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Date of Issue: September 30, 2009

Go fish! Snook, reds in bays, snapper just off beaches

By Paul Roat

Reports continue to be good for snook and redfish in the backwaters. Snook still are lurking off the beaches as well.

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South proves productive for reds
Capt. Mark Howard took a trip to Charlotte Harbor with Capt. Ric Ehlis last week. Capt. Mark caught a 22-pound redfish, while Capt. Ric reeled in a 12-pound spottie, all caught on pinfish and big shiners. .

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Shark on, off
Jon Scudieri of Gardner, Ill., enjoyed the thrill of bringing a shark to the dock at the Rod & Reel Pier in Anna Maria Sept. 17 while others dangled a line or enjoyed lunch at the pier restaurant. The small shark broke off just as Scudieri prepared to bring it on deck, and he seemed pleased about it, as he pondered aloud on how to remove a hook from a shark’s mouth.
Islander Photo: Bonner Joy.

Snapper are thick on the nearshore reefs, as well as offshore, where reports of grouper as well are terrific.

And get this: Tarpon are still being caught around the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Silver kings are generally a spring fishing treat for anglers, but apparently the resident population is large enough to continue taking the bait, even this late in the year. 

As an old fishing saying goes, “take a kid fishing, and maybe one day he’ll take you fishing, too.”

A free Kid’s Fishing Contest will be held Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Bradenton Beach Historic Bridge Street Pier at the east end of the street. The event is open to youths age 5 to 12, and will run from 10 a.m. to noon.

Prizes will be awarded to cathces that are “biggest, smallest and weirdest” fish, as well as most fish.

Kids need to bring a pole only. Bait and tackle will be provided.

The fun is sponsored by Historic Bridge Street Merchants, Bridge Street Bazaar, ScenicWaves, Rotten Ralph’s Restaurant and Fish Hole.

Further information is available from Jake Spooner at Bridge Street Bazaar, 941-778-3400.

At the Rod & Reel Pier in Anna Maria, Ted Pasky took top honors for weird catch of the week: a snook caught with a kid’s round plastic dive toy — a ringer — around its neck. The linesider was of legal size, and he said it was “of kobe-beef grade” in taste since it was so tender. Outside of the fish jumping through hoops at the pier — “circus fish,” as Ted put it — are lots of snapper and redfish, most keeper-size. There are also some black drum and mackerel being caught, as well as an occasional shark and ballyhoo at night.

Capt. Mark Howard on SumoTimes Charters said fishing around Anna Maria Island has been good for his charters, with redfish, trout and snook hitting well. The fish are in the potholes on the seagrass flats, he said. Beach-area fishing is heating up, he said, since he’s catching nice-sized mangrove snapper, mackerel and grouper off artificial reefs. He also said that with fall comes shorter days and cooler nights as well as tarpon being flushed out of Tampa Bay, kingfish should start to run along the coast and grouper will move into the bays.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said redfish were a great feature in the backwaters. He advised that the big outgoing high tides were a good time to go fishing, especially around the oyster bars near Long Bar Point in upper Sarasota Bay and in the mouth of Terra Ceia Bay. The fish are big, with most in the upper-slot limit of 27 inches. Snook fishing is also good near mangroves in the bays, but there are still linesiders being caught off the beaches. Snapper catches are good on the nearshore reefs and should be an even better catch as fall starts. For offshore fishers, grouper and snapper action is terrific. And tarpon fishing by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is still a good game.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said he’s putting his charters onto red grouper and lots of sharks on his offshore trips.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina in Cortez said it’s pretty much same-same for his charters. “Out on the nearshore reefs, there has been some pretty steady action with mangrove snapper, grouper, flounder, Spanish mackerel and an occasional cobia. There’s a conspicuous lack of big bait schools out in 30- to 40-feet of water. He said he’s catching trout, snapper, reds and snook in that order in the backwaters, and said that the tides are critical for the best catches. “It appears that the best tidal stages to fish are early in a low incoming tide and during the ebb of the huge tides,” he said. And about all the rain? “The copious amount of rain and its runoff usually pushes a lot of the intolerant fresh- and brackish-water species, such as trout, flounder, mackerel, pompano, etc., out to the open bay waters and passes. Reds, snook, jacks and snapper do not mind the lower salinities, so the freshwater runoff does not really affect those species.”

Good luck and good fishing.

Fishing news and photos are welcome and may be submitted to Paul Roat by e-mail at paul@islander.org.

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