|Happy fishers all
Mitzi Mates, left, John Dovalla, Red Bailey, Kim West, Lynn Osborn and Bob Avery were all smiles with their catch from a day-long trip fishing offshore with Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters.
Just waiting for snook season to open Wednesday
Fishing for sheepshead remains the mainstay for inshore fishing, although there are some reports of good catches of black drum, trout and a few redfish.
Offshore action remains excellent for snapper and grouper, plus a few catch-and-release Goliath grouper tipping the scales to an estimated whopping 400 pounds.
And don't forget that snook season opens again Feb. 1.
Capt. Wayne Genthner of Wolfmouth Charters said "it's mangrove snapper madness out on Wolfmouth these days. Every snapper trip, day or night, out into the Gulf for the past two weeks has been a tremendous experience with every fisherman catching their limit on light tackle using live jumbo shrimp, cut thread herring and small live grunts as bait. Big goliath and gag grouper have been getting some of our snapper away from us, but it's always a thrill to accidentally hook into one of those 400-pound monsters even if they're too much fish for the tackle." He said his Sarasota Bay and Tampa Bay trips have been producing large and consistent catches of sheepshead, bluefish, ladyfish and a few feisty keeper grouper. "We're looking foreword to even better redfish catching and snook fishing with the return of the green-back shiners we've been noticing in north Sarasota Bay and around the passes," he added.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's been catching a few trout, redfish and a few snook from Terra Ceia Bay, using artificial bait.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said best bets inshore have proven to be sheepshead, plus some redfish, snapper, triggerfish and black drum. Offshore fishing is excellent for snapper and grouper.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina in Cortez said that fishing action "was fair to middlin' this past week. The 'yo-yo' weather is taking its toll on the inshore fishing, but when the winds die down the offshore fishing has been hot. If big ladyfish and bluefish are your bag, there was certainly enough going on to scratch your itch for pure sport. Skillet species were another story. Persistence would pay off with sheepshead, reds, trout and flounder, but I found it hard to get any sustained bite going with any one species other than blues and ladies. Snook come back into season on Feb. 1 and some nice fish may be taken by those patient enough to wait on the bite in backwater canals and bayous. If we continue with this two days of winter and two days of spring pattern, it is going to make things tough unless the conditions are optimum for a good bite."
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said fishing is a little slow there, with sheepshead being the best catch last week.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said anglers there are catching mostly sheesphead right now.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said there are lots of black drum coming from the railroad bridge in the Manatee River, plus some sheesphead are being caught in front of Terra Ceia Bay as well as mangrove snapper around the shipping channel near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
At Skyway Bait & Tackle, reports include lots of sheepshead coming off the artificial reefs in the bays and in the Gulf, as well as snapper, triggerfish and lots of grunts.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he's been putting his charters onto trout, sheepshead, snapper and a few redfish.
At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports include lots of inshore sheepshead catches, plus a few snook in the canals along the Island. Offshore action for grouper and snapper remains good.
At the Cortez Fishing Center, Capt. Jack Parker on the "Skinny M" took Bill Rolston from Toronto, Canada, to a nice catch of sheepshead up to 5 pounds and some black drum up to 3 pounds last week. Capt. Randall A. Fowler of the "Uncle Mudfish" has found fishing local canals to be very productive this week, catching sheepshead, trout, redfish and bluefish.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said that "strong winds and wild waves hindered us from getting some of our clients out fishing this past week. On the days that were fit for fishing our clients really had a great time catching a variety of fish, large gag grouper, some nice-sized red grouper, giant mangrove snapper, big yellowtail snapper, lane snapper, and we hooked into some cudas, blacktip shark and some reef sharks. Fishing is better out around 85 feet of water," he added, and he's using live pinfish, live Key West grunts, frozen Spanish sardines and live shrimp for the snapper.
On my boat Magic, we caught sheepshead to 5 pounds, a few pompano and a 5-pound trout.
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.