Kings continue to reign offshore; macks everywhere, too
|Joselin Presswood, 11, of Bradenton, caught this keeper redfish on a bayfront dock while fishing in the early morning with her Aunt Kendra Presswood of Holmes Beach. The fish was 20 inches in length and Joselin caught it on her first cast using Gulp bait. And it was Joselinís second time fishing and her first-ever catch. Islander Photo: Bonner Joy
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters caught this 40-pound Kingfish on a live Cigar minnow last week. He was fishing 12 miles offshore of Anna Maria Island in the Gulf of Mexico. Other fish caught on the tirp were grouper and snapper.
Mackerel are to be found and hooked almost everywhere right now: offshore, nearshore, in the passes and throughout the bays.
Kingfish are also doing their fall run offshore, with lots of catches of big fish being reported with a few miles of shore in the Gulf of Mexico. Grouper and snapper offshore are also in the “good to excellent” category.
Snapper fishing continues to be great.
Redfish, snook and trout are coming from the backwater areas around Anna Maria Island. Some of the linesider catches are too big for the slot limit and are being released after putting up a fine fight.
Capt. Sam Kimball out of Annie’s Bait & Tackle on Cortez Road said his offshore trips are putting his charters onto kingfish, mackerel, grouper and snapper.
Capt. Mark Johnston of Annie’s said his backwater charters are producing big redfish and snook.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said offshore fishing is starting to change — change for the better. Mackerel and kingfish are thick offshore of the Island. Grouper fishing is excellent, with the best catches coming from 100-foot depths in the Gulf. Snapper are thick offshore, too. For backwater anglers, there are plenty of keeper-size snook and big redfish are starting to school offshore.
Dave Sork at the Anna Maria City Pier said fishers there have been catching mackerel, drum and snapper.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said anglers at the pier are reeling in redfish, snapper, drum and lots of mackerel.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said reports on big snapper are about as numerous as the size of the catch. Redfish to 24 inches in length are being landed in Terra Ceia Bay, Dave said, and there are also lots of snook outside of the slot limit being caught and released. One fisher caught and released an estimated 85-pound Goliath grouper near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge last week, he said.
At Tropic Isles Marina, reports include lots of trout coming out of Terra Ceia Bay, as well as lots of small sharks.
Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams said kingfish action was good in 40 to 60 feet of water over hard bottom and around big schools of bait in the Gulf. He’s also finding big Spanish mackerel near any structure in the bay, and snook under the lights at night. Snapper are still biting around the wrecks and bridges, he said, with small shiners working well for bait.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said that he’s finding fishing to be great offshore of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. “We’re catching gag and red grouper, big mangrove and yellowtail snapper, cobia, kingfish, Spanish mackerel up to 5 pounds, amberjack and lots of sharks,” he said. He took Nick Marks of Atlanta, Ga., out last week to a catch all of the above species plus a 2-pound hog snapper. His best catch of the week, though, came when Roy Padgett, manager of the Hilton on Longboat Key, caught a 55-pound kingfish 2 miles offshore using a live Cigar minnow. His best grouper action is in water depths of 90 feet or more, with kings coming on closer to the beach.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidhe took Jim Beardslee from Decatur, Ala., and Geno Linn from Bradenton out early last week and they “tore up a bunch of school-size kingfish to 15 pounds, jumbo Spanish mackerel and bonito on whitebait and ballyhoo less than a mile off the beaches of Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island. Their catch was pretty much indicative of the action on local beaches for more than a week now. Toward the end of the week, the action slowed somewhat but should bounce back after the passage of the next front.” Capt. Zach said the duo also nailed some slot-size redfish, mangrove snapper and a few fat flounder in the Anna Maria Sound area. Other catches from north Sarasota Bay, Palma Sola and Anna Maria Sound include redfish, spotted sea trout and flounder. “Snook are moving into the backwater now, and can be cooperative when the tide and weather conditions are right, but overall they have not really gotten in gear for a pre-winter feeding spree as yet,” he said. “Mullet are at their peak for eating right now, and the local bays are literally paved with them,” he added, “and I saw a large school of tarpon off the beaches, but we were unsuccessful in getting them to cooperate with a hookup.”
On my boat Magic, we spent the week fishing Pine Island Sound. We caught limit catches of redfish on most trips, plus lots of small mangrove snapper. The highlight came with a 34-inch snook and a 32-incher, plus two that were even bigger that were hooked but lost. I even caught a 60-pound tarpon, which jumped a half-dozen times before breaking the 10-pound test line I was using.
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.