|Fishing buddies now "Super" opponents
Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy and Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith were with the Tampa Bay Bucs in 2001 when they returned to Galati Marine in Anna Maria with a super catch after a day of deepsea fishing with Team Galati. Pictured are, back row, from left, Anthony Manali, James Dungy and Smith. Front row from left, are Wendell Avery, Chris Galati, Rich Gupton, Kevin Roland and then-Bucs head coach Dungy. Dungy and Smith will square off as opposing head coaches in SuperBowl XLI on Feb. 4.
Fishing action picks up, reds, trout, sheepies topping the list
Wacky weather has apparently turned on the fish. Cool-to-warm and wet-to-dry conditions have made the fish hungry, and good catches of redfish, trout and sheepshead abound in the backwaters.
Offshore fishing for grouper and snapper is about as good as it gets, with some reports of fine catches coming from as close as 4 miles from shore in the Gulf of Mexico.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he's putting his charters onto sheepshead and redfish from the backwater and mangrove snapper and grouper from the Gulf about 4 miles offshore of Anna Maria Island.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said sheepshead are the mainstay for fishers right now, although there are some good reports of redfish coming off the underwater structures and near the docks and piers. Offshore action for gag grouper and mangrove snapper is excellent, with most of the fish being caught in less than 100 feet of water in the Gulf.
At Corky's Live Bait and Tackle on Cortez Road, they report that the mixed-bag of weather -warm and cool, rain, sunshine, and gusts of winds - has produced some great fishing in the waters off Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and Longboat Pass. Good reports of big whiting, pompano, trout and sheepshead are being caught using live shrimp and/or Mr. Sheepshead's cooked sand fleas and Magic Potion. There is also good action coming from those using Black Salty's, a new brand of live bait, to catch redfish, trout and snook in the Manatee River and Palma Sola Bay.
Tom Cassetty at the Rod & Reel Pier said sheepshead are starting to bite a bit better in the past few days as the weather cooled, with some striped fish tipping the scales at better than 4 pounds. There were also a few whiting, pompano and bluefish caught at the pier.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said he's seeing good catches of sheepshead, a few black drum, bluefish, small mangrove snapper and some small redfish coming onto the deck.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he's hearing good reports of big trout - up to 24 inches in length - being caught in Terra Ceia Bay. The Manatee River is producing good catches of black drum and sheepshead, plus some oversize reds. Mangrove snapper to 20 inches are being caught in the ship channels in Tampa Bay as well.
At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include plus a few redfish coming out of Miguel Bay and snapper from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge area. There are also some big trout being caught with artificial bait in Miguel Bay.
Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams out of Catchers said he's catching lots of small bluefish, silver trout and whiting near the beaches, and a few large trout and some nice reds at Joe's Island. "Offshore," he said, "there were lots of big mangrove snapper on the wrecks in 110 feet of water and hitting on live shrimp."
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidhe took Richard Fluke and friends to a mixed catch of redfish, sheepshead, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and trout early last week. He also took Nancy and Jim Brill and Betsy Graf out to a nice catch of reds, trout, sheepshead and ladyfish, with most of the fish coming from the bays on a windy day. "The blues, mackerel and sheepshead were found mostly along the beaches," Capt. Zach said, "and the reds, trout, and ladyfish on the inside."
On my boat Magic, we've been catching sheepshead to 4 pounds, whiting, black drum, a few mangrove snapper, lots of small redfish and trout to 20 inches.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.