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Date of Issue: April 29, 2009

Kings finally starting to show, trout great in bays

Fishing pic
Fishing pic
Good fishing
Leslie Shaw of Anna Maria and her grandfather, Byers Shaw of Palmetto, caught plenty of nice snook while fishing with Capt. Logan Bystrom. Leslie is pictured with a 29 1/2-inch snook and Byers is pictured with a 31 1/2-inch linesider.

King mackerel are out there in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s just the task of beating through the wind and waves for fishers to get to the fish that’s the challenge.

King-size catches of kingfish are starting to come in after a late start this spring. Amberjack also are a good bet off the artificial reefs in the offshore areas, as are lots of big gag grouper.

Inshore waters are giving up big trout, snook and redfish. Spanish mackerel also are a good bet in the passes.

Tarpon are starting to show up off the beaches and in Tampa Bay, but early hookups are sparse.

      And if you can break away from the water for a day, you may want to take advantage of a free course on what to do if someone falls off your boat. West Marine in conjunction with the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Power Squadron is hosting a “man overboard” safety seminar at most of its stores throughout the day April 29. The event is free, and discussion elements include personal-flotation devices, flares, sounding equipment and fire extinguishers — all required on any boat.

      Further information is available by calling the local West Marine store at 3324 E. Bay Drive, Holmes Beach, at 941-778-4858.

Capt. Logan Bystrom said he’s having a great time snook fishing in the bays, with “quite a few keeper-sized snook coming out of potholes and near mangrove islands. We’ve also been finding plenty of redfish. Trout fishing has still been good in the deeper seagrass edges.” Bystrom said he’s finding bait plentiful and easy to get, and looking forward to tarpon season.

      Capt. Wayne Johnson with Extremeflatsfishing.com said his charters in lower Tampa and Terra Ceia bays have been great. He’s been putting his charters onto lots of snook to 30 inches. “We’ve been targeting these fish in shallow-water seagrass flats along the mangrove lines in Terra Ceia Bay using whitebait,” he said. “We’ve been chumming the snook up with success and getting a lot of action in the feeding frenzy. This week we’ve been averaging 40 snook per trip between 18 and 30 inches.” He’s also finding trout action to be great, and is also catching sharks up to 3 feet, mackerel, snapper, juvenile grouper and an occasional tarpon.

      Capt. Mark Howard on SumoTime Fishing Charters said fishing is entering its spring peak. He’s catching kingfish off the Island and in the Egmont Key channel, as well as off the beaches and near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. He’s mostly concentrating on inshore action of snook, trout and redfish, which are all hitting well on whitebait. Mangrove snapper are thick around reefs and wrecks.

      Danny Stasny at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said tarpon are starting to make an appearance in the area. “We’ve heard of sightings off the beaches and in Tampa Bay,” he said, “but there haven’t been any hookups yet. That will probably change this week.” Trout fishing is still strong in the bays. Snook are starting to move off the beaches into the passes and bays, he added. Offshore fishing is great for gag grouper, as is the amberjack catch near artificial reefs. He said there also are some reports of big cobia being caught. Kingfish? Well, they’re out there, Danny said, but the wind is keeping most fishers away from the good catches. “The few guys who went out for kings did well,” he said.

At the Rod & Reel Pier, reports include “too-small” mackerel, plus drum, snapper and some sheepshead. Snook are all around the pier, but don’t seem interested in taking a hook.

Rocky at the Anna Maria City Pier said pier fishers there are catching mackerel, snook, flounder and some late-season sheepies. Whitebait seems to be in scarce supply near the dock.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said he’s finding kingfish action to be “fast and furious offshore of Anna Maria Island and Egmont Key. Last week Kris Krzysztof from Chicago and his party hooked up 50 kingfish and caught and released 25-plus nice grouper and snapper on a 6-hour trip. We were catching them on lures, live and even dead bait.” Capt. Larry said he found the best action to be 10 to 15 miles out, and Egmont channel was a hot spot. “On longer trips, we’re catching larger red and gag grouper, monster mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, vermillion snapper, lane snapper, lots of sharks and amberjacks.” Longer trips mean deeper water and larger fish in the 150-foot water depths. He noted that the king mackerel run is running about a month late, but the fish are starting to be hook up.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidkingfish are finally starting to hit. He took Rick and Matt Fuchs from Cincinnati out last week and caught kingfish to 30 inches, numerous gag and red grouper, mangrove snapper and Spanish mackerel on the reefs off Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key in 30- to 45-foot waters. Inshore action included “some dandy spotted sea trout just inside of Longboat Pass,” he said.

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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