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Date of Issue: March 30, 2005

Fishing
Good catch
Jeanne Voshell of Bradenton brought back a nice catch of gag and red grouper, plus some Spanish mackerel while fishing with Capt. Larry McGuire.
Click on image to enlarge

Kingfish starting to show up; flounder action great

Snook are starting to move into the backwaters, and catches are getting bigger and bigger as the waters cool.

Look for more kingfish action offshore, too, and for flounder ... well, it's about as good as it's going to get right now.

Capt. Ray Markham on Flat Back II said he caught a good mix of snook, trout, and reds. He took Dick Bezousek on a half-day of fishing down in Terra Ceia and lower Tampa Bays and caught a number of nice trout over 20 inches, plus five redfish as well as a school of very large jack crevalle. While fishing with Roger Williams with fly gear in lower Tampa Bay later in the week, they saw at least 50 snook up to 12 pounds that would not eat Roger's fly patterns. Eventually they both hooked up with flounder, trout, snook and redfish, with two nice reds released, along with several dozen trout.

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he went out last Friday and caught snook to 27 inches, lots of small redfish up to 19 inches, trout to 20 inches and one gag grouper on the seagrass flats, all caught using artificial lures.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said offshore fishing remains steady, with grouper and snapper moving to shallower water. Kingfish are starting to show up, but it's not yet "full season" and he said about another week or two would be best for the best action on the really big kings. Inshore action for snook or reds is excellent right now, though.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me the Fish Charters said fishing has been "awesome," with good catches of gag and red grouper to 15 pounds, mangrove snapper to 6 pounds, Spanish mackerel to 5 pounds, plus lane snapper and sharks to five feet in length. He also put a charter onto a 4 1/2-foot-long kingfish.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said there are lots of black drum, some small flounder, mackerel and snook, but best action comes on the better tides.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said mullet are getting fat for castnetters. He's also seeing some good-size snook coming to the docks, plus excellent-sized trout until the season closed Nov. 1. There are also good catches of flounder being caught in Terra Ceia Bay, he added.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he's finding snook fishing to be at its peak right now, with some linesiders coming in at better than 40 inches in length. He's also putting his charters onto lots of redfish.

At the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Piers, the action is pretty much mackerel, small grouper, some snook and sharks at night, as well as pompano in the early morning. Snapper are either hit or miss at the piers, according to reports.

Capt. Hank Williams said he's putting his customers onto a few kingfish, but grouper fishing is his best bet, with some 30-pounders brought in, as well as lots of mangrove snapper.

Teresa Baranowski at Perico Island Bait and Tackle said highlights there include redfish, snook, flounder and trout.

Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said he's catching mackerel most days of late, plenty of redfish, a few cobia and - of course, now that the season has closed - trout fishing had really started to hit for him.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's said inshore action continues to be solid with snook to 37 inches, reds to 26 inches, lots of trout to 27 inches, and flounder starting to become more active. Spanish mackerel and bonita are also a good bet right now.

On my boat Magic I've found that snook are starting to move farther into the bays as the water cools. Kingfish are just starting to run and should be hitting offshore in the next few days. Flounder fishing is about as good as it gets in the backwaters, too.

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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