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Date of Issue: March 30, 2005

Fishing

Big blacktip
Butch Schultz caught this 6-foot-long blacktip shark while fishing with Capt. Larry McGuire on Show Me The Fish Charters.
Click on image to enlarge

Snook season is here at last; kingfish expected any day now

Fishing this week may be a tale of what's not out there - whitebait and kingfish, although there are some spotty reports of some big kings being caught.

What is out there with a vengeance is snook. Big snook.

There are also lots of big trout, redfish, a few flounder, mackerel and lots of snapper out in the Gulf of Mexico.

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he took Bill Packer and his son out last week and caught snook, redfish, trout and big jacks to 10 pounds on whitebait.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said fishing is as good as it gets right now. Snook action is excellent, kingfish are out there but haven't kicked into high gear just yet. There are lots of mackerel around and trout are spawning, so please release any trout bigger than 24 inches in length.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said that kingfish season finally started last week, before the wind started blowing. "On Monday I guided out Butch Schultz and his party to grouper, snapper, and a 6-foot-long blacktip shark. I also took the Al Gustafson Party to some kingfish to 30 pounds, gag grouper, scamp, and mangrove snapper, and Bill Drew and his family chartered me out to a nice catch of mangrove snapper, sheepshead and a variety of other reef fish."

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said there are still a few sheepshead around, some oversize snook, plus redfish, mackerel, pompano and a few flounder. He's finding whitebait coming and going at the pier - mostly going, though.

Cliff Alcorn at the Anna Maria City Pier said fishers there are getting into sheepshead, mackerel, snapper, jacks and snook at night. There still isn't much whitebait around the pier as yet, but it should start showing up any day now.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House was in the hospital last week, but is back at work now. Be sure to stop by and say "Hi." He said he's seeing lots of keeper-size snook coming to the dock, along with some mackerel, bluefish, black drum, redfish and mangrove snapper.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said snook fishing is excellent right now, with limit catches on most days and as many as 20 on some trip. Redfish are good-sized right now, plus he's catching lots of big trout on most trips.

At the Perico Island Bait and Tackle, action included redfish, flounder, snook and some big trout.

Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said he's also getting lots of snook, with limit catches on most trips. He's finding trout to be plentiful and big right now, too.

Capt. Sam Kimball on Legend charters out of Annie's Bait & Tackle in Cortez said grouper fishing is still good, with some fish up to 15 pounds. He's also catching mackerel, triggerfish, snapper - both lane and mangrove - but he hasn't gotten into any kingfish as yet.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's said snook fishing is good, with some fish better than 30 inches long. He's finding lots of really big trout, some mackerel, and bluefish on the days the wind has died enough to let him get out into the Gulf.

On my boat Magic, we have been catching snook to 34 inches, redfish to 26 inches, lots of big trout to 24 inches, mackerel and some 4-pound bluefish.

Good luck and good fishing.

Capt. Mike Heistand is a 20-year fishing guide. Call him at 779-9607 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 news@islander.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.

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