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Date of Issue: November 24, 2005

Fishing
Fishing pic
Supersize that snook
Josh Zacharias of Wellfleet, Mass., caught a 42-inch snook while fishing with Capt. Zach.

Sheepsies start to invade bays, kings spotty in Gulf


Kingfish and Spanish mackerel are out in the Gulf of Mexico, but it appears to be a spotty run so far - some fishers report good action, others are finding the fishing disappointing. Seems to be the nature of the fishing action: Some good days, some bad.

Other offshore action includes good snapper catches in about 50 feet of water and some grouper and an occasional cobia.

Backwater fishing for snook is good from Sarasota Bay to Miguel Bay. Redfish are also a good bet, as are catch-and-release trout. Sheepshead are thick near any structures in the bays and especially good near the piers.

Bill Lowman of Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said snook fishing has been good of late, with the best action coming from near the mangrove islands in Sarasota Bay. Longbar Point is also a good spot to find the big linesiders, as well as redfish on the lower tides. Offshore fishing for snapper has been really hot, with some fish caught in about 50 feet of water going better than 5 pounds. There are also some nice-sized cobia coming back to the docks.

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he hammered the snook in Terra Ceia Bay last week, catching legal-size fish to 27 inches in length. He also caught a 20-plus pound grouper he released and lots of catch-and-release trout.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said anglers there are catching lots of sheepshead. Other than the sheepies, and despite the fact that there's plenty of bait moving around the pier, other fishing action is slow, he said.

Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said sheepies are the best bet at the pier, too, plus a few flounder catches and some drum, snapper and keeper-size snook.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he's hearing of a lot of small snook are being caught, with a few keepers mixed in. Snapper have apparently moved away from the dock for a while, but redfish and reds are being reeled in from just outside of the dock's channel.

At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports include redfish on the lower tides around Perico Island, plus some snook just outside of the marina's channel on higher tides. There have also been some catch-and-release trout hookups.

At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include lots of redfish being caught in Miguel Bay, with a good tip being to work the mullet schools for the big spotties. Shrimp or artificials are both working well for the reds. Mackerel have evaporated right now, it seems, but sheepshead appear to have invaded the Sunshine Skyway Bridge area.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's said he's seeing signs of a "good pelagic run going on. Numerous Spanish mackerel, cobia and some scattered kingfish catches have been made this week off Island beaches. There have also been sharks, grouper and huge ladyfish in the mix." Inshore angling for Capt. Zach is still producing some good snook, redfish and jack crevalle on whitebait, although shrimp have been the ticket for sheepshead and black drum.

On my boat Magic, we caught mangrove snapper to 20 inches, one cobia and several triggerfish offshore. In the backwater, we caught redfish and snook to 30 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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