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Date of Issue: May 12, 2005

Fishing
Grouper fishers galore
Jacob and Callie Alonso, son and daughter of Glenn and Kim Alonso of Thonotosassa, holding a couple of nice gag grouper they caught May 8 with Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters.
Click on image to enlarge

Good fishing continues; Center fishing tourney coming June 17-19

Despite the nagging cold water, fishing is getting better and better, with lots of good-size trout, redfish and catch-and-release snook being caught in the bays.

Snapper and grouper continue to be an excellent catch offshore as well.

Tarpon reports from Tampa Bay are starting to roll in as well, and the silver kings should start to make their appearance off the beaches soon.

And don't forget the Anna Maria Island Community Center's fishing tournament June 17-19. There will be three divisions - offshore, inshore and youth - according to this year's event chair Steve Bark. Pre-registration by June 6 is $200 per boat, sign-in after that is $300, and the event begins at 6:30 a.m. June 18 and runs until weigh-in at 8:30 p.m. at Anna Maria City Pier and Mar Vista Restaurant on north Longboat Key.

The first 50 entries will receive a 7-foot-long Star Backwater rod, and there will be raffle items and a silent auction. A captain's meeting will be June 17 and the award's banquent June 19. Further information is available by calling 778-5900.

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's getting into lots of catch-and-release snook, redfish to 24 inches and a slew of nice-sized trout, all caught on artificial and whitebait in either Terra Ceia Bay or Sarasota Bay.

Bill Lowman of Island Discount Tackle at Catcher's Marina said fishing is good right now, with plenty of redfish coming in from Sarasota Bay as well as some big trout. Whitebait is plentiful too, Bill said, and a perfect bait for any inshore action. In the Gulf, grouper and snapper are hitting in about 90 feet of water.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said that "fishing is fantastic right now. We are probably at the peak of kingfish season at this time. The kings were running larger this weekend than most of this spring. Jeanne Voschelle of Bradenton caught her first kingfish on Saturday, which weighed in at about 35 pounds. Our clients caught other kingfish the same size, as well as lots of gag grouper, red grouper, scamp and mangrove snapper, on variety of live baits and frozen Spanish sardines in about 85 feet of water in the Gulf."

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said fishing has been slow of late, but there are still a few catches of mackerel, redfish, black drum and lots of blue runners and jacks.

Cliff Alcorn at the Anna Maria City Pier said catch-and-release snook are coming on at night only. Mackerel are a good target in the daylight hours, especially on strong tides, plus anglers there are getting into flounder and small sharks.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said snapper are being caught by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge ship channel, with some fish ranging up to 17 inches in length. There is also good trout action coming out of Terra Ceia Bay, as well as redfish from the Manatee River.

At Skyway Bait & Tackle, the word is snapper from the Skyway ship channel, big trout in Terra Ceia Bay, plus mackerel off the piers.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said catch-and-release snook, redfish and trout were his big features last week, with limit catches of reds on most every trip in the backwater.

At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, big-size trout are still a good catch off the seagrass flats south of the Anna Maria Island Bridge. There are also good reports of big redfish in Palma Sola Bay, and offshore action for grouper remains excellent, with lots of good fishing coming in the 85-foot depths in the Gulf.

Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said catch-and-release snook fishing is very good right now despite the closed season, but he's putting his charters onto lots of redfish to make up for the lack of actual cooler-fillers. Trout are also a big-ticket item in the bays, he said.

On my boat Magic, we caught trout to 23 inches this week, plus lots of redfish on most trips and a few flounder, snapper, bluefish and mackerel.

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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