All sheepies, plus some snook action
|Lori Iding of Lansing Mich.with her first Kingfish caught Feb. 24 using a live cigar minnow for bait in 40 feet of water offshore of Anna Maria Island while fishing with Capt.Larry McGuire of Show Me the Fish Charters.
Snook season started March 1 and, although reports to date are slim, the season should pick up as the season progresses.
Other backwater action includes redfish and tons of sheepshead, plus a few flounder and trout.
Offshore fishing is pretty much all snapper, since grouper are a no-no, plus some amberjack and an occasional kingfish.
Capt. Mark Howard of Sumotime Fishing Charters said he’s finding the winter fishing pattern in full effect. “Sheepshead are on the structures, article reefs and bridges. Redfish are around deep water docks. Trout are coming on strong off of the deep seagrass.” He is finding that fishing during strong tidal flows with a jig or live shrimp works best for trout, and he’s getting his charters onto some pompano around the deepwater potholes and off the passes.
Bruce Shearer at Annie’s Bait and Tackle off Cortez Road said Capt. Sam Kimball has been catching lots of mangrove snapper offshore. He reports that it’s the best catches he’s had in years. Backwater fishing from Capt. Mark Johnson of Annie’s said he’s getting pretty much everything in the backwaters: snook, redfish, sheepshead and trout.
At the Rod & Reel Pier, the word is all sheepshead all the time, which is about the only catch that’s coming to the dock.
Rocky Corby at the Anna Maria City Pier said anglers there have been catching snook - few of them keepers, though - with the start of the season March 1. Mackerel and flounder are also a good bet, as are some sand sharks.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said his reports indicate that fishing has been slow.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said the cold front has “shuffled the deck for sure, but a little hint of warmth should bring things right back where they were. We are in a spring pattern already. The snook have moved to the beaches and onto the flats. I have had several reports of some good catches in these areas. I have also been told by fellow anglers that there have been a few tarpon sightings already in the bay as well as a 40-inch kingfish being caught on our side of by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Wild for February!” He also caught big amberjack, snapper and catch-and-release American red snapper, with the larger fish caught about 45 miles out in the Gulf. Closer to shore were good catches of triggerfish, porgys, sheephead and kingfish.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidearly last week the south wind helped to push the incoming tide in a little higher than normal and the fish cooperated quite well inshore. “Rich Fluke, Bob Freeman and Jack Furman enjoyed action with reds to 19 inches, snook to 29 inches and sheepshead. All of the action came on live shrimp fished up close to windward mangrove shorelines near the mouth of the Manatee River, Palma Sola, and northern Sarasota Bay. Two cold and windy days kept me at the dock but went back at it on Friday when a quartet of anglers from Toledo, Ohio, fished with me out in the Gulf. It was a little rough out 3-4 miles, but we hammered a bunch of large sheepshead, mangrove snapper, Key West grunts and bluefish”
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.