Matt Bera caught a couple of 20-plus-pound redfish, like the one pictured, while fishing with cut bait in the Gulf of Mexico with Capt. Mark Howard of Sumotime Charters. Capt. Howard noted that the fish were released.
Mackerel are the best bet in our waters right now, with great catches off the beaches and in Tampa Bay.
Redfish are also thick in the backwaters, especially near the mangroves along the shore.
And one lucky angler caught a 6-foot blacktip shark from a dock at Palmetto Point in Terra Ceia Bay last week - using a cast net, of all things.
Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers Marina said he's finding “plenty of tarpon schools on the beaches and passes, lots of Spanish mackerel throughout the shallow Gulf reefs and plenty of large sharks in bays near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.” He's also putting his charters on redfish and snook on the out going tides.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidthat local waters are “getting back to the pre-Tropical Storm Alberto state of clarity. I don't know yet if this is a good or bad thing regarding good angling action. Redfish were the big deal inside, with fairly numerous fish on good tides running up to 30 inches, as well as catch-and-release snook, scattered trout, flounder, mangrove snapper and jack crevalle. The beaches have been giving up Spanish mackerel, bluefish, bonito and sharks, as well as an occasional tarpon hookup.” Capt. Zach said he expected snapper fishing to pick up in the next few days offshore, with best baits to be small pinfish, sardines, white bait, shrimp or chubs.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said mackerel are everywhere right now, especially along the beaches, and redfish are the hot ticket in the bays. Offshore action continues to be extraordinary for dolphin, wahoo and tuna, with trolling baits working best for the better hookups. Bottom fishing for grouper and snapper is also good in the Gulf, but most of the action seems to be around the 100-foot depths or better, Bill said.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's putting his charters onto a bunch of small catch-and-release snook, keeper-size redfish, mackerel and keeper trout, with both live and artificial bait working well for him.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said fishers there are catching lots of Spanish mackerel, blue runners, ladyfish, yellowtail jacks and a few barracuda. There is also lots of whitebait hanging around the pier, he added.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said there are “tons” of mackerel around the pier, plus some small sharks and catch-and-release snook being caught at night, plus yellowtail jacks.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said redfish are hitting in Terra Ceia Bay, but most of the action is very close to the mangroves along the shore. Mackerel and sharks are also being caught from the outside of the bay.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business, also out of Catchers Marina, said his charters are catching mackerel in the mornings and snook and redfish in the afternoons. Whitebait is everywhere, helping the good fishing, he concluded.
At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports include redfish still being a good catch in upper Palma Sola Bay at the higher tides. Trout are starting to hit better, and mackerel is a wonderful catch right now.
At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include mackerel from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge area, lots of reds from Miguel Bay, and mangrove snapper near the shipping channels in Tampa Bay.
On my boat Magic, we've been catching plenty of redfish in the past week, most in the 18- to 27-inch slot limit. Offshore action included mackerel to 30 inches and a few dolphin to 24 inches in length.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.