Chuck Bittinger, left, John McCarthy and Ken Boggs are pictured with a sailfish Boggs boated last week while fishing with Capt. Larry McGuire on Show Me The Fish Charters. The big sail was caught and released only about 12 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.
Backwater action for catch-and-release snook remains a good bet, with redfish also starting to turn on.
Kingfish are still running strong offshore.
And this is the time of year when the Loop Current in the Gulf of Mexico tends to migrate close to shore. Big fish move in closer than usual, too, as Ken Boggs witnessed when he boated a sailfish about 12 miles out one day last week.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said he's been catching lots of kingfish, amberjack, blackfin tuna, mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, vermillion snapper, and lots of sharks. He also caught a 7-foot-long sailfish about 12 miles out, with a blue runner used as bait. "We were fishing for kingfish when I hooked the fish and handed the rod off to Ken Boggs to make the catch. Ken, a lifelong resident of Bradenton, had never seen a live sailfish."
At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, Capt. Ed Palino said he caught some 24-inch-long redfish at the mouth of Palma Sola Bay last week. He's seeing "tons of snook, but it's hard to get them to bite." He's using spoons or whitebait for the best backwater action. He's also getting into some tarpon by Egmont Key and near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. He also offered a good fish tale, saying he watched "a kid in a kayak catch a shark as big as his boat. It gave him quite a ride."
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's been putting his charters onto catch-and-release snook to 29 inches, redfish to 24 inches and sea trout to 17 inches. Bait is a mixed bag, he said, with lots of it out there in lots of different species. He's seeing tarpon by the Skyway, and the fish are starting to move off the beaches.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said anglers there have been catching mackerel snook and big jacks, plus they had a couple of tarpon hookups but no catches as yet.
Dave Sork at the Anna Maria City Pier said the action has been good on bluefish, jacks and mackerel. Tarpon are hanging around the pier - he said he spotted a pod of at least 20 one day last week - but there haven't been any catches as yet. He did add that the dolphin shows have been spectacular of late.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidbefore the cool front it was snook, snook, and more snook. "Numerous linesiders were boated and released up to 34 inches," he said. "After the front, the snook action cooled for a couple of days but big Spanish mackerel and trout filled in quite nicely."
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.