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Date of Issue: October 11, 2007

Happy fall fishing: grouper, snapper offshore, reds, snook in bays

Fishing pic
Spotting a good catch
Toni Lyon caught this redfish while fishing the backwaters in Terra Ceia Bay.
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Fishing is starting to really pick up as fall continues to fall upon anglers.

Offshore action in the Gulf of Mexico continues to be great for grouper and snapper. There are also some amberjack and mackerel waiting out there for anglers.

Backwater action includes redfish, snook, trout and some flounder. Sheepshead action is starting to pick up off the fishing piers, too.

Capt. Sam Kimball out of Annie’s Bait & Tackle on Cortez Road said he’s been putting his charters onto grouper and snapper, plus amberjack, banded rudderfish and barracuda. Capt. Mark Johnson, also out of Annie’s, said his backwater charters are reeling in lots of snook and redfish, as well as mackerel and snapper out in the Gulf.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said snapper fishing offshore in the Gulf is great, with fish up to 5 pounds coming in within 18 miles of shore. There is also a good grouper “bite” in about 100 feet of water in the Gulf. As to the backwater, he suggests the best action to be snook and redfish, as well as snapper, trout and some flounder, which are starting to take the angler’s bait.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said anglers at the pier are catching mackerel, snapper, snook at night and lots of ladyfish, jacks and a few sheepshead.

Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said fishers there have been having a lot of fun catching snook at night, mackerel during the day, plus some flounder and a few snapper.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina in Cortez said he’s finding backwater fishing to be “a little squirrely this past week. While we were seeing a bunch of snook and redfish all over the area, it was difficult to get cooperation with them despite near ideal tides and weather conditions. Usually, if you have a variety of baits to offer, the flats fish will take one of them, but they didn't seem real interested in anything.” He said that beach action was better, with Spanish mackerel, juvenile and school kingfish, blacktip sharks up to 50 pounds, plus mangrove snapper.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he’s seeing lots of redfish coming to his dock from Terra Ceia Bay, with the lower tides producing the best catches. There are also some trout starting to be caught, and oversize snook are a popular species in the Manatee River, especially at the cut.

At Tropic Isles Marina, reports include lots of redfish. The reds are being targeted and fishers and hitting the mark on almost every trip out. Mackerel are also a good bet, especially near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge channels in Tampa Bay.

On my boat Magic, we caught more than 20 redfish on every trip out this week, plus some keeper-size snook and mangrove snapper.

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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