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Date of Issue: August 02, 2007

Look for snapper everywhere, plus lots of catch-and-release snook

Fishing pic
Man-sized tarpon catch and release
Mike McAdaragh, kneeling, of Longboat Key, caught his "height" in tarpon, 70 inches, while fishing Tampa Bay waters near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge with Capt. Mac Gregory, left, mate Colby Gregory and Gerry Slavin, who said they brought four tarpon to the boat and released them all successfully. Islander Photo: Courtesy Gerry Slavin
Fishing pic
Surprise catch
John Provencher caught this 45-pound wahoo just 30 miles off Anna Maria Island in the Gulf of Mexico while fishing with Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters.

Snapper are the hot ticket this week, both inshore and offshore. The mangrove snapper are near any structure.

Tarpon reports continue, even this late in the season, off the beaches, near Egmont Key, and even in the bays. There were reports of rolling silverkings Saturday morning by Whitfield Estates off Sarasota.

Also look for lots of catch-and-release snook just off the beaches, redfish in the bays, and improving trout action.

Catch-of-the-week honor goes to John Provencher with his 45-pound wahoo caught just 30 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico. Wahoo, like sailfish and dolphin, are usually a much deeper-water species, so to catch one this close to shore is an unusual event. Good going!

Reports out of Corky’s Live Bait & Tackle on Cortez Road include “lots and lots of sharks being caught around Bean Point, Anna Maria City Pier and off of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Most fishers were using frozen Atlantic menhadden and/or bonita and having great luck.” Go to Palma Sola Bay for redfish and trout, with a tip being to use select-size shrimp or the Redfish Magic lure. Tarpon are along the Intracoastal Waterway off Bradenton Beach and on the west side of Egmont Key, permit are in the 15-mile range in the Gulf, all hitting well with blue or pass crabs, and the Longboat Key area is good for catch-and-release snook, mangrove snapper and some black drum.

By the way, Corky's is joining Mote Marine for a redfish contest. The most fins collected and turned into Corky's by Sept. 30 will win a cooler full of goodies, and fin kits are available at the shop.

At Annie’s Bait & Tackle on Cortez Road, Capt. Mark Johnson said his inshore trips are producing reds and catch-and-release snook, with shiners and shrimp working well as bait and the best action coming from the shrimp. He’s finding mackerel here and there, plus some nice-sized trout and lots of mangrove snapper. The snapper catch is running small, but extra weight on the line gets through the little ones to the big guys near the bottom. Capt. Sam Kimball, also out of Annie’s, said he’s putting his charters onto grouper, snapper, and even some lingering kingfish.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said redfish catches “are pretty darn good at the mouth of the Manatee River,” especially near the docks. Shark fishing is excellent, and catches of tarpon continue to come in from the beaches off the Island and Egmont Key. Snapper fishing is picking up by the day, especially near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and near any artificial reefs. Snook action continues to be good off the beaches, with the best bet to hook and release a linesider being in the mornings. Just walk the beach and look in the nearshore trough just off the breaking waves.

Ted at the Rod & Reel Pier said anglers there are catching mackerel and mangrove snapper. He added that there are hundreds of snook hanging out under the pier, apparently just waiting for the start of the season.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said that he’s been finding fishing to be good. “We are catching grouper, snapper, amberjack, triggerfish, porgys and lots of dolphin (mahi-mahi, not Flipper) plus big sharks and barracuda. Recently we had a surprise catch of a 45-pound wahoo caught by John Provencher while we were fishing for grouper and snapper out about 30 miles offshore of Anna Maria Island,” Capt. Larry said. “The wahoo hit a sardine rigged for kingfish while in the rod holder. When the rod slammed down and the line was screaming out, I new the party was on. We then pulled anchor and motored toward the fish before all the 25-pound-test line ran out. We still didn’t know what kind of fish we had on until it was at the boat 40 minutes later. I told the guys, ‘This is something special.’” The fishing trip was a present for John, who will graduate from the University of Florida, and his brother Abraham, graduating from Bradenton Academy.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidthat he’s finding summer redfishing to continue to be good. “They have been encountered all over the area, and have ranged from shallow flats near the mangrove fringe and deeper haunts around docks and channels,” he said. “A number of sheepshead have been taken while using shrimp for bait in the same areas, unusual for late July. Mangrove snapper have been a common catch as well. While targeting snapper on ledges and wrecks in the bay, we have also boated a number of gag and goliath grouper, lane snapper and porgies, the latter being an unusual catch in local bay waters. Spanish mackerel are still a hot action ticket, especially in and near the mouth of Tampa Bay.” He added that there are usually a lot of shark and mackerel schools hanging around the bait. He’s predicting that tarpon action will be on the downturn, “but diehard tarponeers can still take the overgrown herring by anchoring in deep holes and fishing fresh-cut bait on the bottom.”

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 news@islander.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.

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