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Date of Issue: November 30, 2006

Fishing

Fishing pic
From a kayak?
Shaun Duytschaver of Holmes Beach caught this 7-foot-long bull shark from his 9-foot-long kayak while fishing near Egmont Key last week. He bulled the big shark to the beach near the Rod & Reel Pier in Anna Maria for this picture, then released the fish.

Kingfish run gathers speed offshore in Gulf of Mexico

The kingfish run is starting, and based on early reports, it should be a good one.

Grouper fishing offshore is excellent as well, with the fish starting to move closer to shore as the water cools.

Backwater anglers are catching lots of redfish, black drum and snook, although the snook seem to be tucked away into their winter holes in the warmer spots of the bays.

Sheepshead fishing is also starting to pick up by the docks and piers.

At Corky's Bait and Tackle, reports include lots of redfish catches, plus black drum, mangrove snapper and a few pompano coming from the canals.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said the kingfish run was in full swing last week, with most of those trying to catch them being successful. Grouper fishing offshore remains excellent, and the fish are starting to move closer to shore as the water cools. Snook have mostly moved into their winter haunts - canals and other areas where the water stays a bit warmer.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidhis charters were enjoying big action with numerous Spanish mackerel, bluefish and a few kingfish to 20 pounds along local beaches before the big cold front moved through last week. All catches were taken with live whitebait over reefs and hard bottom from the beach out to 40 feet of water. "On the inside we have been doing well with redfish, mostly small, snook to 28 inches, sheepshead, a handful of good-sized catch-and-release trout, flounder, snapper, jacks and ladyfish," he said. "Even though we had abundant whitebait to chum with, the inshore fish preferred shrimp. With air temperatures forecast in the 40- to 50-degree range for the next week, the water temperatures should drop into the 60s, bringing on a winter pattern and probably bringing the big push of kingfish through the area."

Tom at the Rod & Reel Pier said fishers there are catching sheepshead on crabs, plus a few small redfish, lots of black drum on shrimp, some keeper-size snook, mackerel and some 20-inch-long flounder.

Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said snook are being caught there, mostly at night, and mackerel are a good bet in the morning. Other action includes sheepshead and some big black drum.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he's hearing lots of good things about redfish catches in Terra Ceia Bay, black drum coming out of the Manatee River, mangrove snapper by the docks and some keeper-size snook.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he's putting his charters onto lots of keeper-size mackerel, big grouper offshore, plus a few small kingfish. Sheepshead and redfish were a good bet in the backwaters, he added.

At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include redfish catches in Miguel Bay and near Joe's Island, mackerel around the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay, and legal-size grouper caught while trolling the ship channels.

On my boat Magic, we caught Spanish mackerel and kingfish last week. The macks were big; the kings small. In the backwater, we caught reds to 26 inches, black drum to 10 pounds, some small snook and a few mangrove snapper to 15 inches.

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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