Anglers fishing the flats in the Sarasota, FL area experienced consistently warm weather in October. Even with our extended warm weather, flats fishing throughout our area was exceptional in October. Anglers fishing with Quiet Waters, spent time fishing the flats of lower Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, Little Sarasota Bay, Charlotte Harbor, and Pine Island. 
Water on the flats was still significantly cooler than the steamy summer temperatures we had been experiencing and snook, seatrout and redfish responded favorably. As of this writing, there was still no sign of false albicore in our coastal Gulf, but area anglers were still doing well nearshore fishing crab trap pots for tripletail using live shrimp, DOA shrimp, and fly patterns mimicking shrimp.


Snook fishing around Sarasota in October was exceptional. We had success using artificial lures and flies when targeting snook. On windy days we focused our attention on wind blown points with a good mixture of seagrass and sandy potholes in 1 – 4 feet of water. Snook were also very active on the leeward side of islands in areas that had good depth, uneven mangrove shorelines (points & coves) and the presence of baitfish. The best artificial baits were Mirrolure Mirrodines XLs, weedless soft plastic jerk baits, and paddletails on jig heads. At night, we found success on dock lights with the same baits. Dock lights in areas with good tidal flow provided the best fishing action. Dock lights where the snook are facing in the same direction (up current) gives the angler an opportunity to catch multiple fish.


Seatrout fishing remained consistent in our area. We began seeing larger seatrout in shallow water later in the day towards the end of October. DOA shrimp, soft plastics on jigs, jerk shads, and mirrodine XLs were great baits to use throughout the month. Clouser minnows and deceivers on clear sink tip lines provided the best action for fly fishing anglers. Covering water using the mirrodine XL is a great way to locate larger seatrout. Once you locate them, you can pick the area apart with slower moving baits at greater depths. Anglers found gator trout near oyster bars at creek mouths in close proximity to grass flats. Due to seatrout’s soft mouths, it’s very easy to pull the bait out of larger gator trout’s mouth. Loosening the drag on your reel, applying consistent pressure, and gently easing these large seatrout into the net is the best way to increase the odds of landing a quality fish.


Redfish were spread out across the flats throughout the month. We did find smaller redfish grouped up in close proximity to each other on productive flats, but the larger redfish were more spread out. Covering a lot of water was the best way to locate larger redfish. The mirrolure mirrodine XL and spoons produced the best in these scenarios. Larger and lightly weighted clousers, and shrimp patterns worked best for fly anglers. Less than ideal water clarity reduced the opportunity for sight fishing redfish in October. In areas that had good water clarity, redfish tended to spook very easily. Long casts with artificial baits on spinning tackle outperformed flies throughout the month. However, dedicated fly anglers understand that additional work and patience is necessary when pursuing redfish on the fly. In areas where redfish are present, wading is often the best method to get close enough to deliver a fly to wary redfish.

Looking Ahead

We should start experiencing consistent cold fronts in November. The cooling water temperatures should provide good action in the nearshore Gulf for false albicore when sea conditions are good. Albies are a fantastic species to target while fly fishing. Small minnow patterns on a sturdy hook will get the job done. These fish are capable of lightening fast runs and are known for getting into your fly backing in seconds. Flats fishing can be great in November. We may begin to see the reemergence of larger redfish on the flats throughout the month.
See you on the water soon!
Captain Brian Boehm
Sarasota, FL