Darlene and Jim Briner of Bradenton were fishing in Sarasota Bay when Jim hooked and released this 39-inch snook. Just after the first one hit the water, Jim connected with a 27-inch linesider. "Two in one day," Darlene said. "What fun we had that day!"
Mackerel action still strong; reds, snapper too
Mackerel, snapper and redfish are still the best bets right now, but things should start to change for the better as the water gets colder. Look for kingfish and cobia to come on strong any day now, as well as grouper to start moving into shallower waters offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said fishers there are catching redfish, black drum, mackerel, snapper, a few small snook and lots of flounder. Jacks are "tearing up the bait around the pier,Ó Bob added.
Cliff Alcorn at the Anna Maria City Pier reported that snook are being caught there at night, mackerel are pretty thick in the mornings, plus there are lots of yellowtail jacks, some snapper, a few flounder and one cobia was hooked but lost.
Lee Gause at Perico Harbor Bait & Tackle said boaters going out of the marina report lots of mackerel being caught near the beaches and by the offshore artificial reefs. Trout seem to be running on the small side in the bays now, but redfish are still thick and big, with best results coming from near the mangrove islands.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said snook, redfish, trout and flounder were all caught on his boat, with some of the linesiders of keeper size, the reds to 27 inches and trout to 18 inches in length.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said even though the air temperature has dipped to the high 60s, the fish still seem to think its summer Ñ but probably not for much longer. Big snook are still hard to get, Bill said, but redfish are "all over the place.Ó Offshore trolling for kingfish is still not producing much action, but the run is due any day. Grouper are finally starting to move to nearshore waters in the Gulf, he said, and mangrove snapper are pretty much at their peak right now. Mackerel fishing remains excellent, Bill added.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said there are still a lot of redfish in Terra Ceia Bay, plus some really big jacks. There are also reports of 10-pound-plus flounder, mackerel and trout being caught.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said his morning charters are producing lots of mackerel and snapper, while the afternoon trips are producing lots of snook and redfish on the higher tides.
Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said he's catching lots of redfish and trout in Sarasota Bay, with snook hanging out near Sisters Key. He's also getting into lots of mackerel just off the beaches.
Capt. Matt Denham on the Rip-Tide out of Catchers said he's still going farther out in the Gulf, to the 160-foot-depths, to catch mutton snapper, margates and lane, yellowtail and mangrove snapper. Grouper fishing is also excellent for him now, but again, it's farther out in the Gulf than usual for the best results.
Capt. Sam Kimball on Legend charters out of Annie's Bait & Tackle in Cortez said he's catching gag and red grouper in about 50 feet of water offshore. Kingfish should show up any day now, Capt. Sam predicted, although he's still catching lots of Spanish mackerel.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's said mackerel and snook are along the beaches off the Island, cobia are starting to show up, and he hooked a couple of kings, but the water temperature is still a little warm for the big run. Trout and redfish from the backwater remain his mainstays right now.
On my boat Magic, we have been catching lots of small snook, some keeper-size reds to 30 inches, as many as 50 trout per trip and we're also picking up some flounder up to 20 inches in size.
Good luck and good fishing.
Good luck and good fishing.
Capt. Mike Heistand is a 20-year fishing guide. Call him at 779-9607 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.