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Date of Issue: May 28, 2008

Grouper still good offshore, trout coming back in bays

Fishing pic
Central American tarpon smile
Kendra Presswood of Holmes Beach caught this 60-plus tarpon while fishing on vacation in Costa Rica.
Fishing pic
Happy fishers
This group of fishers with Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters brought in a bunch of grouper, mangrove snapper and amberjack, which were released. Pictured, from left, is Cris Kitson, Jeremy Gulotta, Jeremy Coronel, Michael Vimpeny and Keith Bernard from Bradenton. The catch was made offshore in the Gulf of Mexico in about 155 feet of water.

Grouper and snapper fishing has been excellent offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as great catches of amberjack in the 100-foot depths.

For backwater anglers, trout have made a great comeback grom the red tide bloom of a few years ago. Redfish are also good, as are catch-and-release snook and some early season flounder.

Capt. Mark Howard on Sumotime Fishing Charters said fishing around Anna Maria has been very good. “Snook and redfish are chewing hard around the mangroves and potholes,” he said, and “mackerel are thick in the bay. Big speckled trout are on the deep seagrass beds. Tarpon are heating up, with many fish being hooked up around the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and Egmont Key. Pass crabs are flowing on the outgoing tide. The summer bite is in full swing.”

Capt. Sam Kimball out of Annie’s Bait & Tackle on Cortez Road said he’s finding the kingfish run to have pretty much ended, but he’s getting lots of amberjack, grouper and snapper.

Capt. Mark Johnston of Annie’s said his best action for his charters is coming from the big trout and redfish.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said bottom fishing in the Gulf of Mexico is excellent right now, with reports of terrific catches of grouper and snapper coming from the 100-foot depths. Snapper action is really hot, Bill added. For backwater fishers, trout and redfish are the mainstay, with trout finally coming back after the red tide of a few years ago. There are also some flounder being caught.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said the hottest action was with mackerel, with some black drum, mangrove snapper and a few bluefish catches coming to the dock. There were also some yellowtail jack caught, and snook are under the pier but there were no reports of hookups.

Dave Sork at the Anna Maria City Pier said anglers on the long dock were catching mackerel and black drum, plus some mangrove snapper.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he’s hearing of good catch-and-release snook catches, plus lots of redfish being caught at the mouth of the Manatee River near the seagrass beds.

At Tropic Isles Marina, reports include redfish, trout, snapper and mackerel everywhere.

Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said he’s seeing increasing numbers of tarpon in the passes and near the bridges. Trout fishing is excellent on deep seagrass flats in Sarasota Bay, he said, and reds are in good schools north of Port Manatee.

Capt. Logan Bystrom of Nearshore Fishing in Homes Beacah noted that tarpon are still plentiful in the passes and should be showing up on the beaches, hitting threadfins at dawn and dusk. Snook, redfish and trout are still providing some great action in the bays and snook are just beginning to move out into the passes and beaches.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said that he’s finding fishing to be great offshore of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. “We missed some days this last week due to the weather, but when we got out, fishing was awesome. We are catching lots of big gag and red grouper, large mangrove snapper, catch-and-release American red snapper, all the amberjack you can handle, permit, blacktip sharks and barracuda.” He said the best action is out around 125 feet in the Gulf, with live pinfish and sardines working best as bait. Capt. Larry noted that June 1 is the start of American red snapper season on federal waters, and he says there are a lot of them out there.  

On my boat Magic, we’re catching lots of redfish within the slot limit, plus all the mackerel you can ask for. Catch-and-release snook are also a good bet; we caught one 35-inch linesider last week.

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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