|Ranch goes fishing
The Lakewood Ranch fishing team/club went with Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters last week for their monthly offshore fishing trip. Pictured, from left, are Dick Franz, Chris Coffin, Jim Mallo, Red Baily, Joe Dovener and Steve Gooch with their catch of gag and red grouper and mangrove snapper.
Good fishing catches both inshore and off
Water clarity is superb right now, making for a pretty day on the water.
Backwater action is good for redfish, trout, flounder and catch-and-release snook.
Look for the passes and near the beaches for some bluefish, whiting and pompano.
Offshore fishing in the Gulf of Mexico is great for grouper, snapper, amberjack and even some mackerel.
At Corky's Live Bait & Tackle on Cortez Road, fishers appeared to be few, fish caught light due to weird weather, but all that changed by mid-week as the weather improved. Palma Sola Bay is producing lots of redfish, flounder and trout. Sarasota Bay and the nearshore Gulf waters are providing snook, redfish, trout, snapper, whiting, pompano and bluefish with live bait. Manatee River fishers are catching flounder, trout, redfish and some Spanish mackerel near the docks.
Capt. Thom Smith said his charters have been catching redfish, trout and catch-and-release snook on artificial baits. Most of the fish are running a little small, but he was still able to reel in some keepers.
At Annie's Bait and Tackle in Cortez, Capt. Sam Kimball said he's catching gag grouper to 10 pounds, banded rudderfish, mangrove snapper, porgies, triggerfish and lane snapper. Capt. Mark Johnson said his backwater charters are catching sheepshead, redfish, trout and a few catch-and-release snook.
Tom Cassetty at the Rod & Reel Pier said water off the dock is exceptionally clear right now, but the fish "bite" is a bit slow. Action included some sheepshead, whiting and a few keeper-size flounder.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said anglers there were catching a few mackerel, jacks, sheepshead, flounder and black drum.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said some really big sheepies are coming out of the Manatee River, snapper by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay, and a few oversize reds from the seagrass flats. A couple of youthful anglers brought in 27-inch and 24-inch grouper caught in the nearshore waters.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he's catching mackerel and snapper offshore and reds and sheepshead in the backwaters, as well as bluefish and pompano near the beaches.
At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include legal-size grouper trolling the ship channel near the Skyway. Snapper are being caught by the bridge, too, and small redfish are a good bet in and around Miguel Bay.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said he's been having some great offshore trips. Catches include gag and red grouper, mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, hog snapper, amberjack, triggerfish and scamp, with the best action coming in about 120 feet of water. "We are using live pinfish and grunts as bait," he added.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidhe took the Hamilton family out to "a decent catch of sheepshead to 4 pounds off the beaches of Anna Maria, plus redfish to 20 inches in north Sarasota Bay and speckled trout to 21 inches in the Anna Maria Sound/Palma Sola Bay area. Live shrimp fished on a low, incoming tide produced most of the action, and we witnessed a massive school of non-cooperative snook in the vicinity of Longboat Pass."
On my boat Magic, we've been catching lots of sheepshead up to 6 pounds, and are hooking up with more than 20 on every trip. We also caught some keeper-size reds and legal-size catch-and-release snook.
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.