Snook season starts with flurry of linesider action
By Paul Roat
Snook season has arrived with some ferocity. Linesiders are being hooked off the beaches of Anna Maria Island, but most of the action is coming from the passes and in the bays.
Got a snook light at the end of your dock? Turn it on now and meet some new fishing friends, either finning or angling.
Redfish are starting to school in the bays. Trout are unusually small, but numerous.
The Gryboski family of Holmes Beach and Atlanta visited the 1-mile reef off Anna Maria Island Sept. 4 and hauled in some dinner fish, including these mangrove snappers. They also caught and released many undersized grouper and some Spanish mackerel. Pictured are, from left, Will, 12, mom Ruthie, and Jack, 9, an avid fisher who caught his share in spite of an arm cast. Islander Photo: David Gryboski
Offshore action continues to be great for grouper and snapper — actually, snapper are thick in the bays as well — plus, there are lots of mackerel reports.
The Second Annual Ben Gullett Mullet Invitational fishing tournament will be held Sept. 11-12 in Cortez.
Proceeds from the tournament will benefit Florida Institute For Saltwater Heritage in Cortez. Star Fish Co. and The Islander Newspaper are sponsors.
The tournament is a bit different than most fishing events. The catch is only by cast net — no rods, reels or hooks allowed.
“Only six mullet will be allowed for weigh-in,” said tournament directors Holli and Rick Gullett. “Mullet may be caught between Ruskin and Sarasota using only cast nets.”
There is also a “cast iron slam” consisting of a sheepshead and sand perch for weigh-ing and a mullet to show.
Entry fee is $150 for a two-person team by Sept. 10, with a junior division for youth aged 5 to 17 at a charge of $75.
Mandatory captain’s meeting is 6 p.m. Sept. 10 at Star Fish, 12306 46th Ave. W., Cortez. A benefit dinner and awards program is slated for 6 p.m. Sept. 12, also at Star, with all welcome to enjoy a $5 plate of mullet, smoked or fried, with all the fixings.
Further information is available at 813-633-0442 or 941-779-6693.
Capt. Mark Howard of SumoTime Fishing Charters said his clients are finding redfish to be cooperating, with many nice fish up in the bushes on a high tide. “Pinfish are the bait of choice for reds,” he said. He’s also believes that the mangrove snapper catch is at its peak right now, with most catches coming around any structure in the Gulf and bays. Snook are also biting, especially on the afternoon falling tides. Capt. Mark Johnston out of Annie’s Bait & Tackle in Cortez said his charters are finding redfish to be “piled up in the bays.” He’s also catching snook up and down the beaches and in the passes.
Capt. Sam Kimball, also out of Annie’s, said his offshore trips are producing great catches of grouper, snapper and mackerel. Danny Stasny at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said the snook bite has really turned on, mostly in the passes and the backwater. Redfish are starting to school in the bays as well — he saw pods of at least 100 in Sarasota Bay and Terra Ceia Bay last week. Trout action in the bays is good but the fish are running small. Mangrove snapper are a good bet around the inlets, Danny said, and he suggested using chum blocks to draw the fish to the fishers. Offshore action continues to be great for grouper and mackerel, with the macks hanging around bait schools offshore. He even hooked a late-season, 40-pound tarpon under the Longboat Bridge last week before it broke off.
At the Rod & Reel Pier in Anna Maria, Ted Pasky said one fisher finally hooked and released the 200-plus-pound Goliath grouper that has been moving from pier to pier at the northern tip of the Island for the past few weeks. “Keeper” action has included snook, jacks and mackerel, with lots of snapper.
At the Anna Maria City Pier,Rocky Corby said fishers there were catching lots of mangrove snapper, an occasional snook and lots of small jacks. Tarpon are still luring around the pier in the early morning, he added. Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina in Cortez said a Labor Day weekend trip with Bruce Willins and two friends from Long Island, N.Y., started in north Sarasota Bay on a low incoming tide. “The trio did well with spotted sea trout up to 25 inches,” Capt. Zach said, with most of the trout caught in 4 feet of water. The group then went offshore and caught gag and red grouper, fat mangrove snapper, flounder, and a 15-pound cobia, but no mackerel. As to snook fishing, he suggested fishing on big outgoing tides.
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.
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