Eric Jr. and Thomas Hollifield, sons of Eric Hollifield of Georgia, had a great time catching some gag grouper while on a six-hour charter with Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters.
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Fishing slowed by storm, red tide, but picking up
Between Hurricane Dennis's passage and the sporadic red tide blooms, fishing has been hammered but not drowned in the past week.
Offshore fishing for grouper remains steadily good, and snapper fishing is hot right now in the Gulf of Mexico in about 100 feet of water. There are also some dolphin hookups being reported.
Inshore action for redfish is good as well, plus lots of trout, flounder and catch-and-release snook.
Capt. Tommy Butler gets the "catch-of-the-week" honors for his 90-pound cubara snapper.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said fishing has been tough, but he caught redfish to 24 inches last week, plus catch-and-release snook, flounder to 17 inches and yellowtail jacks. He put his charters onto most of the fish by using artificial bait and lures.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said grouper fishing offshore is stable in upwards of 100 feet of water. Snapper fishing is also hot right now in the Gulf, and there were a few catches of dolphin — the fish, not Flipper — from last week's Desoto fishing tournament in Palmetto. Inshore fishing for redfish remains good and is Bill's best bet.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said action at the pier includes whiting, small catch-and-release snook, yellowtail jacks, black drum and flounder.
Dave Sork at the Anna Maria City Pier said fishers there are catching mangrove snapper, a few mackerel, flounder, black drum and sheepshead.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said there are lots of American red snapper coming in from the boats in the Desoto fishing tourney last week. Inshore action for black drum, flounder, mangrove snapper, redfish and trout was from in and around Terra Ceia Bay.
At Skyway Bait & Tackle, reports are that redfish are thick in Miguel Bay and near Joe's Island. Mangrove snapper are being caught near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge artificla reefs, with some coming in at 16 inches in length, and there are also a few flounder being caught.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said that he's found "fishing to have been fantastic this past week. Our clients have been catching lots of gag grouper, caused by Hurricane Dennis pushing new fish into our area." He said his charters have been catching gag grouper, red grouper, scamp, lots of mangrove snapper, many yellowtail snapper as well as lane snapper, black tip sharks to 5 feet and barracuda to 5 feet in length, mostly caught in about 100 feet of water."
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said catch-and-release snook fishing is good right now, as are good-sized redfish plus a few nice-size trout.
At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports include a few sheepshead being caught from the Anna Maria Island Bridge, some redfish along the Perico Island shoreline on the higher tides, and catch-and-release snook near Prices Key at the mouth of Palma Sola Bay.
Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said he's finding good fishing to be tough right now, but is able to hook a few catch-and-release snook, redfish and trout.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's said "the current red tide outbreak after the passage of Hurricane Dennis has done nothing but add insult to injury" for nearshore fishing. "The couple of trips I made this past week have produced mixed results," he added. "Matt Brown visiting from Kansas enjoyed some fair action on snook, mangrove snapper, and feisty jack crevalle early in the week. On Friday, Jeff Simmons and a crew of kids were highly disappointed with a morning of fishing that produced precious few fish and a real lesson in what could have been by checking out all the dead and dying snook, reds, trout and flounder floating around Sarasota Bay and Anna Maria Sound. At this writing, offshore fishing is wide open and excellent according to all reports from about 70 feet of water. Even tarpon fishing is happening out there. Optimistically, I hope the situation will improve dramatically in the coming week."
On my boat Magic, we caught redfish to 23 inches, lots of small catch-and-release snook with a couple in the 30-inch range, as well as some mangrove snapper from the Skyway Ship Channel.
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.