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Date of Issue: April 15, 2009

Hey, kingy, kingy, kingy we know you're out there, somewhere

Fishing pic
Mack attack
Ian Gilcrist of England pulled in a big mackerel from Tampa Bay while fishing with Capt. Mark Howard of Sumotime charters.
Fishing pic
First shark
Brad Snyder, 15, caught and released his first reef shark catch while on an offshore trip with Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters. Brad and his family also caught gag and red grouper, plus mangrove snapper and more sharks.

Kingfish are near in the Gulf of Mexico. Really. This is not a fish story.

The problem is getting through the rough seas to find the rascals.

Reports of king mackerel are scattered among the offshore anglers willing to run their charters out to catch the big fish. Some are hitting, some not — sorta like the nature of fishing.

Backwater action is still great for trout, redfish and snook, although linesider fishing is mostly running a bit on the small side.

And sheepshead are still around, even this late in the winter fishing season.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said inshore anglers are reeling in great catches of trout. “Snook season is in full swing,” he said, with winter-season fishing still in full force and lots of black drum and mangrove snapper coming from the backwater regions. Amberjack and gag grouper are a good bet offshore right now, as well as snapper. Kingfish? Well, with the winds and rough weather of late, fishers aren’t straying far offshore, but he said as soon as the wind dies the kings should be out there in numbers as they migrate north for the summer.

At the Rod & Reel Pier, reports include sheepshead and some mackerel being caught.

Dave Sork at the Anna Maria City Pier said pier fishers there have been catching mackerel, sheepshead and snook. Linesider action is best either in the early morning or late night, he added.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said fishing is hot offshore of Anna Maria Island. “Finally, we got a break in the wind,” he said, “and we are catching gag and red grouper, scamp, monster mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, amberjack, Spanish mackerel, sharks and a few kingfish.” He said his best action is coming from at least 100-foot depths in the Gulf, with live bait working the best as fish enticement.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina waxed eloquent in his comments: “Some old dude once wrote that April is the cruelest month. Not sure who he was, but he was one smart guy. For weeks now, just about every fishing reporter in this area has been touting the arrival of killer spring action, but the wind and weather has made fools of us all.” Capt. Zach said he’s pretty much staying in the bays of late, catching lots of snook in the 20- to 27-inch range. “Not a single linesider made it to the cleaning table,” he said of the small-slot-size catch, “but a few redfish, trout, mackerel and bluefish have.” Good Friday “provided a killer incoming tide, topping out around noon, but was coupled with a bright full moon and strong southeasterly winds,” he said. He worked the deep seagrass flats of Anna Maria Sound for huge mackerel, hefty bluefish, ladyfish and trout. “When the tide looked optimum,” Capt. Zach said, “we switched to some extreme backwater mud flats that were somewhat protected from the bulk of the wind and boated some really nice snook. There were numerous redfish in the same area but they would not accept any offerings. Water temperatures took a hit from the strong cold front, but once it hit about 68 degrees, the snook started to cooperate. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the weather be such a huge factor in the spring runs of king mackerel.”

Good luck and good fishing.

Fishing news and photos are welcome and may be submitted to Paul Roat by e-mail at paul@islander.org.

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