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Date of Issue: July 20, 2006

Fishing

Fishing pic
It's a monster
Noah Rupport, left, Bill Rupport and Ethan Rupport caught and released this cobia, assisted by first-mate Jarred Vinyard, while fishing with Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters out of the Cortez Fishing Center.

Mackerel are the best action in our local waters, with reports coming in that the fish are everywhere.

Offshore action for grouper and snapper is still good, plus some amberjack and an occasional wahoo or dolphin.

Backwater fishing for trout, redfish or catch-and-release snook is also good, and there are the beginnings of the flounder catch being reported.

The Desoto Fishing Tournament is this weekend, by the way, with junior, inshore, nearshore and offshore contests and a total of $30,000 in prizes. The event starts with a captains meeting at 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 14, at the Bradenton Yacht Club, 4307 Snead Island Road, Palmetto. The fishing starts after the meeting for offshore anglers; other action starts at 7 a.m. Saturday, with weigh-in scheduled for Sunday. For more information, call 747-1998.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said that "fishing is like our weather - hot! We our catching monster cobia, gag and red grouper, scamp, plus red, mangrove and yellowtail snapper, as well as amberjacks to 70 pounds and large sharks and barracudas to 5 feet in length. On a four-hour trip this week, I guided Bill Rupport and grandsons Ethan and Noah out to a monster cobia trip along with snappers and sharks. This was a very special trip, as Ethan is a leukemia survivor and this was their first offshore fishing trip. We made this a trip of a lifetime with a giant cobia catch close in off the beach. We are always amazed at the fish that show up fishing off Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key."

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina said, "Summer has really settled in with brutally hot weather on the water at times, heavy thunder boomers, and lackluster angling action some days. I had been looking forward to the big outgoing tides in the morning last week, but I found them to be challenging, especially on the inside. The first big shot of runoff from the rains after a prolonged dry spell is causing some water quality problems in most backwater areas. As the rainy season progresses most of the funky water issues should abate." Capt. Zach said he's having a problem finding good-sized pilchards for bait, but is getting threadfin, Spanish sardines and small pinfish. "Shrimp at the bait houses are eyeballs and whiskers, as is normal for July and August," he added. He has been putting his charters onto Spanish mackerel, juvenile king mackeral, bluefish, small gag grouper and a few nice-sized speckled trout

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's putting his charters onto mackerel, snapper, redfish, trout and catch-and-release snook.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said snapper fishing is starting to improve offshore and in the bays. Mackerel are "all over the place" right now, and redfish are hitting on the higher tides. Trolling for dolphin - the fish, not Flipper - and wahoo in the Gulf is a good bet. Tuna are also red-hot in the Gulf.

At the Rod & Reel Pier, reports include catches of lots of mackerel and snapper, plus a few small grouper. There are also "tons" of whitebait around the pier.

Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said mackerel is the main fish being caught right now, with the best action on the moving tides, incoming seeming to bring the best results. There are also a few small sharks and snapper being landed there.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said there are plenty of redfish coming to the dock right now, caught in Terra Ceia Bay. Shrimp is a good bait to use on the reds, and try casting close to the mangroves. Mackerel are also being caught in large numbers by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, he said.

At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports include mackerel from the bridges and piers, redfish in Palma Sola Bay and good catches of grouper and snapper from the offshore waters in the Gulf.

At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include lots of mackerel by the piers in Tampa Bay, plus some small grouper, snapper and flounder. Inshore redfish action is great right now, and there are also reports of trout, but they're running on the small side.

On my boat Magic, we caught a 22-inch legal gag grouper, some mangrove snapper, mackerel and trout - all on one trip. Other action has centered around redfish and small catch-and-release snook.

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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