Snook season winding down in next few days
John and Linda White of Minneapolis caught and released more than 60 redfish while fishing the bay waters April 8 with Capt. T.J. Stewart of Cast Away Charters Inc. of Bradenton.
You’ve got until May 1 to catch that whopper snook this year.
Linesiders have been running a bit small this year and, although plentiful, they aren’t all that big.
Backwater action for redfish and trout is also good, but also small.
Offshore, look to go out at least 12 miles for kingfish, which are on their northern run right now. Grouper and snapper are still a great catch in the Gulf of Mexico, and there are some big cobia being boated.
Capt. Sam Kimball of Annie’s Bait & Tackle on Cortez Road said he’s catching kingfish offshore during the spring run, as well as some mackerel. The kings are a bit offshore - about 12 miles - and heading north for the season.
Capt. Mark Johnson out of Annie’s said on his backwater charters he’s finding lots of bait to the south in Sarasota Bay, and is catching snook and reds.
At Tropic Isles Marina, reports include redfish to 23 inches and lots of snook, although the linesiders are running small. There are also reports of trout to 20 inches.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said grouper fishing offshore seems to be best in deeper waters - figure 100 feet or so - but snapper are everywhere in the Gulf. Kingfish are also moving around and a good catch offshore. Backwater anglers are reporting good catches of redfish and trout, although both species are running a bit small.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said fishing has been a bit slow, with most catches by pier anglers being sheepshead and small mackerel. Snook are being caught, but they’re on the small size.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said fishers there have also been catching small snook, mackerel and jacks, withy the snook action at night and the mack attacks during the day.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said mangrove snapper are still being caught around the piers there. Lots of cobia reports are coming in from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay, but he said that black drum and sheepshead have pretty much left the area. He’s still hearing reports of snook catches, though, in the Manatee River.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said snook are a good bet, but they’re running small, and he’s getting limit catches of redfish every day.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina “Persistence has paid off with a few nice catches of snook, redfish and trout. There were a couple of days where persistence did not pay off at all,” when he said a couple of forays in the Gulf produced “limited catches of Spanish mackerel and cobia. Numerous juvenile grouper were easily caught most days, however,” he said. Water near the beaches has been incredibly clear, Capt. Zach noticed, and on the inshore scene, the waters near the passes are equally clear. “There is a lot of fish in those gin-clear waters, but most of them are as spooky as could be. A few backwater areas are a little more stained and murky and are also holding a lot of snook, reds, trout and flounder that are a little more cooperative.” He said that top catch of the week went to Chuck Sweeney from Zimbabwe with a 31-inch snook, while his Grandad, Tom Sweeney from Parrish, tried to best his catch but only came up with a 27-1/2 incher. The Sweeney party also connected with a few redfish.
On my boat Magic, we’re catching redfish up to 22 inches, some keeper snook to 28 inches and trout to 20 inches, with up to three trout per trip per day.
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.