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Date of Issue: July 29, 2005

Fishing
Fishing pic
Big red
Sarah Howard, 11, caught this 10-pound redfish and many more on a father-and-daughter fishing trip with dad Mark of Sumotime Fishing Charters.
Click on image to enlarge
Fishing pic
An armful
Capt. Mark Howard of Sumotime Fishing Charters shows off a big tarpon caught near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
Click on image to enlarge

Reds, trout inshore; wahoo 'way offshore; red tide begone!


Red tide reports are dissipating, and good fishing reports are increasing as a result.

Backwater catches of trout, redfish and catch-and-release snook are still great, with good hot-spots including Miguel Bay to the north and Longboat Point to the south.

Mangrove snapper are also a good bet anywhere in the bays near the Intracoastal Waterway.

Offshore action for pelagic fish like dolphin or wahoo and even a few lingering kingfish is hot at the 100-mile mark out in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as good bottom fishing for grouper and snapper.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's said that water quality "seems to be generally on the improve this past week. Several trips during the week produced decent results with redfish and mangrove snapper providing the best action. At week's end, a half-day trip with Bryan Day of Kennesay, Ga., and his 6-year-old son, Nathan, gave up a limit-plus catch of mangrove snapper ranging to 16 inches." Capt. Zach added that he's noted the "abundance and availability of bait this deep into summer. In a normal year there would be precious few big pilchards available and the fry bait too small to bother with. Small pinfish would usually be the primary live bait at mid-summer. This year, however, there are pilchards of all sizes available and the fry are already at a nettable size. In addition there have been billions of small Spanish sardines in the mix. The sardines are at a perfect size for mackerel and absolute candy for the plentiful snapper right now."

Sounds like quite the all-you-can-eat buffet!

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's catching lots of mangrove snapper along the Intracoastal Waterway, plus redfish at Longbar Point in Sarasota Bay and catch-and-release snook near Sister Keys.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said offshore fishing has been excellent for dolphin, wahoo and even a few kingfish in the 100-mile-out range in the Gulf of Mexico. Bottom fishing has also been great, he said, with lots of American red snapper, and Bill's advice for snapper is to fish where the bait shows on your bottom recorders. Backwater action is still great for redfish, trout and mangrove snapper, he added.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said bait has been scarce around the pier in the past week, but despite the lack of easy food there have been good catches of catch-and-release snook, snapper and yellowtail jacks.

Dave Sork at the Anna Maria City Pier said he's seeing lots of flounder and snapper, plus a few mackerel and catch-and-release snook at night coming onto the dock.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he's seeing some snook hanging around the dock, and there are lots of mangrove snapper coming from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge area of Tampa Bay. Catch-and-release snook are also thick near Rattlesnake Point in Terra Ceia Bay, Dave added.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he took a fishers holiday last week to Lake Okeechobee and pretty much slayed the freshwater, with lots and lots of bluegills on fly rods. He's back in the salt this week, though, and ready to go.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said he's finding "fishing to be hot right now with lots of new fish in our area thanks to Hurricane Dennis." He has put his charters onto lots of gag grouper to 35 pounds, red grouper to 20 pounds, red snapper, mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, small cobia, school dolphin and a variety of sharks, most caught in the Gulf in 85- to 145-feet of water using Spanish sardines and live Key West grunts as bait.

At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports are coming in that there are good catches of redfish near Longbar Point and Tidy Island in Sarasota Bay, as well as a few catch-and-release snook plus some black drum near any of the docks in the bays.

Reports from Skyway Bait and Tackle include snapper from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, redfish from Miguel Bay now that the red tide has abated, and lots of catch-and-release snook near Joe's Island.

On my boat Magic, we've caught quite a few redfish, some catch-and-release snook and lots of mangrove snapper.

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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