Robin Bass caught this grouper while fishing offshore with Capt. Glenn Corder aboard the charter boat "Deep South."
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Dr. Scott Johnson, left, and son Zach, of Madison, Wis., caught some nice-sized gag grouper while fishing with Capt. Larry McGuire.
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It doesn't get much better than this for fishing
It's that time of year: Fishing is getting better and better as the weather and water warm up.
Backwater action continues to be terrific for trout, redfish and snook. Flounder are also a good bet for backwater anglers.
Offshore kingfish action is finally starting to pick up, with the full-bore run expected to start any time now. Mackerel are also a good bet off the docks and passes.
Bottom fishing for grouper is also still good, and snapper are big and hungry right now.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said "kingfish are finally here. We are catching kings up to 20 pounds, as well as lots of blacktip sharks to 6 feet in length, gag grouper to 18 pounds, mangrove snapper to 8 pounds, plus red grouper, scamp, triggerfish and porgies." Capt. Larry said he's been putting his charters onto good catches in about 100 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico, using frozen sardines as bait for much of the catch and shrimp for snapper.
Capt. Ray Markham aboard the Flat Back II said he's been putting his charters onto "some great action over the past week or so. Weather fronts are still causing some problems getting out and I've had to cancel a few trips, but the days we've fished have really been productive." Ray reports catching snook, redfish, speckled trout, silver trout, flounder, bluefish, and Spanish mackerel, with the action ranging from lower Tampa Bay, a small area of Terra Ceia Bay and the flats there. Capt. Ray said the new moon toward the end of the week "should be very favorable for flats fishing for snook, trout and reds. I'll be looking for cobia, Spanish mackerel and bluefish to be amongst the string stretchers." Did he really say "string stretchers?"
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier in Anna Maria said anglers there are catching lots of redfish, sheepshead and pompano, plus a few mackerel.
Cliff Alcorn at the Anna Maria City Pier said the cold front over the weekend slowed fishing a bit, but sheepshead, mackerel and some snook at night still made most anglers' days.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's Bait and Tackle in Cortez said he took Jim Ware out last week and caught a 20-pound snook on 10-pound gear - a good fight there! - and he's finding that snook fishing is getting better by the day. He's also catching a few redfish, plus flounder and kingfish.
At Perico Bait and Tackle, last week's wind hit fishing in an adverse manner, but there were still good reports of some snook, redfish and mackerel, plus a few kingfish.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said anglers there were bringing big trout back to the dock from Terra Ceia Bay, as well as sheepshead - lots of sheepshead still - around all the structures but especially near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Big snook are starting to show up around the cut in the Manatee River right now, he added.
At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include whiting, sea bass, small grouper and lots of mackerel around the Skyway, plus good catches of redfish in Terra Ceia Bay.
Capt. Rick Gross said wind really hit him last week, but he was able to get out a couple of days and caught lots of redfish as well as keeper-size snook.
Capt. Tom Chaya on Dolphin Dreams said his best action included mackerel and redfish, but he also was able to put his charters onto a few snook and trout from the bays.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's been fishing "down south" and has been catching redfish up to 29 inches, lots of flounder up to 20 inches, as well as a few snook and trout.
On my boat Magic, we've been reeling in lots of redfish to 27 inches, some keeper-size snook and trout to 24 inches. Fishing is getting better every 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.