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Date of Issue: June 16, 2010

Moon phase shouldn’t faze hot fish bites

Jack O’Hara and Anthony Leverett with red grouper caught on live pinfish in 125 feet of water offshore of Anna Maria Island. O’Hara’s grouper was bitten by a shark on the way up. Islander Photo: Courtesy Capt. Larry McGuire

Logan Reiber, 13, of Holmes Beach, speared this 40-inch cobia while fishing with his Robert Reiber 1 mile off Bean Point at the north tip of Anna Maria Island.

Tides should slow down a bit as anglers begin to fish a quarter moon June 18, but that shouldn’t have a dramatic effect on nearshore fishing.

The waters off the beaches are prime for a variety of species, including tarpon, kingfish, cobia, Spanish mackerel and bottom fish, including grouper and snapper.

Capt. Rick Gross of the charter boat Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina said he had been fishing in 40-plus feet of water for kingfish. “There’s a lot of big sharks out there,” Gross said. “I’m not messing with the big sharks, but there’s some big sharks out there.” He added that in the same areas there were some Spanish mackerel to 5 pounds that were hitting threadfins and cutting through his 80-pound fluorocarbon leaders.

For kingfish, Gross said he’s using 3/0 extra long-shank hooks and 30-pound fluorocarbon leaders. “The water’s so clear that if we put the heavy stuff on, we weren’t getting any luck,” Gross said.

Capt. Zach Zacharias of the DEE JAY II out of Parrot Cove Marina in Cortez reported red-hot action in the Gulf of Mexico waned a little last week, but he’s still seeing good catches of jumbo Spanish mackerel. He said a couple of kingfish came in, but the kings are really thinning with water temperatures in the mid 80s. Sharks, bonito, cobia, grouper, snapper and flounder rounded out the action on a couple of trips.

He said north Sarasota Bay was on fire with inshore action. “The entire north bay is paved with bait,” he said, “especially huge dense schools of glass minnows.” He said spotted sea trout, mackerel, hefty bluefish, small sharks, jack crevalle and monster ladyfish are all over the grass beds in 4-6-foot depths. “The approach is fairly simple,” he said. “Fish the birds, you will catch fish. Some of the trout have been exceptionally large with specks common in the mid-20s. Live bait is not necessary with these fish. Jigs and spoons will work very well. I don’t recommend using soft-bodied plastics as the mackerel and bluefish will chop them up in a heartbeat.”

He said the tarpon-chasers are out in force and doing well. “We have hooked up numerous times while not even targeting the big herring,” Zacharias said.

Finally, he said redfish are being tricky. Being in the right place at the right time with the right bait is critical when targeting redfish right now, he said.

Capt. Logan Bystrom is still fishing late-afternoons and early-mornings for some tarpon bites in Longboat Pass. He said threadfins have been a good bait on the incoming tide, and the outgoing tide is working with some big crabs for bait.

Capt. Mike Greig said he’s been fishing tarpon every trip, averaging a jump from three or four per outing. He said the open waters of Tampa Bay have been giving up sharks, grouper, a few kingfish and barracuda. He reported one 40-pound barracuda being caught in the bay. He said some mangrove snapper to 17 inches were found on the nearshore reefs.

Capt. Steven Salgado isn’t going far off the beach anymore. “I’m not trying to go far because of fuel prices,” he said. Instead, Salgado said he’s been getting a good inshore bite on a lot of trout, and occasional redfish and some snook in the bays.

Dave Sork from Anna Maria City Pier said anglers are catching mostly Spanish mackerel. “There’s a lot of tarpon around and a few have been hooked,” Sork said. He said a couple cobia were cruising around the pier the afternoon of June 11, but no anglers hooked up.

Derek Olson from Rod & Reel Pier said there are lot of keeper Spanish mackerel, some mangrove snapper, and black drum. He added a few barracuda are cruising around as well.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me the Fish Charters out of Cortez Fishing Center reported parties are catching limits of grouper and red snapper, as well as smoker kingfish, monster amberjack, big barracudas and a variety of large sharks. He said live pinfish and grunts have been working best with the action starting at about 130 feet of water offshore of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. Closer in, around 50 feet, there are lots of kingfish, sharks, snapper and a few big gag grouper. In the passes, along the beach, and under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, tarpon are plentiful, he said.

“Don’t let the oil spill spoil your vacation or fishing trip on our beaches,” McGuire said.

He said the Emergency Command Center for Manatee County predicts it will not hit our area. “The only oil I’ve seen was in my frying pan. Now is the time to come out and get in on the action.”

Capt. Warren Girle said on the morning of June 12, 7 miles offshore of Anna Maria Island, his customers caught two cobia over 40 inches. “The interesting thing is the sharks do not attack the cobia when you hook them,” Girle said. “We landed last month near 25-30 cobia.” He said they saw a lot of sharks offshore. Girle continues to tarpon fish with success and noted good fishing for mangrove snapper at various 7-mile reefs. He added bonito are thick in some nearshore areas.

Send fishing news and photos to fish@islander.org.

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