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Date of Issue: July 07, 2005

Fishing
Two-handed grouper
Waldo Pardue caught this 20-pound gag grouper while fishing with Capt. Glenn Corder aboard the Deep South.
Click on image to enlarge
Dolphin dudes
Craig Madsen, left, Doug Moran, Brian Beukema and Duggan Moran show off a bull dolphin Brian caught in the Florida Keys on a recent fishing trip.
Click on image to enlarge

Typical summer fishing: Some red tide, lots of reds, grouper, snapper

It's still pretty much hit-or-miss out there, with red tide floating around and cropping up here and there. However, the offshore action for grouper and snapper remains good, and there are also some nice reports of dolphin being caught.

Backwater action for trout and redfish is also still strong, and there are lots of reports of catch-and-release snook.

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's been putting his charters onto lots of small catch-and-release snook. Redfish have also been on the small side, Capt. Thom said, but there were a few keepers that were coming to the hook on both artificials and live bait.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said offshore fishing has been excellent for amberjack to 30 pounds, snapper to 5 pounds, both mangrove and lane snapper, plus margates, porgies and triggerfish. Most of the best offshore action is a bit farther out than usual, in about 150 feet of water in the Gulf. Backwater fishing is still great for redfish, plus a few mackerel from the local piers.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said best bets there were mackerel, pompano, redfish, mangrove snapper and some big yellowtail jack and one huge flounder.

Dave Sork at the Anna Maria City Pier said anglers there have been reeling in mackerel, jacks and flounder.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said the holiday weekend was a good one for fishing, with lots of catch-and-release snook coming from Terra Ceia Bay, plus lots of sharks being caught off Miguel Bay and mangrove snapper up to 4 pounds coming off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said catch-and-release snook fishing is good right now, but he's mostly going after redfish and trout, getting mostly limit-catches of reds on most trips.

At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, trout fishing is good on the lower tides according to the reports and, although shrimp are small, the bait still works for good hookups. There are also reports of nice-size reds from the Perico Island shorelines.

At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include mackerel as the hot ticket, with small white jigs working best on incoming tides. There are also some errant sheepshead being caught, plus small grouper and snapper.

Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said he's finding a good mixed-bag of fish for his clients: Mackerel, snapper, flounder and redfish.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said "fishing offshore is good, but you may find that you have to work at it a little harder because of the hot weather. The overcast days are best for fishing. This past week our clients caught gag grouper, red grouper, scamp, kingfish to 35 pounds, lots of sharks to 5 feet, school dolphin, mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper and triggerfish, all in about 100 feet of water using live bait, frozen Spanish sardines, threat herring and squid."

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's said he's finding fishing to be "on the rebound, with continuing action with catch-and-release snook running up to 30 inches in length, trout of good average size, scattered reds going to 28 inches and flounder. There were more flounder brought aboard on a couple of trips last week than I have seen in the past two months. The flatties fell for whitebait, small pinfish and shrimp. They were in fairly deep water, more than 5 feet, on sand bottom adjacent to hard bottom." Capt. Zach added that he's getting into a lot of mangrove snapper and near-legal-size gag grouper. "Over the years I've noticed a definite improvement in the quality of fishing once things get back to normal after a red tide episode," he said. "Unfortunately, the timing of this outbreak really spoiled the tarpon run this year. However, there will be some tarpon caught in the deeper bay holes into late summer if you look for them. These late summer tarpon will take just about anything you offer them. Look for dense balls of glass minnows and whitebait fry in deeper areas of the bays and there could be some big silver kings lurking around."

On my boat Magic, we found action to be tough, with only three reds on one trip but we did land an 18-inch-long flounder plus a few mangrove snapper and some small sharks.

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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