Fishing still great in bays, Gulf, passes
|Fish, not 'Flipper'
Larry Bethke of Bradenton caught this nice-sized dolphin, offered on many restaurant menus as mahi-mahi, in about 210 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico while fishing with Capt. Larry McGuire. The trip also produced grouper, snapper and amberjack.
Nick Kohlmann, 16, of Champagne Ill., caught this 27-inch speckled trout on whitebait while fishing with Capt. Mark Howard aboard Sumotime.
With the weather finally cooperating, fishing is just getting better both inshore and out in the Gulf of Mexico.
Trout, redfish, catch-and-release snook and snapper are thick in the bays. Flounder are also present.
In the passes, look for Spanish mackerel, a few pompano and mangrove snapper.
Oh, and mangrove snapper also are out in the Gulf, plus good grouper catches.
Tarpon are still around, and starting to move around. They’re off the beach still, moving into the passes, around the bays, throughout Tampa Bay and just about anywhere you want to cast a line for them.
And don’t forget that you’ll need a $9 fishing permit to fish from shore starting Aug. 1.
Danny Stasny at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he’s been seeing a lot of tarpon on the beach — not big schools, but pods of two or three moving around. “You have to be stealthy,” Danny warned, and shiners are working best. He even caught a big tarpon on the bulkhead last week while trout fishing. Snook are still off the beaches, a stronger showing than in the bays so far. Offshore action is still good for grouper and snapper.
Capt. Mark Howard of SumoTime Fishing Charters said everything cooperated for some great fishing last week: good weather, good tides and good bites. “Trout action has been exceptional with many fish more than 20 inches long,” he said, adding that the biggest trout landed on a charter was 27 inches and 7 pounds by Nick Kohlmann of Champagne, Ill. Capt. Mark is also putting his charters onto redfish and mangrove snapper.
Capt. Rick Gross said he’s been putting his charters onto mangrove snapper and Spanish mackerel both in the bays and around the passes, plus some flounder.
At the Rod & Reel Pier in Anna Maria, Bob Kilb said fishers are reeling up a few mangrove snapper, mackerel, black drum and redfish.
At the Anna Maria City Pier, Rocky Corby said things were a little slow of late, although there were still some catches of mangrove snapper and mackerel, “but no real excitement.”
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said he’s found offshore fishing is great this summer. He’s catching monster red grouper, with the best action in about 120 feet and deeper for the bigger fish. He’s also catching gag and scamp grouper, American red, mangrove, yellowtail and lane snapper, plus tilefish and mahi-mahi, as well as seeing amberjack, permit, cobia, barracuda and a variety of sharks. He predicts August will be a great time to catch school dolphin in 100-plus feet of water, with the big mahi-mahi out in the 150-foot depths. “We like to troll skirted bally-ho at about 5 knots at this time of the year,” Capt. Larry said. “Using the trolling method, you can certainly catch wahoo, swordfish, billfish and blackfin tuna. It’s both exciting and intense!”
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina in Cortez said he took Greg Bridgewater, grandson Ty and son-in-law Robert, all of West Virginia, on a half-day outing last week. The trip offshore didn’t work as planned, although Spanish mackerel and some grouper in the 30- to 40-foot depths were caught just west of Longboat Pass. Back in the bays, they went after trout and redfish with little results until hitting Palma Sola Bay, where they found “a respectable catch of mangrove snapper and redfish. A decent-sized snook was hooked and lost at the same location.” He was using small pilchards and pinfish. Capt. Zach said tarpon are “all over Longboat Pass, Sarasota Bay and Palma Sola. It’s the time of the summer when schools of spawning tarpon begin to break up and stage along the edges of deep bay channels and in dredge holes. The largest tarpon I’ve personally caught was in August 2001just east of the Longboat Bridge on a small, live ladyfish tossed into the channel. We were fishing mangrove snapper on a channel-edge ledge.” Tarpon in the bay, by golly!
Capt. Terry Frankford aboard the Reelin and Chillin charters said he had a great week, with lots of redfish caught near mangroves, in the potholes in seagrass beds and around structure. Most of the catch was in the slot limit, with a few oversized spotties caught. He also put his charters onto mangrove snapper, sheepshead and pompano.
Good luck and good fishing.
Fishing news and photos are welcome and may be submitted to Paul Roat by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.