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Date of Issue: March 30, 2005

Fishing

Look Ma, first fish!
John David Thompson, 3, holds up the first-ever fish he has caught, a mackerel, off the Island. Mom Laura said "he was sooo proud and wanted me to send in his picture!" Way to go!
Click on image to enlarge

Tarpon time is here at last

Big news this week is that tarpon have finally started to show up in force, but aren't responding to hookups just yet with only a few catches being reported.

Inshore action features lots of big trout and catch-and-release snook.

Out in the Gulf of Mexico, the best reports are for mackerel, with some cobia roaming around and a few big amberjack being caught farther out.

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's been catching some big trout, a few keeper redfish and some catch-and-release snook.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said offshore action includes good catches of amberjack, snapper and grouper, and the pelagic species are starting to move closer to shore: dolphin, wahoo and even a few billfish are being caught out in the Gulf.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said Spanish mackerel, redfish and jacks are coming to the pier fishers. Tarpon are finally being spotted rolling by almost daily, but there haven't been any hookups yet, and there is a lot of bait under the pier.

Cliff Alcorn at the Anna Maria City Pier said fishers there are catching a lot of mackerel and a couple of keeper cobia have been caught in the past few days. Tarpon are starting to show up at the pier, too, with one hookup that got away.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said trout are coming on strong in Terra Ceia Bay, big jacks are coming through the cut and a few redfish are being caught near the docks in the bays.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he's been having motor problems, but when he was able to get out he caught lots of mackerel, snapper and permit from the Gulf, and snook, redfish and trout in the backwater.

At the Perico Island Bait and Tackle, wade fishers are catching trout to 24 inches and a few redfish on the outgoing tides. Boaters are still reporting lots of mackerel, small sharks and snapper coming off the artificial reef systems.

Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said he's catching permit, cobia, a few kingfish and mackerel in the Gulf, and reds and trout in the bays.

Capt. Matt Denham out of Catchers said he's catching amberjack to 50 pounds, red grouper to 25 pounds, a few American red snapper and mangrove snapper, plus gag grouper to 15 pounds.

Capt. William Wimpy told me he jumped a sailfish just 30 miles off Anna Maria Island last week, and also caught lots of grouper and snapper.

Capt. Ray Markham on the Flat Back said he had mixed action last week, with lots of catch-and-release snook, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, small gag grouper, black seabass, and a few flounder, plus some redfish in the Terra Ceia Bay area.

Capt. Sam Kimball on Legend charters out of Annie's Bait & Tackle in Cortez said he's put his charters onto bonita to 10 pounds, mackerel and lots of both lane and mangrove snapper. Grouper fishing is still stable, Capt. Sam said, and he's finding a few cobia hanging around.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's said he's catching mackerel off the beaches and big trout in the bays. He's also caught some redfish to 27 inches and catch-and-release snook.

On my boat Magic, we've caught several trout of 20 inches or better, some up to 25 inches long, plus catch-and-release snook to 31 inches, redfish to 27 inches, a few mangrove snapper and flounder to 18 inches in length.

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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