|Artificials do work
Capt. Ray Markham has graphically illustrated that artificial lures do work to catch snook.
Click on image to enlarge
Snook season starts out with big 'gulp' of fish taking bait
Snook season has started out on an excellent note, with lots of big, hungry linesiders coming onto the hooks from most of the bays in the area. There is also some great backwater action produced by redfish and big trout.
Offshore fishing for grouper and snapper is also excellent for anglers willing to go at least 30 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's said he made it out a few times last week, catching snapper, snook, reds and trout. "The snapper were the only volume catch," he said, adding that "fishing seems to be kind of inconsequential considering the circumstances to the north. I guess in time it may be therapeutic, however." Capt. Zach also added another sobering comment: "The fuel issue is getting out of hand as well."
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said inshore fishing is hot right now, with a "very good opening day for snook season" Sept. 1, and reports of big linesiders. Redfish action is also good on the outgoing tides. Offshore fishing action for bottom fishing is also very good, but the very best reports are coming from fishers venturing more than 30 miles out into the Gulf. Grouper and snapper are the catches out there.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he has been catching some nice-size snook on artificial bait, mostly Mister Twister Exudes, near Terra Ceia Bay and Miguel Bay. He's also bringing back redfish to 22 inches and trout to 20.
Capt. Ray Markham said that he's been catching "a variety of fish - snook, trout, redfish, flounder, jack crevalle, ladyfish, and juvenile gag grouper were on the list. By far, snook and redfish highlighted the catches. Few trout were in the catch, and is seems that trout were hurt tremendously by previous bouts with red tide. Numbers and sizes of fish have been way down compared to the norm here in Terra Ceia, but still, it's possible to catch and release a couple dozen trout on a day's fishing, but with the sizes being down, I try not to target these fragile fish." He's been working in Bishop's Harbor, Joe's Bay and Champaign Bayou.
At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports include lots of keeper-size snook in Palma Sola Bay and near the Perico Island shoreline at higher tides. The redfish seem to be scattered, but mangrove snapper are still lurking under the Anna Maria Island Bridge.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said anglers there are catching lots of redfish, black drum, mangrove snapper and some snook at night.
Justin Morrison at the Anna Maria City Pier said fishers are getting into some reds to 24 inches in length, a few snook in the mornings and mangrove snapper almost all the time.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he's been targeting snook every day since the season opened with good results - limit catches every day. Trout and redfish are also plentiful and hungry, with most of his action coming from north of the Manatee River.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said reports of snook are coming in, some fish stretching to 34 inches. He's also seeing lots of mangrove snapper coming from near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include redfish near Joe's Island on the higher tides, with the best action coming near the mangroves. There are some nice-size trout coming from the front of Miguel Bay and some keeper-snook in Terra Ceia Bay.
On my boat Magic, we've been catching up to 20 redfish on every trip this week, but only a couple of keeper-size snook. Big trout to 21 inches helped round out the week.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.