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Date of Issue: August 09, 2007

Rain drops water temps, turns on fishing

Fishing pic
Good linesider catch
Seth Walter, 8, and Capt. Mike Giltner of Old Salt Fishing Charters caught and released this snook while fishing in the backwater recently.

Lots of rain has dropped water temps, resulting in an upturn in fishing action.

In the offshore action, the farther out you go the better the fishing is, with lots of reports of dolphin, wahoo and tuna for those willing to troll for their dinner.

Bottom fishing for snapper and grouper is about as good as it gets in the Gulf of Mexico now.

Backwater action for redfish is excellent. Snook are just teasing us until the Sept. 1 start of the season, but there are some 40-inch-plus catches being caught and released.

Trout are scattered and small, but reports still come in of some 22-inch fish being caught.

And tarpon are still out there, mostly around Egmont Key.

At Corky's Live Bait & Tackle on Cortez Road, it was "another week of excellent fishing, even though the fishers had to contend with quite a bit of rain," according to reports. There were lots of catch-and-release snook by Longboat Key, plus numerous mangrove snapper, some black drum and mackerel. Some tarpon were still around and are definitely attracted by the blue and/or pass crabs, with the best areas being in the Intracoastal waterway and the west side of Egmont Key. There are also redfish to be had in the Palma Sola Bay area, and a few trout, but most trout were on the small side. Shark continue to be plentiful around Bean Point, Anna Maria City Pier and off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

From Annie's Bait & Tackle on Cortez Road, Capt. Sam Kimball said he's doing well with big mangrove snapper, lane snapper, amberjack to 30 pounds, red and gag grouper, barracuda and mackerel. Capt. Mark Johnson, also out of Annie's, said his backwater trips are producing lots of small catch-and-release snook, redfish and lots of mangrove snapper.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said offshore trolling is producing lots of dolphin, wahoo, kingfish and tuna. Bottom fishing in the Gulf is great for snapper right now, with some coming in up to 10 pounds. Inshore action is redfish and snapper, Bill said, with trout being hard to find and catch. He added that last week's rain dropped the water temperature and really turned on the fishing action.

Capt. Thom Smith said his charters are catching lots of redfish to 25 inches. Artificial bait is his best bet, since he's finding whitebait hard to come by. He's also reeling up some catch-and-release snook.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said there are lots of mangrove snapper catches during the day of late, catch-and-release snook at night - one linesider was measured at 33 inches - as well as mackerel and jacks.

Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said he's seeing mackerel, sheepshead, mangrove snapper, yellowtail jacks and a few small sharks come onto the deck at the pier.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said black drum are an excellent catch in the Manatee River, and there are lots of mangrove snapper around the docks. And for snook? Johnson said some youthful anglers caught and released a monster 43-inch snook in the cut last week.

At Tropic Isles Marina, reports include redfish to 22 inches from Miguel Bay, snapper by the Skyway Bridge, and big sharks in front of Terra Ceia Bay.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidit was a "wet and wild week for sure." He took Jim Barnett, Bill Key and 12-year-old Mike Barnett from Charlotte, N.C., out last week, where they had "a non-stop catch of redfish from 20-25 inches. Conservatively, 35 reds were brought to the boat, taken with any type of bait in the well, including finger mullet, shrimp, pinfish and whitebait. We left the reds hitting and could have hooked 100 if we had not gotten tired of catching them." He also put his charter onto mangrove snapper, trout, ladyfish, flounder, small gag grouper and Goliath grouper.

Later in the week, Bill Karr from Bradenton and Jack Haller from the Chicago area hooked some huge snook. "Jack landed his, a broad-shouldered 40-incher," Capt. Zach said, but "sadly Bill couldn't keep an even larger specimen out of the mangroves." He's also finding that trout are out there, but generally small ones, up to 22 inches, plus he's catching bluefish, ladyfish, sail cats, Spanish mackerel, small shark and small cobia.

On my boat Magic, we put Lewis Christmen and Gwyen Matthews onto plenty of redfish to 26 inches last week, plus plenty of mangrove snapper.

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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