|Doubled up on reds
Mike Manassa and Frank Herald caught this pair of redfish while fishing in Anna Maria Sound while on a kayak excursion with Capt. Jim Nelson of Paddle and Cast Kayak Charters.
Kingfish show up offshore; reds, sheepies, whiting in bays
Warm Gulf of Mexico water has produced an odd spurt of kingfish catches offshore. Grouper and snapper fishing remains excellent out there as well.
Spotted trout, sheepshead, redfish and a few catch-and-release snook are good bets for the backwater fishers.
At Corky's Live Bait and Tackle Shop on Cortez Road, reports include several sharks at better than 5 feet in length caught off the north end of Anna Maria Island, using frozen bait. Fishers there also caught and released redfish, spotted trout, sheepshead, flounder, ladyfish and whiting on live shrimp. For canal anglers, best bets included sheepshead, redfish, grouper and trout. At the Manatee River, action includes redfish, spotted trout, bluefish, whiting and snook, all caught on live shrimp.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said mackerel and kingfish made a surprise showing last week, due in part to the warmer Gulf waters. Grouper and snapper are excellent catches offshore as well. Sheepshead from around the docks, with redfish, top the backwater action.
At the Rod & Reel Pier, reports include steady fishing for sheepshead, flounder and whiting.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said he's seeing lots of sheepshead and mackerel, but only a few catch-and-release snook.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said reports coming into the shop include catch-and-release snook and redfish from Terra Ceia Bay, lots of mangrove snapper in the cut, and black drum around the docks in the Manatee River.
At Annie's Bait & Tackle in Cortez, Capt. Mark Johnson said he's putting his charters onto lots of redfish and sheepshead. Offshore, Capt. Sam Kimball said it's grouper, snapper and some kingfish for his clients.
At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include sheepshead and snapper from the ship channels in Tampa Bay, and a few redfish caught in Miguel Bay. Snook are around the docks in the upper reaches of Terra Ceia Bay as well.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said he started out the new year with big gag and red grouper, mangrove snapper, sharks, bonita, triggerfish, hogfish and lots of atypical kingfish to 35 pounds. On a special youth trip with 15-year-old Kristan Vinyard, and 6-year-old Nathan Vinyard, both from Prairie Grove, Ark., hog snapper and 16 kings came to the boat on what was their first-ever saltwater fishing trip. Action was about 35 miles out in the Gulf.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina said "exceptionally benign weather has certainly made angling pursuits comfortable. When the action has been on, it's really good and, conversely, when its tough, it's super tough." He said the bulk of his action has been with redfish, sheepshead, and trout - both spotted and gray. He's using live shrimp for the best action. "The reds have been found mostly around dock structure in bayous and canals and running to 24 inches," he said, while sheepshead are in the boat channels where there is hard bottom. Spotted sea trout are in both deep bay seagrass beds and hard bottom along the beaches. He's also catching Spanish mackerel, pompano, black drum, mangrove snapper, bonita and bluefish.
On my boat Magic, we've been catching lots of black drum, whiting, sheepshead to 4 pounds and lots of small snook, plus a few keeper-size redfish.
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.