|First cast, and from a kayak!
Tom Dorton of Grand Rapids, Mich., caught this 39-inch snook before sunrise on the first cast of the day while kayak fishing with Capt. Jim Nelson. They were using Exude RT Slugs as bait.
Congratulations to Team Galati for taking first place in the Offshore Division of last weekend's 23rd Annual Crosthwait Memorial Fishing Tournament.
Team Galati, fishing out of Galati Marine in Anna Maria, took the first place spot with 578 points. The win saw the heaviest-ever fish caught in the tourney, a 259-pound warsaw grouper, as well as a sailfish, a 31-pound tarpon, 28-pound blackfin tuna, and a 21-pound gag grouper.
They fished as far as 134 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.
The team is headed by Capt. Chris Galati, and fishes from a 42-foot Cabo. The first-place honor included a check for $5,000.Kingfish action offshore has started to wane, but cobia are starting to show up in some numbers to take the place of the big fast-moving fish.
Snook and redfish are a great bet in the backwater, with a few sheepshead still roaming by the docks and pilings.
But it's tarpon that are the mystery. There are lots of fish being spotted rolling in the passes and off the beaches, but no reports of hookups are coming in as yet.
At the Rod & Reel Pier, reports include lots of yellowtail jack, mackerel, some sheepshead and some oversized snook being caught last week. There were also some cobia and barracuda hookups, and lots of tarpon being sighted but not caught off the deck.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said anglers are catching mackerel, sheepshead and snook at night and a few cobia were spotted moving past the pier. No catches on the cobia, though.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's putting his charters onto catch-and-release snook, redfish and trout, with artificial bait working the best for him for the bigger catches.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said there are still some reports of kingfish coming from offshore, but the run is mostly done. Snook are a good bet in the backwater, and a few cobia were caught last week.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he's seeing lots of small snook being caught, plus some flounder, black drum and redfish in Miguel Bay, as well as mackerel by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he's catching kingfish, snook and redfish, plus some really big linesiders.
At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports include lots of big snook near Perico Island just north of the Anna Maria Island Bridge, plus some redfish. Boaters are also reporting lots of Spanish mackerel just offshore.
At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include lots of mackerel on incoming tides in the morning, plus a few flounder and some sheepshead.
Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said he's catching reds and snook out of Terra Ceia Bay. "Tarpon are working their way onto the beaches and near Egmont Key," he said, and "kingfish are still in good numbers about 15 miles out near the shipping channel in Tampa Bay."
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidhe's getting snook up to 30 inches, "hefty Spanish macks and bluefish," plus scattered reds and trout. "Tarpon are beginning to show all across the area," he added, and "look for an increase in shark activity along with the arrival of the silver kings."
On my boat Magic, we caught our limit of redfish on most trips out, plus some snook and lots of mackerel.
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.