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Date of Issue: August 23, 2007

Want fish? Now is the time to grab hook, line

Fishing pic
Alaska beckons this fisher
Keith Hope of Holmes Beach caught this 36-pound king (chinook) salmon on the Kasilof River in the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. He's spent 22 summers in the state, he said, and enjoys it being “cool” in July and August versus the hot temps of summer in the Sunshine State.

It’s the time of year when fishing, quite frankly, couldn’t be better.

Offshore anglers are hooking lots of grouper and snapper.

Pass fishers are finding that mackerel, snapper, catch-and-release snook and redfish are hungry.

Backwater anglers are catching catch-and-release snook, reds, some trout, snapper and flounder.

Now is definitely the time to get out on the water.

Capt. Thom Smith out of Annie’s Bait & Tackle on Cortez Road offered suggestions to fishing without a boat - wade fishing, to help you stay cool on these hot days, or off one of the Island’s fishing piers. At either the Rod & Reel Pier or the Anna Maria City Pier, at this time of year, expect some success with Spanish mackeral, kingfish, cobia, sharks and the occasional tarpon. “Under the piers, snook, redfish, mangrove snapper and sometimes grouper hang around the pilings feeding on all of the bait that tends to hold around all of the piers I'm talking about,” Capt. Thom said. At the Manatee Public Beach pier in Holmes Beach, expect to catch some big mackerel, redfish, snook or sheepshead. The Green Bridge Pier in Palmetto is also a favorite haunt, as are the Sunshine Skyway Bridge piers, both north and south, where keeper-size gag grouper, snook and a variety of fish abound.

Capt. Sam Kimball, also out of Annie’s, said he’s been catching red and gag grouper to 15 pounds, plus lane, yellowtail and mangrove snapper. He’s also finding barracuda to be “all over the place” offshore.

Capt. Mark Johnson of Annie’s said his backwater charters are catching redfish, snook, snapper, mackerel and some trout.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said fishing is good right now. “What do you want to catch?” was how he put it, with redfish and snapper inshore, as well as grouper and snapper offshore.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said anglers there are catching mackerel, sheepshead, snapper and some big jacks.

Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said fishers there are reeling in catch-and-release snook at night, mackerel in the daytime and some snapper.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said there are big catch-and-release snook in the Manatee River, redfish coming out of Miguel Bay and snapper near the Skyway Bridge.

At Tropic Isle Marina, reports include redfish from Terra Ceia Bay in the 18- to 22-inch range, some scattered trout, and lots of snapper.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidfishing “was up and down like the stock market last week. Some days gave up banner catches of a variety of species, and others were like pulling teeth to get any good bites going.” His highlights included redfish to 32 inches and mangrove snapper to 15 inches. “Those two species made up the bulk of the action,” he said, “but scattered catches of trout, mackerel, sharks, bluefish, grouper, snook, ladyfish and jack crevalle were also caught.” He added that “the most unusual catch of the week, if not my career, was an 8-inch yellowtail snapper caught on a ledge inside of Longboat Pass. This is just another example of more southern species being encountered lately in our local inshore waters.” Other action included lots of trout and flounder. “Tarpon are also hanging in the bays more than usual and there are quite a few schools of smaller juvenile fish this year,” he added.

On my boat Magic, we’ve been catching redfish all week, with most running to 28 inches, as well as lots of small catch-and-release snook and snapper to 16 inches, plus lots of mackerel.

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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