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Date of Issue: April 09, 2008

Wind keeps fishers inshore, but reds, trout action persists

Fishing pic
Puttin’ the hammer down
Capt. Mike Nelson of Bradenton Beach took vacationing Josh Jackson of Kettering, Ohio, for a little shark fishing last week and they caught tons of small sharks such as these hammerheads — and released them all. Islander Photo: Courtesy Island Mikes Flats Fishing
Fishing pic
Spring fish finders
Turner Grant, 13, right, and Ian Wilson, 13, left, both of Ontario, Canada, with their catch of gag grouper, red grouper, and a monster mangrove snapper. Both were on spring break and visiting Ian’s grandfather, Ray Clementi, on Anna Maria Island when they went fishing offshore of and found their luck in about 100 feet of water with Capt. Larry McGuire.

It’s been rocking and rolling offshore in the past week for fishers.

Angling action in the Gulf of Mexico has been slow due to the high winds and rough weather. However, the hardy few who braved the wicked weather had good times with big catches of big grouper, snapper and amberjack.

The weather may have nixed the spring kingfish run. There were some catches, but with anglers staying close to the docks the run was minimal and may be over for this part of the season.

Shark catches are huge on the seagrass flats, though, especially in Terra Ceia Bay.

And the first tarpon catch of the year came from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge area last week, an 80-pounder.

Capt. Sam Kimball of Annie’s Bait & Tackle on Cortez Road said high winds kept him close to shore, where he caught a bunch of redfish, trout and sheepshead.

At Tropic Isles Marina, reports included lots of trout catches from Terra Ceia Bay, plus sheepies and redfish near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said offshore fishing has been as rough as the water due to the high winds and rough seas. For those able to get offshore, though, the results have been great for grouper, snapper and kingfish.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said action there included sheepshead, mackerel, yellowtail snapper, bluefish and snook.

Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said anglers at the pier were also catching sheepies, macks and bluefish, plus mangrove snapper and snook at night.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he’s hearing reports of snook up to 35 inches, plus redfish outside the slot limit and mackerel everywhere.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said fishing is hot offshore of Anna Maria Island. “Fishing is great, the weather is nice, everything is going off, it's spring break and all kinds of fish are biting,” he said. “Life is good! We are catching limit catches of kingfish up to 45 pounds, then we head farther offshore and catch big gag and red grouper, amberjack to 45 pounds, mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, vermillion snapper and triggerfish. I also had some big cobia swim up to the boat, but they didn't bite.” Capt. Larry said his best action is in about 45 feet of water, with live, cut and artificial baits. He added that spoons or jigs are a hot ticket to catch bluefish or Spanish mackerel off Longboat Pass.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidthe past week started slow, with trips to the Gulf of Mexico producing mangrove snapper, grouper, Spanish mackerel, hogfish and Key West grunts. “A number of post-spawn sheepshead were boated as well, but they have spawned, peaked, and are no longer a given on the offshore reefs. So-so tides at the start of the week made inshore fishing a challenge, but a better tide at weeks’ end turned on the snook, reds and trout.” He added that whitebait has become readily available on the seagrass flats.

On my boat Magic, we’ve been catching a bunch of bonnethead sharks and trout and some cobia hooked up but weren’t landed. Sharks are really thick out on the flats.

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 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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