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Date of Issue: February 09, 2006

Fishing
Fishing pic
A first!
Mitch Houston of Ontario, Canada, with his first ever gag grouper caught with Larry McGuire of Show Me the Fish Charters.

Sheepshead rule in local fishing action; grouper good offshore


Fishing has slowed down a bit in the past few days, although there are still excellent snapper and grouper catches coming out of the Gulf of Mexico in less than 100 feet of water.

Backwater action is pretty much focused on those tasty sheepshead, with a few redfish, trout and a couple of big snook thrown into the mix.

At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports include a few redfish caught near the rocks in Palma Sola Bay, some trout on the seagrass flats, but most of the action is sheepshead near the bridges and piers in the bays.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he caught some redfish in Palma Sola Bay and sheepshead along the beaches off the Island, plus a 30-pound snook off the beach.

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler’s Repair on Cortez Road said he’s been putting his charters onto snook, redfish and a few trout, caught mostly using artificial bait, and some sheepshead caught with live shrimp.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said offshore fishing for gag grouper and mangrove snapper is excellent, with most of the best catches coming from less than 100 feet of water out in the Gulf. Inshore fishing for sheepshead is also excellent, with the striped fish being "everywhere" right now.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said sheesphead were about the only catch spotted on the deck last week.

Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said it was pretty slow last week, with sheepies pretty much being the only catch being caught.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he’s seeing black drum, sheepshead and mangrove snapper come onto his docks, with most of the catches coming from the artificial reefs. The rubble off Port Manatee is a particularly good spot, he added.

At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include sheepshead and whiting off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge piers, and lots of sheepshead to 4 pounds near the channels around the big bridge, plus a few mangrove snapper.

On my boat Magic, we are averaging 25 sheepshead per trip, plus some mangrove snapper to 16 inches in length.

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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