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Date of Issue: March 30, 2005

Fishing

Yet another storm has yet again hammered Manatee County, yet again hampering fishing.

All three of the Anna Maria Island fishing piers have sustained damage due to either Hurricanes Frances, Ivan or Jeanne. Most were closed Monday - Bradenton Beach's pier restaurant due to be closed for a while due to restaurant damage, although the "fishing, walking and enjoying" part is still open and free for all according to a city employee.

As for the rest of the fishing action, everybody seemed to have spend the last few days doing what is the most touted word used on TV these days: "Hunkered down."

I did get out for a trip last week with Lewis Chrismen and Gwne Mathews of Palmetto Point, and we caught several redfish, about six keeper-size trout and one nice-size flounder.

Capt. Thom Smith out of Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he was able to get ont one day last week as well and fished on some "low, low" tides and did well with reeling in about a dozen redfish to 23 inches, trout to 17 inches, snook to 28 inches, plus a few flounder to 17 inches.

Let's hope that the weather improves in the next few days.

And don't forget the long-postponed Eighth Annual De Soto Fishing Tournament, rescheduled for Oct. 1-3, starting with a captain's meeting at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, at the Bradenton Yacht Club, 4307 Snead Island Road, Palmetto, followed by a party and with offshore fishing to start after the meeting. The party is should run until 11:30 that night.

Inshore and nearshore action will commence at 7 a.m. Oct. 2, with a shotgun start at the mouth of the Manatee River. Weigh-in will be at the Bradenton Yacht Club beginning at 11 a.m. Oct. 3.

There will be offshore, nearshore and inshore divisions, and cash awards at $5,000 for first place awarded in each, as well as lesser prizes for other place-winners.

Entry fees are set at $275 for inshore, $400 for nearshore, and $500 for offshore boats and $100 for junior division vessels.

The fundraising event by sponsoring Hernando De Soto Historical Society Inc. benefits a host of other agencies, including college scholarships.

For more information about the fishing tourney, call 747-1998.

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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