|Charlot Dore, 80, of Bradenton, shows off one of the six sharks she caught on a charter with Capt Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters. Dore said it was her best Mother's Day ever. She also caught grouper, snapper and trigger fish.
Mackerel and dolphin are the best offshore action right now. Weird currents are bringing usually deepwater fish close to shore, and there are lots of reports of dolphin catches as close as 20 miles from Anna Maria Island in the Gulf of Mexico.
Tarpon are rolling through the waters off the beaches, in Tampa Bay, near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and off Egmont Key. Mackerel are also everywhere, and biting.
Redfish is the best action in the backwater, as well as a few big catch-and-release snook.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidthe bulk of his action has consisted of catch-and-release snook to 34 inches, reds to 30 inches and trout to 25 inches from inshore waters of the area. “Along the beaches there has been numerous Spanish mackerel in all size ranges,” Capt. Zach said, “plus a few kingfish, bluefish, snapper, sharks and bonito. Tarpon have been showing all over but not showing any great propensity to bite anything. I attribute that to very clear water, and maybe the onset of the summer rain will help in souping things up a bit.”
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's been putting his charters onto snook, redfish and trout, using both artificial and live bait, with artificials seeming to work the best.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said kingfish are all but gone, but mackerel are swarming around the nearshore artificial reefs in the Gulf. The big news is dolphin - the fish, not the mammal - being caught in the Gulf within 20 miles of shore, plus lots of mangrove snapper. Cobia are being spotted, and there have been a few hookups. Backwater fishing for redfish is the best bet, Bill advised.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said action there includes catch-and-release snook and mackerel. “Tons” of bait have invaded the waters around the pier, and cobia are working through the area. Tarpon are rolling by the pier every day now.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said there are good catches of Spanish mackerel in the mornings, snook at night and a few mangrove snapper and yellowtail jacks working through the bait.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said there are plenty of black drum being caught in the cut and mangrove snapper and mackerel near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Shrimp are swarming in the bays right now, with lots of people going out at night with lights and dip nets to catch the little wrigglers. One person reported hauling in 14 pounds worth in one evening.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said for his charters its mackerel in the morning and redfish in the afternoon.
At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports include redfish being caught in Palma Sola Bay near the mangroves on the higher tides. Trout are hard to come by, but mackerel are thick, they said.
At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include catches of Spanish mackerel from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge system, plus some small grouper and a few small sharks. There are lots of tarpon rolling through Tampa Bay, too. Inshore fishing for reds is a good bet right now, they said.
On my boat Magic, we've caught dolphin to 24 inches, mangrove snapper to 4 pounds, flounder to 3 pounds, some redfish to 28 inches and a few keeper-size scamp.
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.