|Another great catch
Pat Webster and Rob Ableman caught some huge kingfish with Capt. Larry McGuire.
Kingfish are the scene-stealer this week, with the run going past Anna Maria Island and drawing fishers offshore to catch some big, hungry fish. Reports of kings to 35 pounds are not uncommon, and there are some reports of 45-pounders being reeled up.
Snook action in the bays is also extremely good right now. Although there are a lot of reports of small snook being caught, there are enough keepers being reeled in to make anyone smile.
Redfish action is also good, although the fish seem to be scattered and a little hard to find.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said that for him, "kingfish are stealing the show. Some days we had limit catches and some smokers up to 45 pounds, along with gag grouper, red grouper and lots of large mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, triggerfish, barracudas and sharks. We're fishing by the beach and out to 30 miles, using live bait and artificial lures. He added that "the next few weeks will see the peak of the kingfish season, so now is the time to get your smoker king."
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said it is definitely kingfish time in the Gulf, with beautiful fish to 35 pounds being caught. Trolling for grouper in about 40 feet of water offshore is a very productive means to get a cooler full of fish, he said, and inshore action for sheepshead is still hanging on. Snook action is about at its peak right now and, to aid in that fishing, whitebait is thick.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's putting his charters onto lots of small snook, some keeper-size redfish, and a few nice-sized trout. He's using both artificial and live bait with good results.
At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports include snook and redfish in Palma Sola Bay, caught both by wade fishers and boating anglers. Higher tides seem to produce the best catches. Trout is a good bet from the deeper seagrass beds. Offshore fishing for kingfish has been great for those that can get out in the Gulf.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said spring has finally arrived, if the slowing of the sheepshead catch is any indicator. There are still some sheepies to be caught, but the volume is definitely dropping as the water temperature rises. Other action at the pier includes mackerel, black drum and some snook at night.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said there is good snook action after dark at the pier, plus some sheepshead during the day, as well as yellowtail jacks.
Capt. Wayne Genthner of Wolfmouth Charters said, "If there was ever a time to catch a big king mackerel on light line, now is it. All along the deeper troughs and hard-bottom spots off Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key there are hungry masses of Spanish mackerel and huge king mackerel. We're catching them on spoons, plugs, jigs and live bait, big and small. The long and the short of it is that they are here eating up glass minnows and thread herring. Our half-day folks are connecting with keeper catches using very light sport-fishing tackle and it's one heck of an adrenaline rush when that reel starts to squeal. Pompano are still active and redfish, too. But let's face facts, those fish will be here with us most of the year but the spring mackerel run is now, so let's get us some."
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said some good-sized snook are coming to the dock with one boater catching a 43-inch-long fish that he released. Trout are few and far between, he said, but redfish are hitting near the mangroves in the bay on the higher tides.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said to take your pick: Kingfish offshore or snook in the bays, because both are at their peak right now.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina in Cortez said that "whitebait was plentiful and easy to get, and action was pretty good early in the week with some kings and big Spanish mackerel in the Gulf and some nice snook and redfish inshore. The quarter-moon tides really took a toll towards the end of the week, with all of the above species being taken but in relatively small numbers. Every day was a challenge to get a hot bite going with anything, but if you persevered you could catch some fish." He added that water temperatures are rising and action should be great next week with better tides.
On my boat Magic, we're catching lots and lots of small snook, as well as a few keepers. Redfish seem to be scattered but available, and we brought back a few trout up to 20 inches in size.
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 email@example.com. 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.