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Date of Issue: September 13, 2007

Reds still best bet in backwater; grouper good offshore, too

Fishing pic
Redfish to die for
Nate Davis of Plant City caught this 32-inch-long redfish while fishing with Capt. Tom Chaya aboard the Dolphin Dreams.
Fishing pic
Yahoo for this wahoo
Capt. Waldo Pardue, of Holmes Beach, caught this wahoo while on a fishing trip to Islamorada. He also boated some dolphin and tuna.

Look for redfish and snapper in the backwaters for the best action right now, although early snook season reports are promising.

Offshore fishing in the Gulf of Mexico for grouper and snapper is also good. There are some reports of dolphin, wahoo and amberjack coming from the offshore anglers as well.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said snook season started with a bang, with good reports of keeper-size fish along the Island beaches. There are plenty of redfish coming from the seagrass flats in the bays, he said, with best results coming from lower tides. Offshore action for dolphin, wahoo and tuna is good for those willing to troll for the fish, and bottom fishing for grouper and snapper is great at the 100-foot depths.

Capt. Sam Kimball, out of Annie’s Bait & Tackle on Cortez Road, said he’s putting his charters onto grouper, snapper, mackerel, triggerfish and amberjack. Capt. Mark Johnson, also out of Annie’s, said his backwater fishing is producing good snook fishing, as well as a few redfish. He added that he’s finding snapper to be almost everywhere.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said there are lots of snapper catches, plus redfish, yellowtail and some 37-inch snook being caught at the pier.

Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said there are some linesiders being caught at night, plus mackerel, snapper and jacks being reeled in during the day.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said the big catches he’s seeing are snapper, redfish and snook, with some really big linesiders being caught in the Manatee River.

At Tropic Isle Marina, reports include redfish coming out of Terra Ceia Bay, snapper near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and snook from Miguel Bay.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said he’s finding fishing to be good. “We are catching a variety of fish - gag and red grouper, scamp, American red snapper, mangrove snapper, cobia, kingfish, sharks and bonita.” He took Brian Judd of Bradenton out last week, who hooked a wahoo that broke the line. He’s finding the best action to be about 40 to 50 miles offshore. “Fishing is improving daily as we move closer to fall,” Capt. Larry added.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina said that the summer’s overall fishing action “has been above average. Thankfully, there has been no red tide problems, so the water quality is as about as good as I've seen it. A lack of heavy summer rains in the estuary has the water temperatures way up, but the lack of rain with its attendant runoff of nutrients has more than likely helped with no algae blooms to speak of.” He said that the best catches last week were redfish, mangrove snapper, snook and trout, with reds running up in the 30-plus-inch range. “Snook have been a little tough to catch during the daylight hours,” he noted, “with most running small and keepers hard to come by. The speckled trout are scattered but numerous, running on the small side but perseverance will pay off with some slot fish and a few gators.” He’s also catching jacks, big ladyfish, bluefish, mackerel and sharks in Sarasota Bay, Palma Sola Bay and Anna Maria Sound.

On my boat Magic, we’ve caught more than 20 redfish on every trip this week, some better than 30 inches in length. There are also lots of mangrove snapper to 15 inches around as well, and we got one keeper-size snook.

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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