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Date of Issue: March 30, 2005

Fishing
Kim Hillcrest of Bradenton caught this 40-pound cubera snapper while fishing with Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters.
Click on image to enlarge

Cooler water means hungry fish off Anna Maria Island

Fall fishing is in high gear right now, with cooler water temperatures apparently making the fish frisky and hungry.

Backwater action includes lots of big redfish and snook, plus some really large flounder.

Cobia and kingfish are starting to move into the area and will only increase in numbers as the weather continues to cool.

Offshore action for grouper and snapper remains excellent on the days the winds die down to allow anglers to get out to the holes.

And don't forget that stone crab season started last Friday. Love them claws!

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he took Keith Plant out one day last week and caught redfish to 25 inches using Mister Twister artificial rigs.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said a few kingfish were caught last week, with the fall run expected to make its approach to the Island as the week passes. Grouper fishing offshore is excellent and cobia are starting to hit. In the bays, redfish are still a plentiful and popular target.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said action there includes snook, mackerel, some legal-size grouper, small blacktip sharks up to 5 feet long, plus some sheepshead. One of the linesiders was better than 33 inches in length, Bob added.

Cliff Alcorn at the Anna Maria City Pier said pier fishers are catching small sharks, some snook at night, and a few flounder and mackerel are starting to show up.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said big snook to 40 inches are being caught in Terra Ceia Bay, plus some nice-sized trout from in front of Miguel Bay. Sharks to 5 feet are being caught west of Terra Ceia Bay, and flounder are starting to make their fall showing.

Capt. Hank Williams said his charters caught kingfish, grouper and mangrove snapper in the Gulf last week. Water temps are in the 75-degree range, and he's found that kingfish action really starts to kick in when the water is about 72 degrees - any day now!

Teresa Baranowski at Perico Island Bait and Tackle said she's seeing nice-size trout come up to the docks, some to 20 inches, plus redfish from the seagrass flats and a few keeper-size snook out of Palma Sola Bay.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said he has been putting his clients on cubera snapper to 40 pounds, red snapper to 7 pounds, gag grouper to 20 pounds, red grouper to 15 pounds, mangrove snapper to 7 pounds, plus several yellowtail snapper, cobia, and small kingfish. He has been fishing 15 to 40 miles out using live pinfish and frozen sardines as bait, and added that "fishing is the best since the hurricanes passed through."

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's Bait & Tackle in Cortez said fishing is excellent right now, with good catches of snook to 30 inches in length, redfish to 27 inches, trout to 20 inches, big mangrove snapper, some kingfish and cobia, with the last two species expected to get hungrier as the week proceeds.

On my boat Magic, we've caught some nice-sized trout to 20 inches, redfish to 27 inches, snook to 28 inches and are catching lots of keeper-size flounder.

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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