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Date of Issue: July 26, 2007

Summer fishing is hot, really hot, right now

Fishing pic
Linesider fun
Brandon Mills, age 7, caught and released this nice snook from the Rod & Reel Pier using a custom-made rod with a Penn reel. The pole is a "sawed off" deep sea rod, made by friend and fellow fisherman Mike Haupt of Anna Maria, and was given to Brandon that morning. Islander Photo: Joanie Mills
Fishing pic
Good catch for good coach
Indianapolis Colts football head coach Tony Dungy and friends, both from church and the football arena, spent a happy day on the water recently fishing with Capt. Chris Galati and the Team Galati crew off Anna Maria Island. Dungy, former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led the Colts to a Super Bowl win earlier this year. He is a frequent visitor to the Island and frequently fishes with Galati out of Galati Marine.

Look for lots of the usual summertime fish to be present in the water now. Mangrove snapper are a good bet in the backwater, as well as the ubiquitous catch-and-release snook and tons of redfish.

Offshore, go for grouper or snapper. As always.

As Capt. Zach Zacharias says, fish early or late. Quite frankly, it’s too hot any other time to be on the water.

At Corky’s Live Bait, Tackle and Snack Shop on Cortez Road, Annamae Lahay said that Palma Sola Bay “remains a real hot spot for redfish.” She said that some fishers have been quartering live blue crabs and catching large redfish, while others have been using live shrimp, with "Redfish Magic" lure also having great success. “Live shrimp are beginning to make their return,” she said, adding that Longboat Key intracoastal fishers are having great luck catching and releasing snook, some of quite a large size. “They are also catching small sheepshead, mackerel, snapper, a few whiting, and yellowtail jacks,” Annamae added, and, off of Bradenton Beach, fishers have had quite good luck catching tarpon. Offshore, fishers have been catching lots of grouper, wahoo, dolphin and sailfish, using Spanish sardines, squid and mullet for bait.

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler’s Repair on Cortez Road said that the “dog days of summer” are just around the corner.  Inshore, in shallower areas, the water temperatures can hover around and above the 90-degree mark on the flats, he said, especially during the heat of the day. Capt. Thom’s advise: "Fish early and late makes a lot of sense. Not only are the fish more active early in the morning under the low-light conditions, but it's a little more comfortable for the angler, too. Later in the afternoon, the boat traffic tends to thin out, making conditions a little more peaceful and less competition for fishing spots. Summer heat, just like the winter cold, means you have to change tactics and be flexible with your gameplan for the day.” 

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said that his hot tickets for the week were snapper and mackerel. There were also a lot of catch-and-release snook at the pier, plus a few black drum and an occasional redfish. 

Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said anglers there were catching some mackerel, catch-and-release snook at night, plus mangrove snapper. He’s seeing a lot of tarpon passing through the area, some hooked but not brought in, but he did add that his best catch of the week was a 4-foot-long barracuda, which jumped and jumped and jumped.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidthat since we’re heading into midsummer “things are pretty good considering the problems with red tide we had experienced the past couple of years. Right now the water quality is really good for the most part and the overall angling picture is pretty bright. Mid- to late-summer is mangrove snapper time inshore, and the tasty panfish are literally all over the place. Look for snapper in the same areas that give up sheepshead in the winter. Productive baits are fairly universal, including shrimp, chubs, small pinfish, pilchard and sardine fry and finger mullet.” Capt. Zach took Andy Zelinsky from Indiana to what he described as a “great mixed bag that included reds up to 26 inches, snook to 25 inches, snapper, sea trout to 21 inches, sheepshead, small grouper and juvenile jewfish.” He also added that tarpon “are still around and will be settling into deep bay holes from now to October. They can be taken with fresh-cut bait fished on the bottom. Spanish mackerel are still coming in from Tampa Bay along with numerous small shark that hang around the schools of mackerel and ladyfish.”

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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