Weather slows fishing, but trout, reds, grouper still plentiful
Kevin Sorenson of St. Petersburg caught this 10-foot-long lemon shark while bay fishing last week off Holmes Beach in Anna Maria Sound on 80-pound-test line with a 5-foot leader. It took about 30 minutes to land and, after the picture was taken, was released.
Weather last week played a role in keeping fishing close to home, but wind and rain abated later in the week and allowed some good fishing.
Inshore action included trout, redfish and plenty of catch-and-release snook.
In the Gulf of Mexico, there are lots of grouper being caught, mostly small but plentiful.
Capt. Sam Kimball of Annie’s Bait & Tackle in Cortez said he’s catching grouper and snapper in the 17-22 inch range.
Capt. Mark Johnston, also out of Annie’s, said he’s catching mangrove snapper to 17 inches in the bays and lots of redfish near the mangroves on higher tides.
Danny Stasny at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said fishing was pretty good. Backwater fishing for redfish has been good. He suggests working near oyster beds on lower tides. The fish are not in big schools, he said, but they’re good size. Catch-and-release snook are still good on the beach, and big trout are being caught on the seagrass flats. Offshore action is good for lots of grouper — not big, but lots of them, Danny said. Mangrove snapper are by the docks and offshore, and seem thick by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which is about the only place tarpon are being caught these days.
Capt. Mark Howard on SumoTime Charters said rain and wind made fishing tough last week. “Look for the weather to stabilize and the fishing to turn on,” he said. He added that bait is plentiful around Key Royale, and he is using it to catch big mangrove snapper in the bays.
Ted Parky at the Rod & Reel Pier in Anna Maria said fishing has slowed. Anglers there are catching black drum, some small catch-and-release snook, some sporadic mackerel and small pompano. One fisher caught a redfish which, unfortunately, was too large to keep.
Rocky Corby at the Anna Maria City Pier reports mackerel, flounder and some snapper showing up there.
Capt. Logan Bystrom said the snook and trout fishing in the bays have been great. “We have had numerous catch-and-release snook in potholes and grassy edges using shiners for bait. The trout have been really hungry in the deeper seagrasses, resulting in many catches and releases.”
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina in Cortez said weather finally broke at the end of the week, promising a return to typical summer fishing. “On Friday, the Gonzalez family from Valrico and Anna Maria enjoyed an almost rain-free half day trip with some pretty good action with grouper, snapper, redfish, mackerel and trout. Numerous red and gag grouper were boated from a number of bay sites with hard bottom, ledges or wrecks. A 26 1/2 inch redfish was the largest fish of the day, the grouper were all non-keepers, and the mangrove snapper were pretty thick and of average size.” Earlier in the week he put his clients on some spotted sea trout within the 15-24-inch range on open, deep seagrass in North Sarasota Bay. The open flats also have been giving up big ladyfish, bluefish, and Spanish mackerel. “The redfish have been scattered but should start schooling up towards the end of July and into late summer.” Capt. Zach added that “the bays have been invaded with a plethora of small bait including Spanish sardines, and they’re great bait.”
Good luck and good fishing.
Fishing news and photos are welcome and may be submitted to Paul Roat by e-mail at email@example.com.