|Permit this permit on board
Ken Ward of Tampa caught this 32-pound permit while fishing with Capt. Tom Chaya.
Ken Lathum of Bradenton caught a 30-inch snook and a 23-inch redfish while fishing with Capt. Gary Huffman aboard the Tuna Breath.
Bait is all over, and that makes fishing easier for either inshore or offshore action.
Tarpon are finally starting to make an appearance, and they're rolling both in the passes and out in the nearshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Farther out in the Gulf, kingfish reports are mixed, depending on which guide you're listening to, but the run should be about done by now. Grouper are still a good bet, and mackerel are taking up the slack left by the kingfish exodus.
Backwater action for trout, snook and redfish is also good, plus a few flounder and some lingering sheepshead.
Oh, and cobia are starting to hit as well.
Capt. Wayne Genthner of Wolfmouth Charters said nearshore kingfish action "is still sizzling hot, with numerous catches in the 15- to 30-pound class by my half-day clients using dead and live-wired threadfin herring fished with 6- to 12-pound tackle into chum slicks while anchored over hard bottom in state waters." He said he's also getting his clients onto huge barracuda while engaging the macks, and black tip sharks that seem to be everywhere this spring. "Cobia have been in the mix as well, plus a few almost-keeper grouper, which appear to be colonizing some of the shallow-water reefs we've been fishing." Backwater action for tarpon is scheduled in the next few days, and he's looking to use some circle-hook crabs to see what comes to the boat.
Capt. Tom Chaya of Dolphin Dreams said that tarpon fishing is picking up around the beaches and Sunshine Skyway Bridge area, and the silver kings are hitting on small crabs and large threadfin herring. A few large permit are also being caught off the St. Pete reefs, and reds and snook are providing good action in the bay.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's catching trout, redfish and snook.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said there are good reports of good-size mackerel catches offshore. Tarpon are being caught most days, plus a few cobia. Offshore action includes lots of dolphin -the fish, not Flipper - plus good snapper fishing in about 100 feet of water.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said fishers there are catching mackerel, a few cobia and some snook.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said the action there also includes some mackerel and snook. There are tarpon rolling by every day, he added, but the hookups are slim-to-none to date.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he's finding lots of snook being caught, plus some black drum and a few scattered sheepshead.
At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports include good-sized redfish in the back of Palma Sola Bay, plus a few flounder and some sheepshead.
At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include mackerel from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge area, plus redfish near Joe's Island.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidhe took John and Carole Brigham out for an enjoyable day of non-stop action with schoolie kings to 10 pounds and huge Spanish mackerel to 6 pounds off the beach of Longboat Key. "In north Sarasota Bay, they nailed a number of catch-and-release snook and keeper redfish.
On my boat Magic, we caught lots of dolphin up to 24 inches, mangrove snapper to 5 pounds, amberjack to 30 pounds, scamp to 22 inches in length and a few keeper-size gag grouper.
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.