Kings for a day
Doug Werther, left, and Mike Steach caught these two kingfish Saturday, Nov. 20, fishing about 13 miles off Longboat Key in about 60 feet of water. One kingfish weighed 28 pounds, while the other checked in at 20 pounds. State law limits a kingfish catch to one per person per day. Steach said there were probably hundreds of thousands of kingfish offshore making their annual migration south to warmer waters. Austin Morrow, 6, was passing by as the two were holding their kings and lent a hand with another catch by Werther and Steach: A nice-sized grouper. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin
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'Excellent' weather means 'excellent' fishing off Island
"Excellent" is the best word to describe fishing around Anna Maria Island right now.
Grouper and snapper are coming on strong offshore, and the fish are moving closer and closer to shore to make it easier for the recreational fishers to bring back a good catch.
Snook, redfish and flounder are still hungry in the backwaters of the bays.
Pier action is seeing a few mackerel, and the fish are also being caught off the beaches.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said his charters have caught snook to 28 inches and redfish to 24 inches using Mister Twister Exude lures in Terra Ceia Bay.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said offshore grouper fishing has been excellent, with most of the action coming in less than 100 feet of water and some catches coming in even closer to shore. Snapper fishing is also steady. Inshore action includes snook, sheepshead, redfish and flounder.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said fishers there are catching lots of red and black drum, yellowtail jacks to 15 pounds, sheepshead to 4 pounds, plus a few keeper-size snook.
Cliff Alcorn at the Anna Maria City Pier said anglers at the pier are finding sheepshead to be the best bet, as well as some mackerel on the good-moving tides, plus small grouper and flounder.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said reports of snook have been coming to the dock by boaters, some in the 30-inch range. Redfish action remains steady, and there are plenty of catch-and-release trout being caught as well. Mangrove snapper are pretty thick along the Sunshine Skyway Bridge channel, he added.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he's finding snook fishing to be pretty good right now, with linesiders starting to move into the bays. He's getting some snook to 30 inches, plus lots of redfish.
Teresa Baranowski the Perico Island Bait and Tackle reports there are good-size trout, some redfish, sheepshead and lots of flounder being caught and brought back to her dock.
At the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Piers, fishers are catching some nice-sized grouper as well as sheepshead, mackerel and flounder.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's Bait & Tackle in Cortez said he's getting good results with snook, reds and flounder in the backwaters. Along the shore, mackerel, a few kingfish and cobia are a good bet, and he added that fishing is "excellent right now."
On my boat Magic, we've been trolling offshore and caught several grouper to 10 pounds, plus snook to 30 inches inshore as well as reds to 27 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 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.