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Date of Issue: March 30, 2005

Fishing
Prize catch, and how
Team Galati and Capt. Chris Galati took first place and $5,000 in the past weekend's De Soto Fishing Tournament with some big, big fish, including one that has tournament officials researching the record books for the largest catch of any area tourney, a 151-pound Warsaw Grouper. The team unloaded with a forklift and broke the scale, literally, adding on two more possible tourney records, a 30-pound American Red Snapper and a 54-pound Wahoo, among their catch. The team fished for two and a half days, 90 miles out in 400 feet of water. Chris said he'd been fishing tournaments here since he was 13 and this was his first local win. "It felt good," he said. With the catch at Galati Marine, front row, left to right, Jared Jenkins, Galati and Anthony Manali. Back row, left to right, Wayne Harris, Jason Lozeau and Rhet Behrens. Islander Photo: Courtesy Galati Marine
Click on image to enlarge

Fishing picks up after summer hurricane travails

Fishing has improved 100 percent in the past week, thanks to what may be the first hurricane-free weekend in what feels like a long summer/fall.

Redfish are starting to school and are big. Snook are also huge and hungry and both are the best bets right now.

Offshore fishing is again possible, and grouper and snapper are good bets.

Kudos to Chris Galati for taking a first at the DeSoto Fishing Tournament last weekend, by the way.

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he went out a few times last week and caught redfish to 24 inches, snook to 27 inches and trout to 20 inches, with artificial bait working the best for him.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said things are getting back to normal after all the storms, with good reports coming in of schooling redfish in Anna Maria Sound and Sarasota Bay, as well as big snook being caught around Sister Keys. There are lots of mackerel hookups off the beaches of the Island, Bill said, and now that the offshore boats are able to make it offshore, there are a lot of grouper and mackerel coming back to shore, caught from the 110-foot depths in the Gulf of Mexico.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said the water is starting to clear and the fish are starting to come back to the pier, plus bait. Snook and redfish are a good bet at night, and there are also some black drum lurking around.

Cliff Alcorn at the Anna Maria City Pier said there are good catches of snook at night, plus snapper, a few mackerel, some big jacks and small sharks.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said black drum have been caught in the cut in the past few days. The water is clearing daily from all the stormwater runoff, he said, and there are good catches of snook, trout and there are "tons" of whitebait by the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier systems.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said snook fishing has improved immensely in the past week, with some linesiders approaching the 30-inch length. Limit catches of redfish are being brought back on almost every trip, but he's finding trout action to be somewhat slow, but getting better daily.

Theresa Baronwoski the Perico Island Bait and Tackle said that some big trout are being caught by Gilligan's Island off Perico Island, plus big snook and redfish in Palma Sola Bay, as well as good catches of mullet.

Capt. Ray Markham said he and wife Becca fished the Tampa CCA All-Release Challenge, and caught 18 snook between 18 and 25 inches, three keeper-size redfish and about a dozen trout. "We didn't do well, but redfish and snook catches were awesome" with good numbers of legal fish in the 20-to 23-inch size range. Snook numbers were good but sizes overall were not. He said good numbers of fish were caught, but overall sizes were down for this tournament. Capt. Ray added that he will talk at the Florida Sportsman Fishing Show in Tampa Oct. 9-10 at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

On my boat Magic we only made it out once last week and caught redfish to 30 inches, snook to 27 inches and trout to 20 inches. Good bait is available at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, by the way.

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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