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Date of Issue: August 16, 2007

Baby, it's hot out on the water right now

Fishing pic
Huge gag grouper
Capt. Anthony Manali, Justin and Jim Alderman of Anna Maria caught this 57-pound gag grouper on Jim's boat, the Kathleen Marie, while fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

The dog days of August are looking good for fishing - it’s all hot right now!

It’s all snapper everywhere, with reports from both offshore and inshore anglers of great catches near any sort of structure in the water.

Out in the Gulf of Mexico, look for some big amberjack, grouper and the ubiquitous snapper.

Backwater catches are featuring lots of redfish, loads of catch-and-release snook and even a few trout.

The heat is keeping a lot of fishers close to the dock during the daytime hours, but for those willing to brave the dark, the action is great.

Remember to be careful out there, drink plenty of water or, better yet, go out early or late in the day to avoid the peak heat and to get the big ones.

AtAnnie’s Bait & Tackle on Cortez Road, Capt. Sam Kimball said he’s catching mackerel, amberjack, grouper and mangrove snapper offshore. Capt. Mark Johnson, also out of Annies, said his backwater charters are finding the weather hot, as is the fishing for redfish, snapper and catch-and-release snook.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said that action there includes snapper, sheepshead, mackerel and catch-and-release snook at night.

Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said that his best suggestion is to “beat the heat - fish at night.” The night owls are doing well with catch-and-release snook, as well as snapper.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he saw pictures of a 45-inch-long snook caught and, of course, released from Terra Ceia Bay. There are lots and lots of snapper and redfish coming out of that part of the backwater, he added, with the reds ranging up to 19 inches in length.

At Tropic Isles Marina, reports include some tarpon hookups in Terra Ceia Bay, but they’re little guys of less than 10 pounds. Redfish catches are also plentiful, but also small, but the mangrove snapper catch is good.

Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers Marina said he’s getting “excellent action on the deep seagrass beds using sardines.” He’s finding lots of mackerel, bluefish and trout that are biting “particularly on a good moving tide in the early morning,” he added. “Shark fishing is good for blacktips on the edges of the bars. Snook and reds are still more numerous on the beaches,” and he’s finding that there are plenty of mangrove snapper “on just about any structure throughout the bay.”

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidhe took Cam Middleton of Virginia and Lance Sewell of Orlando out last week, where they caught “about 16 redfish, four of which ran between 30 and 34 inches,” all in an hour. “We then headed on to some decent action with numerous mangrove snapper that topped out at about 13 inches, along with a number of juvenile gag grouper in the Longboat Pass area.” Trout fishing then ensued, but the catches were small, and later catches included Spanish mackerel, bluefish, large ladyfish and flounder. Capt. Zach is working with small pilchards, live shrimp, finger mullet and pinfish as bait.

On my boat Magic, I took Linda Shaw of Sarasota out last week to get five redfish to 25 inches, plus 12 mackerel and mangrove snapper to 13 inches in length.

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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