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Date of Issue: August 25, 2005

Fishing
Fishing pic
Big catch, big smiles
Courtney Brinson, 10, and Dad Barry proudly display the 38-inch snook she caught and released in Bimini Bay - and photographed at Gib Bergquist's dock during his 81st birthday celebration Sunday, Aug. 14.
Click on image to enlarge

Red tide begone - please? - as fishing picks up


Fishing is still good, despite the high water temperatures — 90 degrees in the Gulf and bay —and a stubborn, lurking red tide, and mangrove snapper appears to be the best bet out on the water.

The “dead zone” doesn’t reach to 140-plus feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico, and there have been great grouper and snapper catches coming from there. The dead zone runs offshore from approximately 10 miles out in the Gulf to 30 miles out.

Backwater action for redfish and catch-and-release snook and a few trout are also features at this time of year.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie’s , “I am happy to report that we have enjoyed a full week free of red tide issues in the immediate vicinity of Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key and Cortez. The water is looking really clean and clear. Bait is plentiful and the various inshore species have been responding well on the big full moon tides this past week.”

Capt. Zach reports catching lots of redfish up to 29 inches in length, snapper to 17 inches, using pilchards or small pinfish as bait, as well as some good catches of snook, flounder, gag grouper, and trout.

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler’s Repair on Cortez Road said he’s been fishing the Seven Pines area and has been catching redfish, catch-and-release snook, and big yellowtail jacks, as well as mangrove snapper to 14 inches by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said offshore grouper and snapper action has been excellent of late in about 100 feet of water. Inshore fishing for redfish is also great right now, and there are lots of trout catches plus plentiful mangrove snapper.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said the best bets from the dock last week were snapper, pompano, a few catch-and-release snook and yellowtail jacks.

Andrew Morris at the Anna Maria City Pier said there are lots of snook hookups in the mornings and late at night. Other action includes pompano, mangrove snapper and some sharks that had been lurking around the pier.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he’s seeing lots and lots of mangrove snapper come onto the dock, plus catch-and-release snook reports, flounder catches and sharks coming in from around Terra Ceia Bay.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he’s getting into good snook action plus plenty of redfish, but he’s finding trout fishing to be a little slow of late, but the bountiful mangrove snapper more than make up for the lack of any trout.

He noted that inshore fishing is not affected by the dead zone, which is farther out in the Gulf.

At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports feature mangrove snapper, trout on the seagrass flats around the Island, plus a few sheepshead.

At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include lots of sharks being caught in Tampa Bay at night, redfish coming in at Miguel Bay, and plenty of mangrove snapper off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge area.

Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said he caught lots of catch-and-release snook, redfish and a bunch of trout last week and he’s finding that red tide is all but gone from the area.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said he’s been putting his charters onto gag grouper, red grouper, red snapper in the deeper waters, mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, sharks and barracuda. Most of his action has resulted from water depths up to about 145 feet.

Capt. Ray Markham on the Flat Back II that “the day is definitely not the time to fish right now, but despite the heat, we’ve been able to find a few reds, snook, flounder and small trout that have been willing to eat. Some of my best days lately have been while we moved around incoming storms with heavy cloud cover. The rapidly dropping barometer, brisk winds, cooler air temperatures, and slight drop in water surface temperature seems to trigger the bite, even if the chewing lasts only a short time.” He’s working Terra Ceia Bay, plus Tampa Bay for some flounder. He also did a “wade-fish soirée with about a dozen guys from around the Tampa Bay area” last week and, as he put it on what was classed as a “one-lure tournament,” well, “while no one caught a legal fish, most did have some kind of success.” He said that things are looking up for most of the local fishing.

On my boat Magic, we caught more than 40 redfish last Thursday and Friday in Miguel Bay and near Joe’s Island. Other action included a slew of mangrove snapper and some good-size trout.

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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