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Date of Issue: January 30, 2008

Good fishing except for that darn weather issue

Fishing pic
Gotta love those gags!
Pictured, from left, are Scott DeLone, David Talbot, Susie Talbot and Katie Campbell from Anna Maria Island with a nice catch of gag grouper caught using live pinfish in 100 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico, the result of the groupís first trip out in the Gulf, fishing with Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters.

Oh, it’s always the weather for fishers.

Last week was lousy, with lots of strong winds, rain and generally awful times on the water, keeping fishers close to the docks.

However, for those fearless ones, the backwater action for redfish and trout was good. Trout seem to be running a bit small, but plentiful.

Grouper, snapper and amberjack are also a good bet in the Gulf of Mexico, but expect it to be a bit rocky out there from the wind and waves.

From Annamae Lahay at Corky's Live Bait & Tackle on Cortez Road, the word is that the cooler weather has the fish moving into channels and canals. “Lots of redfish and trout are being caught on the flats of Palma Sola Bay and around the other bays,” Annamae said, with the best bait for the best catches coming from big shrimp. Off the beaches, fishers are catching lots of whiting, bluefish and Spanish mackerel, plus pompano. Go to the Manatee River for some catch-and-release snook, trout, black drum or redfish, again with shrimp as the bait of choice. Sheepshead are starting to hang out around pilings as the water temperatures cool, but the big action is from bonnethead sharks near the Intracoastal Waterway.

Capt. Sam Kimball, out of Annie’s Bait and Tackle inCortez, said his offshore fishing trips have featured grouper, mangrove snapper and amberjack. Capt. Mark Johnson of Annie’s said his backwater charters have brought in redfish, trout and catch-and-release snook, plus some sheepshead.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said inshore reports of redfish, trout and sheepshead have been excellent. Offshore action has been a bit tough, though, due to rough seas and high winds.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said offshore fishing picked up after a week of so-so action. He took a couple of charters out and caught gag grouper, red grouper, amberjack and snapper.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said action there was pretty much focused on sheepshead, redfish and catch-and-release snook.

Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said anglers were doing well with mackerel, sheepies, mangrove snapper and catch-and-release snook.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said redfish are the big catch, plus they saw a huge 7-pound sheepshead caught. There are also lots of bonnethead sharks being hooked in the Manatee River.

At Tropic Isles Marina, reports include a whole slew of small trout and some redfish.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidhe’s enjoyed some pretty decent action in north Sarasota Bay, Palma Sola Bay and Anna Maria Sound. “Lots of redfish have been caught,” he said. “Most are at the small end of the slot, but enough were from 18-24 inches to satisfy those wanting to fry some up. Trout has been the real surprise. Finally, a couple of years past the devastating red tides, spotted sea trout have made a huge comeback in the area. The bulk of these fish are not big, but there are plenty of them and they are spread across the area.” He’s also catching some pompano, flounder, jack, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, hefty ladyfish, mangrove snapper, black drum and some sheepshead.

On my boat Magic, weather kept us at the dock for most of the week, but we’re looking to get out on the water soon.

Good luck and good Fishing.

Capt. Mike Heistand is a 20-year-plus fishing guide. Call him at 723-1107 to provide a fishing report. Prints and digital images of your catch are also welcome and may be dropped off at The Islander, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, or e-mailed to news@islander.org. Please include identification for persons in the picture along with information on the catch and a name and phone number for more information. Snapshots may be retrieved once they appear in the paper.

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