I was away visiting family in Delaware last week, so I don't have a Sarasota fishing report. However, I did have an opportunity to fish Tangier Sound in Chesapeake Bay a couple of days while I was there. My brother Joey Grassett and I fished with our brother, Kirk Grassett, on his Jones Brothers 18' Cape Fisherman, a perfect boat for those waters. One day we launched at Hooper's Island, MD and another day we began our trip out of Crisfield, MD.
Joey Grassett, from Seaford, DE, and Kirk Grassett, from Middletown, DE, with a Chesapeake Bay spotted sea trout double caught and released on flies in Tangier Sound.
We fished submerged stump fields, sod banks and grass flats in shallow water surrounding the many islands in the area. We had good action both days catching and releasing numerous striped bass (locally know as rockfish or stripers) and spotted sea trout on flies and jigs. It was great to have good action with trout! That area is at the northern extreme of the spotted sea trout's range. We caught more than 15 trout with many of them from 18" to 22". The larger stripers were about the same size and very scrappy. We also caught and released a couple of blues and 3 small reds.
Kirk Grassett, from Middletown, DE, caught and released this Tangier Sound striper on a Half & Half fly.
Wide profile Clouser and Half & Half (half Deceiver & half Clouser) flies accounted for most of the fish, including a Deceiver fished as a dropper with a jig on spinning tackle. Chartreuse, olive and gray over white all produced fish. My largest trout was a fat, 22" fish, caught and released on a gray over white Grassett Flats Minnow fly. Good action on light spinning tackle or 7 and 8-weight fly tackle! Although the water was shallow, fast sinking fly lines from 225 to 300-grains worked the best.
Capt. Rick Grassett with a fat, 22" spotted sea trout caught and released on a Grassett Flats Minnow fly while fishing Tangier Sound in Chesapeake Bay.
One of the highlights of the trips was a visit to historic Smith Island, MD. The island, located 13 miles west of Crisfield in Chesapeake Bay, is comprised of the villages of Tylerton, Ewell and Rhodes Point. We stopped in Tylerton where the primary mode of transportation is golf carts. An easy walking tour of the settlement took us past a tiny post office, a beautiful old church and the volunteer fire department. Some homes have a boardwalk from the cart path to their house to keep their feet dry on a high tide. We had a seafood lunch that was the real deal, crab cake and soft shell crab sandwiches, at the Drum Point Market (general store and grill)!
The island communities of Smith and Tangier Island, further south in Tangier Sound, are steeped in history. *British settlers arrived in the 17th century from Cornwall and Wales by way of Virginia. What began as farming communities, turned to the sea to make a living as the islands eroded, saltwater encroached and portions became submerged. Smith Island has lost 3300 acres of its land mass in the last 150 years. To prevent the island from being lost to erosion, restoration efforts will be ongoing for the next 50 years. The unique local dialect still has some surviving remnants of the dialect of the West Country of England. It also has similarities to dialects of other island communities in the Chesapeake Bay and Outer Banks regions. There is a tour boat that you can take you over to Smith and Tangier Islands from Crisfield. Worth a visit!
A crab house in the village of Tylerton, MD on Smith Island, in Chesapeake Bay.
Boardwalks connect many Smith Island, MD homes to cart paths and to each other to keep feet dry when the tide is high.
Back at home in Sarasota, fishing for false albacore (little tunny), Spanish mackerel and more in the coastal gulf should continue to get better as the water cools and baitfish schools become more concentrated. Although there have been reports of red tide from Blind Pass south into Charlotte and Lee counties, it is currently clear in Sarasota. Fish deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay for trout, Spanish mackerel, blues and more. Shallow water fishing for reds, trout and snook should also improve as it gets cooler.
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