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Date of Issue: September 06, 2007

Snook season is finally here, with big linesiders lining up

Fishing pic
Smiling red
Capt. Mark Howard and sister Cindy McClure caught a mess of redfish, including this oversize one, while fishing last week. They took fin-clips of the reds for a study by Mote Marine Laboratory and released them.
Fishing pic
Swordfish aboard
Team Galati caught a 100-pound swordfish while fishing about 125 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico during the Old Salt Loop fishing tournament. Pictured are swordfish angler Darrell Anders, right, and a Team Galati crewmember. Islander Photo: Courtesy Capt. Chris Galati

Sept. 1 marked the beginning of snook season, and the teasing linesiders that have been prevalent in the area for catch-and-release fishers are now destined for the dinner table.

Reports coming in are offering a good season.

Redfish action in the backwater is also a good bet, as are trout and some small late-season tarpon.

For offshore fishers in the Gulf of Mexico, look for snapper or grouper, with the 100-foot depths a good bet for the best catches.

Pass anglers report lots of mackerel catches, too.

Capt. Sam Kimball out of Annie’s Bait & Tackle on Cortez Road said he’s putting his charters onto mackerel, snapper, barracuda, red and gag grouper and amberjack out in the Gulf. Capt. Mark Johnson, also out of Annie’s, said his backwater charters are bringing in good catches of redfish, snook and snapper.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said fishing is good even though the temperatures are hot. He’s hearing good reports of big redfish and snapper. The reds are starting to school in the seagrass beds. Snook season started Sept. 1, and the reports of slot-limit linesiders are already starting to come in. Mangrove snapper are present along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, while offshore, grouper in about 100 feet of water are a good bet.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said the action there featured mackerel, snapper, redfish and snook.

Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said mackerel was the feature during the daytime hours, with snook at night. He also anticipated that snook season should be a good one this year.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said mangrove snapper are being caught in large numbers along the rocks by the new natural gas pipeline in Tampa Bay, some up to 20 inches in size. There are lots of snook in Terra Ceia Bay as well, he said, with shark catches coming in from in front of the bay.

At Tropic Isles Marina, reports include good catches of slot-limit redfish just outside of the marina, small tarpon to 10 pounds and lots of snapper.

Capt. Glenn Corder on the Jan Marie said he’s catching lots of mackerel, bonita and dolphin while trolling, and bottom-fishing in the Gulf is producing lots of grouper and snapper.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina said he’s catching redfish to 30-plus inches, along with numerous mangrove snapper up to 16 inches. “The snapper and some reds are being taken just about anywhere there is good structure,” he said, “and the larger reds and snook have been found on the flood tides near mangroves with abundant oyster structure nearby. On the low end of the tides you can find the same fish dropping off the nearby sandbars, especially in areas that are a little irregular in depth and contour.” He’s also catching speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, shark, bluefish, jacks, tarpon and an occasional pompano.

On my boat Magic, we caught redfish to 34 inches and limited-out on mangrove snapper on every trip, plus plenty of small snook, but finding keeper-size linesiders was tough.

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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