An angler fights a snook that he caught using a fly rod

Anglers on recent Quiet Waters fishing trips, run out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, experienced good sight fishing conditions in shallow water and excellent dock light fishing. We had a mix of light tackle and fly fishing trips. Wind played a factor in our trips. But we were, for the most part, able find good water on even the windiest of days. Water clarity had been excellent prior to a recent rain event that created some turbidity and cloudiness in shallow water.

An angler holds out a snook that he caught while sight fishing in lower tampa bay


Snook have been very active in shallow water over the past few weeks. We’re finding plenty of snook over shallow water with a sandy bottom, relating to mangrove shorelines, and occasionally stacked up in wind protected coves. Paddletails, and super flukes were effective on light tackle, while fly anglers did best with the floating minnow fly, schminnows, and smaller buggy fly flies.

The night bite continues to be a place where anglers can catch higher numbers of snook. On most nights, it’s not a question of whether the fishing will be good, it’s a question of how good the fishing will be. We kept it simple with light tackle using shallow diving plugs, small shrimp baits, and paddletails. Fly anglers found success with small clousers, EP baitfish patterns, shrimp imitations (size 6-8), and pencil poppers. We’re using primarily floating lines at night, but will fish clear sink tips on occasion. Depending on the size of the fish on the lights, we use either 8 or 9 weight Orvis Recons on most nights.

An angler holds a redfish he caught on a fishing charter in lower tampa bay


We found redfish all over the place in shallow water over the last few weeks. They are an excellent species to target when sight fishing. Depending on the day, reds were either easy marks, or cunning, wary, and stingy targets. Fly anglers that are able to shoot line out quickly and accurately can get plenty of shots in shallow water right now.

On light tackle, we used the Aquadream spoon, paddletails, and super flukes to target redfish. The super flukes are one of the most versatile baits a flats angler can have in his shallow water spring fishing arsenal.  We are still seeing the occasional redfish on dock lights at night. A well placed and fished fly or plug will usually get the job done on these fish.

A young angler holds a seatrout he caught in Sarasota, FL


The deep grass remains a healthy fishery where anglers can really key in on speckled seatrout. Anglers that locate fish can work those areas more thoroughly by drifting or anchoring in those locations. A paddletail on a quarter ounce jighead is all you will need. There are high numbers of class-size seatrout concentrated over the deep grass. If your priority on the water is to keep a constant bend in your rod, then you’ll want to spend some time on the deep grass. It’s also a great place for kids to learn how to use artificial baits.

Looking Ahead

We are heading into prime fishing season. We’ve been seeing tarpon with more frequency and soon enough we will have some excellent sight fishing opportunities along the beach. The shorelines of barrier islands near passes are already beginning to show snook swimming in the trough. Anglers should continue to find redfish around sand bars and in the troughs behind the bars. The deep grass will continue to provide multi-species action for anglers.

Capt. Brian Boehm
Quiet Waters Fishing
Orvis Endorsed Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Sarasota, FL