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Date of Issue: January 28, 2009

Cold chills fishing action around Anna Maria Island

Fishing pic
Happy group
Wayne Kimmel, left, is pictured with a big hogfish, Roy Leasure with two gag grouper, Tom King and Carl Pfirrman with their big amberjack, caught offshore with Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters. The party started the day catching gag grouper and mangrove snapper, finishing with big amberjack. Wayne’s hogfish was the catch of the day. The action took place in 125 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico off Anna Maria Island. The happy group is down for the winter from Russells Point, Ohio.

Bitter cold and strong winds definitely chilled fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and bays in the past few days. Few fishers braved the weather to get out on the water. Those hardy souls who did dip a line caught sheepshead, a few flounder and some trout in the bays. Offshore fishing for grouper, amberjack and snapper was also good for the few willing to chip the ice off the little shrimp legs to get the bait on a hook.

Snook are hunkered down in canals throughout the Island, but seem to be stunned by the cold and aren’t biting.

Danny Stasny at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said it’s been too cold for much fishing action. About the best of the bets has been snapper caught within 10 miles of the Island for Gulf anglers. Backwater fishers have been catching a few sheepshead and redfish, and trout are to be found near any dock lights at night. Those “snook lights” aren’t working unless they’re in canals, since linesiders seem to be hunkered down in the seawalled canals to get what warmth they can from the concrete. “It’s a little warmer in the canals,” he said, “but the snook are lethargic. One guy said he was throwing shrimp at them, and they were bouncing off the fish’s heads.”

At the Rod & Reel Pier, anglers are catching some sheepshead and a few flounder.

Rocky at the Anna Maria City Pier said things have been slow, with only a few sheepies and flounder coming on. “There’s no bait,” he said, “in fact, there’s no birds.”

Capt. Chris Seger on Titelines out of New Pass Bait and Tackle on City Island said he took a charter offshore over the weekend to about 65 feet of water in the Gulf and caught gag grouper to 34 pounds, real black grouper and mangrove snapper.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said fishing “really turned on after the coldest days of the year. In spite of the cold, we’re catching gag and red grouper, lots of mangrove, yellowtail and lane snapper, porgys and all the big amberjack you want to fight, with some guys on our trips tapping out. Unable to continue the fight, they pass the rod off to one of their buddies.” Capt. Larry said fishing should be great this week.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina said cold and wind kept him in port for the week, but the past weekend’s warming trend should produce some great fishing this week.

Good luck and good fishing.

Fishing news and photos are welcome and may be submitted to Paul Roat by e-mail at paul@islander.org.

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