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Date of Issue: May 19, 2005

Fishing
Big fish for little guys
Jacob Arthur, 3, pictured at left, caught this sheepshead while his brother Nicholas, 5, right, caught this snook while fishing with Capt. Kim's Charters, Capt. Kathy at the helm. The pair were visiting from Wheaton, Ill.
Click on image to enlarge

Now is a good time to go fishing in Gulf or bays

Hey, the water temperatures are warming and the fishing is getting better every day.

Tarpon are still a little scarce, but should start to appear any time now off the Island's beaches and in Tampa Bay.

Backwater action for trout and redfish remains great, and catch-and-release snook fishing is also good.

Offshore, look for lots of grouper and snapper plus a few cobia.

And by the piers, there are some good reports of an occasional pompano and an errant mackerel.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said offshore fishing remains excellent now, with lots of grouper and snapper being caught plus a few cobia. Backwater action seems to be directed toward redfish and trout, Bill said, and catches are large.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said fishing there has focused on pompano, redfish and big catch-and-release snook, but bait is hard to find and mackerel have pretty much disappeared.

Cliff Alcorn at the Anna Maria City Pier said there are lots of bluefish hookups, plus catches of pompano, a few mackerel, snook at night and some small flounder.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said "fishing is still real good, with catches of gag grouper to 20 pounds, red grouper to 15 pounds, mangrove snapper to 6 pounds, plus scamp, a few school kingfish and sharks to 5 feet." Last week, Rayondra Olivio caught two gag grouper on one bomber lure. "On a four-hour trip with Dr. Dave, Marty DeVita of Bradenton and his brother Bob from Illinois, we caught keeper gag grouper, big mangrove snapper, a 4-foot shark in 40 feet of water, and a 5-foot sailfish chummed up to the boat, but wouldn't hit. We are using live pinfish and grunts, as well as frozen Spanish sardines. We have noticed that using lighter line has helped the bite."

Capt. Tom Chaya said he's finding fishing to be pretty good right now, with a lot of charters bringing back limit catches of redfish, plus lots of catch-and-release snook and lots of trout.

Capt. Zach Zacharias out of Annie's Bait and Tackle in Cortez said he's putting his charters onto kingfish to 15 pounds, plus permit in about 40 feet of water out in the Gulf. Tarpon are still scarce for him, but he is catching a lot of redfish and trout.

Capt. Thom Smith from Angler's Repair said he took a trip down to Boca Grande last week and caught a lot of flounder, trout, redfish and some really big catch-and-release snook.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said fishing was slow last week due to the bad tides, but there were still a few good reports of catch-and-release snook, trout and redfish from Terra Ceia Bay and snapper caught by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said mackerel are running strong in the mornings, with catches of up to 26 inches in length coming in. Later in the day, redfish and catch-and-release snook are a good bet in the bays.

At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, wade fishers are doing well with trout and redfish in Palma Sola Bay and near Perico Island, with shrimp working the best as bait.

At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include mackerel and silver trout from the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Piers, with redfish being a hot item during the days both from the pier and from Terra Ceia Bay.

On my boat Magic, we caught a 44-inch-long, 25-pound cobia on 10-pound-test line on the seagrass flats. We've also caught a lot of redfish in the 23-inch range, lots of small catch-and-release snook and trout to 24 inches.

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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