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Date of Issue: March 23, 2006

Fishing
Fishing pic
Spring break linesider
Ashley Hobson, on spring break from Florida State University in Tallahassee, caught this 34-inch snook while fishing with Capt. Mark Howard on Sumotime Fishing Charters.
Fishing pic
Yahoo for wahoo
Clyde Helton, left, Bob Ripley, Dave Wieland and Ken lee caught a mess of wahoo while fishing offshore with Capt. Hank Williams on Wet Willy Charters. The catch came from about 60 miles out in the Gulf. "It was a rough wide, but well worth the effort," Capt. Hank said.

Winter/spring transition time near/here/any time now


It seems that most fishers are awaiting the change of seasons - winter to spring, cooler water to warm, modest action to red-hot.

Backwater fishing continues to be terrific for sheepshead, with reports of the striped fish at 5 pounds and greater continuing. There are also lots of snook, redfish, trout and some flounder coming out of the bays.

Offshore fishing continues to be great for grouper, snapper and a few amberjack.

None of the guides are talking kingfish as of yet, but the run should start any time now.

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler’s Repair on Cortez Road said he put his charters onto sheepshead, redfish, trout and some small snook last week.

Capt. Wayne Genthner of Wolfmouth Charters on Longboat Key said last week was "a big success, with our all-day trips landing grouper up to 18 pounds and mangrove snapper more than 9 pounds. The biggest grouper and snapper of the season were landed by an eighth-grader last Monday while using light tackle rigs and cut thread fin herring." He said bay and beach fishing "has also been excellent, with multiple landings of bull redfish up to the 30-inch mark and lots of snook from 18 inches up to 35 inches. If this trend continues, the north end of Sarasota Bay will be prime real estate for the big linesiders by June." He’s also putting his charters onto sheepshead off the beach rocks and in the canals around the north end of Longboat Key and pompano on falling tides in New Pass and Big Pass in Sarasota.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said his charters are into big gag grouper, red grouper, scamp, amberjack, various types of sharks, porgys and some monster-sized mangrove snapper, plus some large yellowtail snapper are providing pretty much non-stop action. "Our clients have been catching their 10-per-person limit of snapper on most fishing trips," he said, adding that he’s finding fish best at more than 100-foot depths of water out in the Gulf with Key West grunts, frozen Spanish sardines and live jumbo shrimp for the snapper working the best as bait.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina in Cortez saidit was "an up and down week. Surprisingly, the best action came on a day that was cold with a strong north wind and a pretty lousy tide. On the day mentioned, Everett Brown and crew hailing from New Jersey put the slammer down on a mixed bag of redfish, snook, black drum and sheepshead." He also went out in the Gulf for huge sheepshead, mangrove snapper, short gags and numerous Key West grunts. "Toward the end of the week, strong southerly winds kept me off the Gulf and made bay fishing a challenge with diminishing results going into the weekend. The little cold snap of the early week dropped the water temperatures a few degrees from reaching the magic 70s. March is always an agonizing month because everyone is aching to break out of the winter pattern and it is always a few steps forward and another few back." He added that "with a little boost from Mother Nature in the form of a string of 80-degree days and mild nights," fishing should really start to improve soon.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said inshore fishing has greatly improved, with lots of snook and redfish hookups being reported, as well as sheepshead. Gag grouper are hitting well offshore, he said, as well as amberjack and mangrove snapper.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said the action there is mostly lots of sheepshead, a few whiting and snook at night.

Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said the best action is for sheepshead, with some catches at 5 pounds, as well as a few snook being caught at night.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he’s seeing lots of pompano, whiting, black drum and lots of sheepshead coming onto his dock.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said

At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports include trout starting to hit as well as redfish and snook in the canals off Anna Maria Island.

On my boat Magic, we caught more than 100 sheepshead last week, plus some whiting, flounder, snapper and a 5-pound permit.

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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