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Date of Issue: November 01, 2007

Tarpon? In October? Go figure

Fishing pic
Jeff Perkins of New Hope, Minn., left, and Skip Murry of Salt Lake City, Utah, caught this pair of 40-pound "smoker" kingfish while on vacation on Anna Maria Island and fishing with Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me the Fish Charters.They were using live blue runners for bait in 65 feet of water.

Tarpon action off the north end of Anna Maria Island during October is almost unheard of - the silver kings are a spring thing in our waters - but they’re being sighted and hooked off the Anna Maria City Pier right now in the pre-dawn hours. Go figure.

Backwater action for trout, redfish and snook is still good.

Beach action for kingfish is also excellent, as are some shark catches.

And grouper and snapper remain a good bet offshore.

Derek Olson at the Rod & Reel Pier said fishers are catching a slew of sharks - lemon and blacktips - plus lots of snook at night. The sharks are running between 3 and 4 feet, he said, plus there is lots of snapper, big jacks and lots of bait, but no redfish to speak of.

Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said sharks are the big catch at the pier. Anglers hauled in a 7-foot-plus nurse shark last week, a 6-plus-foot bull shark, and blacktips. Weird stuff at the pier is tarpon, which are showing up between 4:30 a.m. and sunrise in surprising numbers. “This is the longest time they have been coming by the pier since I’ve been her for more than 3 years,” Jesus said. He’s also seeing anglers catching bonita and mackerel to 28 inches in length.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he’s hearing lots of good reports of trout and redfish coming out of Terra Ceia Bay, as well as some tarpon catches from around the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he’s bringing in some huge snook and redfish from the bays. Snook are running up to 32 inches, and reds at up to 24. Most of the snook, though, are small. “It’s like a snook lotto,” he said. “You catch a lot, but they aren’t in the grade. We caught 40 last Monday, but none were keepers. It’s a lot of fun, though.” He added that he’s also catching trout and flounder on the seagrass flats off Anna Maria Sound and in Palma Sola Bay. Big Spanish mackerel are coming off the beaches off the Island, he said, and he’s putting his charters onto sharks and bonita - “but they’re tackle-busters,” he said of the little tuna. The weather has also played havoc with the fishing, with it being uncommonly warm for late October, both water and air.

Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said he’s finding fishing to be excellent with falling water temperatures. “Kingfish are migrating through, following large bait schools,” he said, adding that there are “plenty of big Spanish mackerel and sharks are in the same areas. In the bay, there have been good numbers of reds and increasing numbers of snook.” He added that he’s catching some nice cobia up to 40 pounds on large pinfish.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina said that “by far and away the big action is on the Gulf beaches off Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. You don't have to venture far as there are kingfish ranging from juveniles up to respectable 30-pounders running in 20-30 feet of water, sometimes just yards from shore. There are also bonito, jumbo Spanish mackerel, sharks and cobia in the mix. One tarpon was jumped as well. There is plenty of bait available in all sizes. I try to get a bunch of smallish baits for chumming and toss larger pilchards, sardines and small pinfish to the toothy marauders. We have taken surprisingly large kings on small baits some days.” He said that the inshore picture is “about average. Snook are spread from the beaches to some that are staged up in and near their winter holes already. Most of the snook being caught are on the short side of the slot limit, but most are fat and healthy specimens. Redfishing continues hot and cold. There are not too many schooled bulls around, but middling to small reds can be found.The reds seem to be the thickest from the Manatee River and east along the south shore of Tampa Bay. Some quality trout fishing can be had all the way from Sarasota Bay north, fishing deep grassy areas.” He is also catching snapper, numerous gag grouper, bluefish, ladyfish, jacks and an occasional pompano.

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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