Island fishing doesn't get much better than this
Excellent fishing has been reported by both inshore and offshore anglers in the past week, with expectations of even better catches ahead.
In the backwaters, snook are big and hungry and coming on strong to both shrimp and artificial lures. Mangrove snapper are still to be found along the Intracoastal Waterway, and flounder catches are picking up by the day.
Offshore action for grouper and snapper is also terrific, but the best catches are coming from about 45 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said offshore fishing is fair to excellent right now, with good catches of grouper and snapper coming in as well as some big amberjack, all caught in about 150 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico. “This has been one of the best years ever for mangrove and American red snapper,” Bill noted. Backwater fishing for redfish is also great near Long Bar Point in Sarasota Bay and near the Perico Island shoreline. Mangrove snapper action continues to be good along the Intracoastal Waterway, and flounder are finally starting to make a good showing.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said snook fishing is excellent right now, with linesiders making their move into the back bays near the mangroves. He's caught some fish up to 34 inches in length. He's also been able to limit-out on redfish on almost every trip.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said anglers have been catching a few snook, some snapper and whiting, plus mackerel and a couple of sheepshead.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said fishers there have also caught a few good-size snook, plus redfish, mackerel, mangrove snapper and whiting. Whitebait has finally started to show up around the dock, and fishing has improved as a result.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's been putting his charters onto snook redfish and trout using Mr. Twister Exudes. For some reason, he's doing better wading than fishing from his boat in the past few trips.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said whitebait are all over Terra Ceia Bay, and there are good reports of redfish and snook in the whitebait waters. Mackerel have finally started to show up again in Tampa Bay ,and there are lots of flounder coming onto the dock from bay fishers.
At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports include redfish near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and in Perico Bayou, with the best hookups coming from using shrimp as bait. Snook are lurking around the docks and seawalls in the bays, and whitebait is starting to show up again in the passes, although artificials seem to be working well for snook hunters.
At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include good catches of redfish off Joe's Island, with the best hookups coming on Exudes in the darker colors. Mackerel have also made a belated appearance around the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Mangrove snapper are also to be found, and caught, in the ship channel in Tampa Bay, with some fish stretching to 16 inches. The shop also now has a full line of tackle.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said he's finding fishing to be good offshore, putting clients onto gag grouper to 20 pounds, red grouper, scamp, mangrove snapper and yellowtail snapper in about 110 feet of water.
On my boat Magic, I took Lewis Christman of Terra Ceia out last week and caught several redfish to 28 inches, trout to 17 inches, flounder to 18 inches and some small snook.
Good luck and good Fishing.
Capt. Mike Heistand is a 20-year-plus "ishing guide. Call him at 723-1107 to provide a "ishing report. Prints and digital images o" your catch are also welcome and may be dropped o"" at The Islander, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include identi"ication "or persons in the picture along with in"ormation on the catch and a name and phone number "or more in"ormation. Snapshots may be retrieved once they appear in the paper.