Good fishing offshore for kings, inshore for reds
Donna Renzetti of Lakewood Ranch caught this nice-sized kingfish while fishing with Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me the Fish Charters. Capt. Larry said it was her biggest ever catch.
It’s that time of year when the fishing is all dependent on the weather. Calm days, go out in the Gulf of Mexico and catch a slew of kingfish, snapper, mackerel or amberjack.
Rough weather, plan to stay close to shore in the bays and catch redfish, snook, flounder or some catch-and-release trout.
Regardless of the weather, the fishing remains good either inside our out in the Gulf.
Capt. Thom Smith out of Annie’s Bait & Tackle on Cortez Road said water temperatures have dropped in the past few weeks, even though daytime highs of more than 80 degrees are coming in. Snook, especially, seem to be reacting to the temperature change, Capt Thom said. “Nature is telling them that they need to position themselves closer to their winter haunts for protection when it really cools down,” he advised. “Snook are a semi-tropical fish that prefers warmer water conditions. They thrive when the water temperature is 70 degrees and higher and begin to have problems when temperatures drop. When it gets that low, their metabolism slows down and they drop into the deeper dark-bottom areas to ride out the winter. They still feed, but they are not going to exert a lot of energy chasing bait or fast moving lures when the cold weather comes.” He’s finding redfish just the opposite, as a more cold-hardy species, with good action right now over the darker mud or seagrass areas.
Capt. Thom also said he’s catching Spanish mackerel in Tampa Bay, kingfish offshore, plus a few cobia.
Capt. Sam Kimball, also out of Annie’s, said he’s catching excellent catches of kingfish, mackerel, grouper, snapper, triggerfish and amberjack in his offshore charters.
Capt. Mark Johnson of Annie’s said his backwater charters are good with keeper-size snook, redfish, a few out-of-season trout that are, of course, released, plus sheepshead.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said that fishing is hot right now, even if the water temps are not, with lots of red and black grouper coming in from offshore, some up to 30 pounds. Snapper to 6 pounds are also being caught in the Gulf, some just 12 miles out from the Island. Kingfish are still moving through, too. For the backwaters, look for snook, redfish and black drum.
Tom Cassetty at the Rod & Reel Pier said sheepshead are the No. 1 angler catch right now, as well as flounder, a few snapper and some big snook to 32 inches. He’s also seeing some red and black drum being reeled into the dock.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said fishers are catching mackerel, snapper and snook.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he’s seeing lots of snapper off the dock, and seeing some big snook coming out of Terra Ceia Bay, plus some black drum from the Manatee River.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said Donna Renzetti of the Lakewood Ranch fishing club caught a nice-kingfish while out in the Gulf last week — the largest fish she ever caught. “We were fishing 30 miles offshore of Anna Maria Island using a sardine on a flatline,” he added.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina said weather allowed us to get out in the Gulf for some pretty hot action with big Spanish mackerel, bonito and king mackerel. “Thursday brought another cold front that kicked the Gulf up a lot and kept us inshore,” he said, “where the action was not exactly off the charts. A combination of a full moon, cold front and poor daytime tides put a damper on the bay fishing.” He did take out the Biddle family from Rye, N.Y., for their annual Turkey Day outing. They caught big mackerel, kingfish, redfish, flounder, mangrove snapper and small gag grouper. Capt. Zach predicts that with forecasts of warmer and calmer weather should come a stall in winter fishing patterns.
On my boat Magic, we’ve been fishing pretty much every day and catching a lot of redfish to 27 inches, plus snapper to 17 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.