Robin Bass caught this grouper while fishing offshore with Capt. Glenn Corder aboard the charter boat "Deep South."
Click on image to enlarge
Trout, snook starting to hit hard in backwaters around Island
Sheepshead and trout are the best bets in the backwater this week, with lots and lots of big fish reported from both pier and boat anglers. Snook action is picking up every day, and there are also some good reports of white bait from Tampa Bay near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
Offshore action continues to range up to the "excellent" mark for grouper and snapper in the Gulf of Mexico, with lots of good catches coming from about 100 feet of water. There are also some big amberjack coming back in the coolers. Mackerel are also starting to hit more often.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said snook fishing is good right now. White bait is starting to show up, sheepshead are about at their peak and trout fishing is approaching the "excellent" stage. Offshore, bottom fishing for grouper and snapper is good in about 100 feet of water.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said he's seeing a lot of sheepshead coming onto the dock, plus a few pompano, bluefish and a couple of big redfish.
Cliff Alcorn at the Anna Maria City Pier said sheepshead are still the No. 1 catch of late, although there is also a good mixed-bag of whiting, drum, mackerel and flounder being reeled to the pier.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said redfish are coming in fast and big from Terra Ceia Bay and there are lots of sheepshead and snapper near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, plus black drum are being caught in the cut.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach reported good catches of snook redfish and sheepshead last week. He said white bait is starting to show up in Tampa Bay near the Skyway.
At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports include trout moving onto the seagrass flats in the bays, with some limit-catches being made. There are a few redfish being caught on the lower tides, and snook are coming on with the higher water, and a couple of pompano are helping to fill a few anglers' iceboxes.
At Skyway Bait and Tackle, fishing action includes sheepshead, silver trout, whiting and lots of small grouper by the Skyway.
Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said trout are all the rage right now, with some monsters being caught. Sheepshead are still his mainstay, though, but snook fishing is improving daily.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said he has been catching red grouper to 25 pounds, gag grouper to 12 pounds, mangrove snapper to 4 pounds, plus yellowtail snapper and lane snapper, with the best fishing coming at about 135 feet of water out in the Gulf using live pinfish, grunts, frozen Spanish sardines and shrimp for the snapper.
Capt. Sam Kimball on Legend charters out of Annie's Bait & Tackle in Cortez said his trips out into the Gulf have produced gag grouper to 12 pounds, mangrove and lane snapper to 4 pounds, triggerfish, sea bass, Key West grunts and amberjack.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's said it's "trout, trout and more trout," most in the 14- to 24-inch range. He's also getting snook from 24 to 29 inches, a few flounder, pompano and mackerel.
On my boat Magic, we caught sheepies to 22 inches, mangrove snapper to 16 inches and a few redfish.
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.