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Date of Issue: June 30, 2005

Fishing
Happy little fisher
Nathan Earl, 8, of Lafayette, Ind., was all smiles with his big gag grouper caught while fishing with Capt. Larry McGuire last week.
Click on image to enlarge

Red tide slows, fishing continues near Island

There's a couple issues with fishing right now: Waning red tide is still lingering to the north, and water temperatures are hot, hot, hot!

I was measuring temps of up to 90 degrees in Terra Ceia Bay last week, and the fish were really sluggish as a result. A good tip is to find cooler water, like in the shade of docks, piers or bridges, or under mangrove outcrops. Or, fish early in the morning or in deeper, cooler water.

Backwater fishing for redfish, trout and catch-and-release snook is good. Offshore action remains steady for grouper and snapper, most being caught in about 100 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico. There are also some reports of dolphin being caught in the Gulf, but tarpon took to hiding from most fishers last week.

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said that "Tropical Storm Arlene seemed to concentrate the red tide bloom from Key Royale south into Sarasota Bay on the inside and from Egmont Key south to Venice on the outside in the Gulf," although he said the bloom was lessening as the week ended, and added that with the full moon this week, "snookare in their spawning mode and they will be spawning during the new and full moon periods from now until September. Also, just a reminder, it's catch-and-release through late September. He'sfinding that redfish have been "a bit slow throughout the area, but we have been catching a few up to about 24 inches. Spotted sea trout don't care for really warm water temperatures, so you may want to work the flats early and late in the day, and try the deeper grass flats and potholes during the mid-day heat." He's also catching flounder, mackerel and some cobia.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said offshore fishing has picked up because the winds have eased a bit, letting anglers get out in the Gulf. There have been good reports of red grouper and mangrove snapper to 5 pounds caught in about 100 feet of water. In the nearshore area, the best bets right now are trout, redfish and mangrove snapper along the Intracoastal Waterway.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said anglers there are catching red drum, black drum, pompano and flounder. He hasn't had any real problems with red tide, he added.

Bob Sork at the Anna Maria City Pier said there have been some spotty, bad outbreaks of red tide, but it hasn't been too bad and hasn't lasted too long. Fishing action continues to be good for mangrove snapper, drum, a few mackerel and at night some snook were caught last week.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said there were some really big trout brought to the dock, caught by Joe's Island, running better than 24 inches in length. There are also reports of mangrove snapper, redfish in the 23-inch range and some big snook were hanging around the dock.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said permit are on the offshore reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, mackerel are up in Tampa Bay and he's starting to catch reds and catch-and-release snook in Terra Ceia Bay.

At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports are that redfish are being caught just north of the marina along the Perico shoreline. One boat reeled up more than 50 in one outing. Offshore, grouper fishing remains steady, with most fish caught in the 100-foot depths in the Gulf. There are also lots of sharks being caught in Tampa Bay.

At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include small sharks, flounder, small grouper, some silver trout and mackerel coming from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge piers. There have also been very good reports of redfish in in Terra Ceia Bay, with the best action coming from the areas near the mangroves.

Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said he's putting his charters onto a few legal-size grouper, mackerel, snapper, redfish, trout and flounder.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said fishing is "real good if you go far enough offshore to get away from the red tide. Red tide seems to be in the bay and about 5 miles out." Capt. Larry said most of his fishing offshore was in the 110-foot depths, and he's put his charters onto lots of gag and red grouper to 15 pounds, mangroves to 6 pounds, he's seeing schools of dolphin - "not Flipper!" he said - and they're catching a few, too, plus sharks to 5 feet and some bonita. "We have been fishing with live pinfish and Key West grunts for grouper and shrimp for the snapper," he added.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's said, "The week started off as a real nightmare for live baiters due to a potent outbreak of red tide. The red tide tribulations continued unabated until midweek and finally slacked up on Thursday." He said that James and Dave Grisham of Eden Prairie, Minn., had come down to catch tarpon, but the silver kings didn't cooperate. "I don't know what happened with the tarpon, they were here in limited numbers and pulled a total disappearing act this week. My guess is that the red tide outbreak sent them running offshore." The Grishams were able to catch snook to 30 inches, redfish and trout. "It would appear the mackerel run is over, and even bluefish, jacks and ladyfish have been scarce this week," Capt. Zach concluded.

On my boat Magic, we caught limit catches of redfish in Miguel Bay, trout at Joe's Island and sharks out in front of Terra Ceia Bay.

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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