Admittedly, Florida, is full of star studded angling destinations that feature diverse and numerous gamefish. Sarasota is one of the biggest jewels that grace the Sunshine State's vacation crown with a vast habitat that features brackish creeks and middle waters all the way out to the open Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, the city proper and its surrounding environment has such a wealth of fine dining, chic shops, historic settings and hip but posh island communities that will keep off-duty anglers as well as their non-angling families and friends busy and immersed for days.
Here's a lineup of Sarasota's prime angling habitats.
There are plenty of tucked away creeks that are etched well into the mainland and have plenty of snook for the taking. One such spot is Phillippi Creek. These spots are at their best during dawn and dusk and are excellent places for topwater plugs worked around the dock pilings and seawalls.
Between the barrier islands and the mainland are three superb bays: Roberts, Little Sarasota and Sarasota Bays. There is always a section of these bays fishable in all but the worst weather. The diversity of fish in this section of Sarasota is astonishing and includes sheepshead, seabass, redfish, mackerel, bluefish, seatrout, ladyfish, pompano and snook. The most universal natural bait in these parts is live shrimp while the best lure is often a D.O.A. paddletail soft plastic lure.
Beaches and Near Shore
All of the barrier islands like Siesta Key, Lido Key and Longboat Key offer excellent sightfishing for snook right in the surf during the summer months. A small white bucktail will do the trick nicely, but be sure to "lead" these moving fish while casting. When the fall season brings the baitfish migration, be sure to hop a motor vessel or kayak and head a couple hundreds offshore to get in on the blitz. There'll be loads of mackerel and bonito to make your drag scream. You can still use a small white bucktail but be sure to add a light wire trace for leader material.
There are some wrecks a mile or two offshore that have good permit fishing in the summer. If you are sure the weather will be good and you are safe, you can venture far into the Gulf of Mexico for bottom-dwelling large grouper and snapper and big kings that inhabit the middle and surface waters.
Things to Do
If you want charter services out of a well-appointed skiff, Captain Rick Grassett and the other great guides of CB's Saltwater Outfitters are there to serve you.