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Date of Issue: March 30, 2005

Fishing
Odd fish: African pompano
Stephen Thomas of Holmes Beach caught this odd-looking fish in a castnet in Anna Maria Sound. Sister Sarah took the pictures, and sent them to The Islander in hopes of an identification. "Those long things that look like seaweed are actually the dorsal fins, and the pectorals are vegetation like attachments also," Susan said, adding that she thought the fish was an "uncommon find, possibly rare." Oops. As Karen M. Burns of the Center for Fisheries Enhancement at Mote Marine Laboratory explained, "Sorry to disappoint you, but that's just the juvenile form of an African pompano. Don't be misled by the name, they are found worldwide in tropical and subtropical waters. In the western Atlantic, they are found from Massachusetts to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico. When it gets older it loses all those fancy spines and looks like what we know as a pompano. Many species of fish have larval and juvenile forms which are different from the adults. Nice photos, though."
Click on image to enlarge
Hurricane Charley dampens fishing action

Hurricane Charley drove most fishers off the waters late last week, but earlier reports were good for backwater action: Snook, trout, redfish and flounder.

Don't forget the Eighth Annual De Soto Fishing Tournament is coming up with a captain's meeting at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10, at the Bradenton City Center-Municipal Auditorium, followed by a party and the start of offshore fishing.

Inshore and nearshore action will commence at 6:30 a.m. Sept. 11 with a shotgun start at the mouth of the Manatee River. Weigh-in will be at the Bradenton Yacht Club beginning at 11 a.m. Sept. 12.

There will be offshore, nearshore and inshore divisions, and cash awards at $5,000 for first place awarded in each, as well as lesser prizes for other place-winners.

Entry fees are set at $275 for inshore, $400 for nearshore, and $500 for offshore boats through Sept. 6; an additional $50 will be added for registrations after that date.

The fundraising event by sponsoring Hernando De Soto Historical Society Inc. benefits a host of other agencies, including college scholarships.

For more information about the fishing tourney, call 747-1998.

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said the dark-colored water coming out of the Manatee River looks bad, but hasn't impacted fishing much. He's catching lots of redfish, trout and catch-and-release snook, using mostly artificial lures.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said fishing is just getting back to normal after last week's "adventure." He's hearing good reports of catch-and-release snook being caught, a species that isn't impacted much by the freshwater influx due to the heavy rains we've had in the past few weeks. There are also some good reports of trout and redfish catches by wade fishers.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said water around the pier is very dark due to the stormwater runoff, but despite the weather there are still good catches of mangrove snapper, small catch-and-release snook, a few redfish, black drum and some flounder.

At Perico Harbor Bait and Tackle, fishers who made it out said they they had mixed results of trout and reds on the seagrass flats, but noted that all the freshwater flow from the rivers seemed to push the mackerel offshore.

Capt. Zack Zacharis at Annie's Bait and Tackle in Cortez said he was able to make a few trips out and caught redfish, trout, snapper, a few flounder and some catch-and-release snook.

Capt. Sam Kimball out of Annie's said he was able to bring his charters onto some grouper, banded rudderfish, snapper and amberjack last week.

Cliff Alcorn at the Anna Maria City Pier said his best bets there included flounder, jack, snapper, and a few good-size catch-and-release snook at night. He predicted that snook season, set to open Sept. 1, looks to be a good one.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said there are mangrove snapper around, plus snook and redfish in Terra Ceia Bay.

On my boat Magic, we were able to get out one day last week and caught 27 redfish to 26 inches in length, plus two snook to 29 inches.

Good luck and good fishing.

Capt. Mike Heistand is a 20-year fishing guide. Call him at 779-9607 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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