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Date of Issue: July 16, 2008

Sharks in Terra Ceia Bay, grouper offshore

Fishing pic
Grouper, shark galore
Jacob Phillips, left, Cliff Winter, Scott Phillips, Chuck Winter, center Dan Dauer and Bob Hoffman are pictured with their catch of nice-sized red grouper and a reef shark. The party was fishing offshore of Anna Maria Island in about 125 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico using live pinfish and sardines for bait with Capt. Larry McGuire.

Catch-of-the-week goes to the lucky angler who brought back a 30-pound cobia. It must have put up quite a fight.

Speaking of fighting fish, tarpon are still off the beaches and in Tampa Bay, and should hang out for at least the end of the month.

Farther offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, grouper and snapper fishing remains excellent, with lots of amberjack being caught.

For the backwater anglers, trout is a good choice to target, as are redfish, catch-and-release snook and even some early season flounder.

And mackerel are thick in the passes and just off the beaches.

Capt. Sam Kimball out of Annie’s Bait & Tackle on Cortez Road said his offshore charters last week were bringing back lots of grouper, snapper, amberjack, barracuda, triggerfish and lane snapper.

Capt. Mark Johnston of Annie’s said his inshore charters were doing well with catch-and-release snook, trout, mackerel and snapper by the rocks near the beaches.

At Tropic Isles Marina, reports include trout coming out of Terra Ceia Bay up to 20 inches, redfish and lots of small blacktip, bonnethead and blacknose sharks.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said offshore fishing is hot - both in angling action and temperature. There are lots of reports of mangrove and American red snapper being caught in about 150 feet of water roughly 45 miles offshore, Bill said, and he’s hearing that grouper fishing is still stable and strong. Amberjack are also a good bet off the artificial reefs offshore. For the backwater anglers, redfish are on the seagrass flats, and mackerel off the beaches. There are also some tarpon hookups being reported, which should continue at least through the end of July.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said anglers there are catching mackerel, small redfish but within the slot limit, jacks and lots of mangrove snapper.

Dave Sork at the Anna Maria City Pier said fishers there are catching mackerel in the morning, plus bonnethead sharks and catch-and release snook.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said there are some huge snook hanging out under the dock - of course, they’re there because the season for linesiders is closed. Other catchable catches include lots of mangrove snapper and trout on the seagrass flats. He also said one lucky fisher caught a 30-pound cobia near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he’s catching his limit on redfish, plus some nice-size trout, mangrove snapper and a few tarpon.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidhe’s finding it hot temperature-wise - both the air and the water. “Most inshore fish seek more comfortable digs where it is deeper and, in the case of hot conditions, a little more shady,” he said. “So it makes sense to seek out deep and shady areas to find snook and redfish this time of year. Mangrove snapper and trout have been the most cooperative species as is usually the case in mid-July. These two species are also pretty fond of the smaller live bait that is available right now.” He said he’s been doing well inshore with reds, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, small sharks, catch-and-release snook and flounder, as well as lots of juvenile grouper. Most of his action is coming from northern Sarasota Bay, Palma Sola Bay and Anna Maria Sound.

On my boat Magic, we caught trout to 20 inches, flounder to 17 inches and mangrove snapper to 17 inches on our charters last week.

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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