An angler stands on the bow of a boat as the sun rises in the back ground

Shallow water flats fishing has been in full swing in and around the Sarasota area. Both light tackle and fly fishing trips have enjoyed success while fishing for snook, redfish, and other noteworthy species. As the weather has warmed, the grass flats around Sarasota Bay have come to life. Schools of baitfish are back in the bay and the birds and fish have noticed.

One of the highlights of the last few weeks was multiple days targeting tailing redfish in extremely shallow water. Catching snook on topwater flies and lures was another bonus for anglers fishing on Quiet Waters fishing trips over the last few weeks. Wind and weather played a factor in where we could fish, but we found ways to get out and fish in all but the worst of the recent weather systems that came through.

an angler holds a snook up to the camera with water in the background

Snook have become active with the warmer water temperatures and the abundant presence of baitfish. During the day, we’re finding snook patrolling points of islands, in sand holes, and up against the mangroves depending on the tide. We’ve had good success targeting these fish with small topwater flies like the bigly floating minnow and hard baits like spook juniors. Small paddletails and flies like the DT special have worked well subsurface.

Snook fishing has remained steady at night on the dock lights. We’re targeting these snook with both fly rods and light tackle. With the increasing presence of baitfish, the size of the flies we use have increased. When targeting snook on the dock lights with light tackle we are primarily working smaller shrimp style baits slowly or working suspended lipped plugs through the lights. Fishing dock lights remains one of the best ways to target snook and is generally a very fun trip.

An angler holds a snook that was caught at night with a fly rod

Redfish have been active in a variety of locations in shallow water. We found tailing redfish tucked back in the back country in extremely shallow water on multiple recent trips. Redfish that are tailing and backing in skinny water provide one of the most unique opportunities a shallow water angler will ever experience. Successfully fishing redfish in these situations requires an extremely shallow drafting skiff plus a very delicate and disciplined approach.

An angler holds a redfish that he caught

The grass flats of Sarasota Bay have come back to life with the warming water temperatures. The deeper grass is a great place for anglers that are looking to bend the rod and find good action. We found speckled seatrout, jacks, ladyfish, and Spanish mackerel on a few recent visits. The majority of the seatrout were class size fish, but we did find a few fish over 20”.

an angler holds a speckled seatrout up to the camera. This is a larger than average fish with a nice belly

As the weather continues to warm, tarpon season is right around the corner. The majority of my tarpon slots are taken, but I still have a few openings left in May and June. They won’t last much longer. Snook and redfish should continue to get more active as we get into April and will provide excellent opportunities for shallow water anglers.

Update on October & November Louisiana Redfish Dates

A guide stands next to an angler holding up a redfish for the camera. It's a big refish caught in a narrow creek

All October dates for my 2024 Louisiana redfish season are taken. There are two remaining 3 day slots available in November. If you’re interested in fishing the remarkable fishery at the mouth of the Mississippi river, then contact me soon.

Thanks for Reading!

Captain Brian Boehm
Quiet Waters Fishing
Sarasota, FL