishing has been excellent on Quiet Waters charters run out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters in Sarasota, FL. The morning topwater bite continues to produce snook and plenty of trout. Plug fishing in general has been a great way to target larger fish. Night dock light fishing has been steady. Water temperatures continue to dip as we head towards winter.


Most snook are on the move to warmer water, though we’re still seeing a fair amount in and around the passes. Anglers were still finding snook in the surf over the last week. On the flats, larger snook could be found around mangrove islands,  oyster bars, and relating to other structure on the flats. Top water plugs like the Heddon Super Spook and Super Spook Jr. were excellent options in the morning. Subsurface plugs like the MirrOlure Mirrodine XL worked well throughout the day.

Angler holds snook he caught on fishing charter

Brandon with nice snook caught on the flats

Fishing dock lights at night continues to provide consistent action for fly and light tackle anglers. Snook are thinning out in areas near passes and close to Gulf access. More and more snook are showing up in dark bottomed canals and brackish rivers and creeks. If you’re fly fishing, begin transitioning to smaller flies on dock lights. Small lipped plugs and shrimp imitations are still working well on dock light snook.


Redfish have been very active with the cooler water temperatures. Potholes near transition zones have been an excellent place to find them. Creek mouths near mangrove shorelines, oyster bars, and shallow coves have been good places to fish when conditions are right.

Redfish eats a topwater plug

Nice topwater redfish

Jigs rigged with larger paddletails and grub tails worked well on redfish. The Aquadream ADL series spoon is an excellent choice this time of year. Redfish took topwater plugs eagerly on a few mornings. Anglers should be able to regularly target reds farther up in brackish rivers now. The shallow water of the back country is holding plenty of redfish as well.


With cooling water temperatures, seatrout of all sizes were very active for longer periods of the day. If you’re looking to bend the rod, then the deep grass is the place for you. Seatrout on the deep grass are generally not as large as seatrout that you find on the shallow flats, but it’s hard to argue with the consistent action that these fish provide. Larger seatrout can be found in deeper grass, but it’s more common to catch fish in the 12-16” range there.  A paddletail on a jighead will get the job done for anglers looking for action on the deep grass.

Angler holds a seatrout

Chandler with a seatrout

Larger seatrout are making their presence felt on shallow flats and potholes. Water clarity has been excellent, providing many opportunities to sight fish larger seatrout in potholes. If you pay attention, they are not difficult to see over sand. The best bait for sight fishing these fish was the Mirrodine XL. We had multiple large seatrout roll on our plug on a recent charter. A soft plastic jerk bait is another great option for this style of fishing. Seatrout were highly susceptible to early morning topwater presentations over the last few weeks.

Looking Ahead

The deep grass will continue to provide good action for anglers looking to bend their rods in the Sarasota area. As water temperatures continue to cool, snook will prioritize warmer water areas. Redfish in clear shallow water are great fun. Anglers willing to do some wading are often rewarded this time of year.

See you on the water soon!

Captain Brian Boehm
Quiet Waters Fishing
Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Sarasota, FL