Christopher Galati Jr., right, got some help from Peter Rothery in holding up his first-ever kingfish caught about 10 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.
It all lies in water temps right now for best action
What a difference a week makes - or a few degrees in temperature.
Last week's kingfish run was going strong until the water temperatures jacked it up a couple notches and the king action became lame. With the projected cooler weather this week, perhaps the run will scoot closer to shore.
Mackerel are also starting to move out, although snook are still along the beaches and waiting for the cooler water to move into the backwaters.
Redfish action is the best bet in the bays right now, though, as the warmer weather is seeming to really turn 'em on in big schools. There are also some good reports of black drum to the north of the Island, and big flounder are coming in, too.
Offshore grouper and snapper action appears to be migratory depending on the water temps; warmer water, farther offshore. When the water cools, look for the big fish to creep closer to the Island.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said best bets there include snook, redfish, snapper, black drum, plus some sheepshead are starting to show up around the pilings.
Cliff Alcorn at the Anna Maria City Pier said snapper and snook are really starting to snap at night and in the early morning hours. Although yellowtail jacks and a few flounder are still a good bet at almost any time, Cliff sadly reports that the mackerel action is moving offshore and away from the pier for a while.
Capt. Sam Kimball on Legend charters out of Annie's Bait & Tackle in Cortez said he's putting his charters onto kingfish to 20 pounds offshore, with mackerel to 5 pounds. He's finding snapper fishing to be great, with catches to 5 pounds, plus triggerfish, banded rudderfish and gag grouper to 12 pounds, with the grouper coming onto the hooks in about 50 feet of water.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's still finding a few mackerel off the beaches, but small snook, lots of small redfish to 22 inches in length, and catch-and-release trout to 21 inches were the bulk of his charters' catches last week.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said that darned Gulf and bay water warmed back up just when the kings were starting to move, and kingfish action slowed as a result. He's still hearing good reports of Spanish mackerel off the beaches, though, and backwater anglers are still slaying the redfish with some schooling fish going better than 35 inches in length. Snook fishing is still slow, but the bigger linesiders seem to be hanging out by the beaches. Flounder are starting to get big and hungry, Bill said, and he reminds us all that trout season is closed for the rest of the year.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said big black drum, some up to 30 pounds, are being caught in the cut. Other action from his docks include big snook Ñ which don't seem to come onto a hook Ñ although redfish are a good bet in Miguel Bay.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said snook fishing "could be better," but he's still putting his charters onto some good-sized linesiders on every trip. Mackerel action has slowed for Capt. Rick, but he's still getting into lots and lots of redfish.
Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said he's finding he has to catch 20 snook to get one of keeper size. Sounds like fun to me, although he's expecting to move into the backwaters any day now to get into a slew of those keepers and beyond. He's still doing excellent with redfish, though.
On my boat Magic, we have been targeting redfish all week, reeling in better than 70 fish up to 35 inches. We've also caught catch-and-release trout to 21 inches and one 21-inch-long flounder.
Good luck and good fishing.
Capt. Mike Heistand is a 20-year fishing guide. Call him at 779-9607 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.