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Date of Issue: November 22, 2007

Reds in bays, grouper moving closer to shore

Fishing pic
Fish from afar
JoAnn Fumerelle and fiancee Anthony Manali Jr. caught these twin 30-pound king salmon while vacationing in Alaska.

Redfish are the best bet in the backwater right now, with snook coming in a good second-place catch. Flounder are also a good bet as a good catch.

Offshore action on mackerel and kingfish, plus amberjack, also are wonderful now, as are grouper, although most reports of snapper are coming in slow.

And Severin Dufour caught a 30-inch tarpon off the bayfront dock at Imperial House in Bradenton Beach. Dufour is from Quebec City, and was amazed at his catch.

Capt. Sam Kimball, out of Annie’s Bait & Tackle on Cortez Road, said he’s putting his charters onto grouper, snapper, kingfish, amberjack, banded rudderfish, triggerfish and mangrove snapper. Capt. Mark Johnson, also out of Annie’s, said his backwater charters are bringing in snook, redfish, mackerel, snapper and some big trout.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said redfish are the best bet for inshore fishers right now, but snook and out-of-season trout are also biting. He’s hearing some good reports of big flounder being caught as well. Offshore action is all grouper, with snapper action a bit slow. Gag and red grouper are moving closer to shore, with most of the catches in 50 to 100 feet depths. Bill said that kingfish have also been a good catch this month.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said anglers there are catching mackerel, sheepshead, small redfish, a few snapper a some snook.

Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said fishers were doing well with catches of mackerel, flounder, jacks, sheepshead, snook — mostly at night — and a few small sharks.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said good-size snapper are hanging around his dock, and sheepshead are starting to show up. The big ticket item, though, is redfish: one boater said they caught more than 30 while fishing in Palma Sola Bay last week.

At Tropic Isle Marina, reports are that small tarpon that were in the yacht basin have moved out, but mullet have moved in to take up the space. Redfish up to 25 inches are being brought to the dock, and mackerel are still a good bet offshore.

Capt. Alan Engle said he’s been catching lots of snook, with shrimp working the best for him as bait, with pinfish as a backup rather than whitebait.

Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said there are still a few big kingfish around the bait out in the 10-12 mile range. He’s catching lots of little tuna and some Spanish mackerel in the same areas, as well as some nice-size mangrove snapper and grouper, which he’s finding are moving to more shallow depths. “Reds and snook are more active in the evenings, and hitting around lighted areas,” he added.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said he took 15-year-old Casey Jago out last week and put him onto his largest red grouper caught 30 miles offshore of Anna Maria Island using a live pinfish. Capt. Calvin Brannen,  Casey Jago, Joe Jago and Owen Jago also were chartered last week and caught gag and red grouper and kingfish. “We were fishing about 30 miles offshore of Anna Maria Island,” Capt. Larry said, “and this was a special trip for the Jago family. Joe is a sargeant in the U.S. Army. Sgt. Joe finished two tours in Iraq. While in Iraq, Joe was in three different HumVs that were blown up. On the last attack his Hummer was blown completely up in the air. Joe survived, but his three buddies did not make it. Joe Jago received a Purple Heart. Joe came home last March and is now going to school to become a firefighter/EMT. This fishing trip was special in honoring Joe for what he has done for our country.” Other action for Capt. Larry includes good catches of gag and red grouper, scamp, mangrove snapper, kingfish to 25 pounds and lots of small grouper.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidthat last week started out with plenty of mackerel, king mackerel, bonito, sharks and such in the Gulf. “At the end of the week, a pretty hard norther came through and probably put an end to that action until next spring,” he said. “There may be some stray Spanish mackerel and some decent cobia action between now and Christmas, but it looks like sheepshead season is fast upon us,” he continued. On the inshore front, he’s doing well with reds, snook, mangrove snapper and flounder. He added that he took Rick and Matt Fuchs from Ohio out on a cold and windy Friday and caught small redfish in a variety of protected locations, plus a couple of snook, “and one of the largest flounder I have seen in nearly two years. Before the front, the same pair of anglers cleaned up on some really decent mangrove snapper, and caught a pair of 35 inch cobia.” He added that he’s also catching bluefish, bar jacks, triggerfish and a slew of not-quite-legal gag grouper.

On my boat Magic, we’re catching lots of redfish on the lower tides, plus snapper and 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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