Snapper 'everywhere' right now, plus late-season tarpon in bay
Walter Piepsney of Fort Lauderdale caught this shark and about 10 more up to 50 pounds, while fishing in Tampa Bay with Capt. Mark Howard.
Late summer fishing is producing a huge number of mangrove snapper,
both inshore and out in the Gulf of Mexico. The big,
tasty fish are being caught on both artificial and live bait.
fishing is still excellent for grouper, and there are
some early kingfish being caught, well before the annual fall “run.”
Backwater action for redfish, snook, trout
and flounder is also good.
And then there are the tarpon,
which are schooled in the bays at an uncharacteristic
time but are turning into a good sight for fishers.
At Annie’s Bait & Tackle on
Cortez Road, Chris Smith said that fishing has been
good. “There are plenty
of mangrove snapper around, plus redfish and snook.” He said that there
was what looked like a 150-pound tarpon and another 80-pound silver king in the
basin recently near the shop, but neither fish would hit on any bait.”
Aaron Lowman at Island
Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes
Beach said there is currently “a hot snapper bite, a few reds and grouper and
big red and mangrove snapper” coming from offshore in the Gulf between
15 and 30 miles out. He predicts the kingfish run to start within the next two
or three weeks in the Gulf as well. Closer to shore, snook are still being caught
along the beaches, but should start to move back into the bays soon. Lures are
working best for linesider catches, he said, with small whitebait also serving
its purpose of putting a snook on a hook. Backwater fishing for reds is getting
better by the day, as the fish are starting to school, especially in the Manatee
River and in Palma Sola Bay. Terra Ceia Bay is starting to get thick with snook,
with reports coming in of fish up to 15 pounds. Aaron also said that flounder
are also a good catch in the deeper waters of the bays, with artificial bait
working best to catch the flatties.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel
Pier said that fishing has been good. “I’ve never seen so
many mangrove snapper,” he said, “adding that there are catches of
mangrove snapper, snook and an occasional redfish coming to the dock.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna
Maria City Pier said that 80-year-old Jim Hall caught a 28-inch-long
snook at the pier last week. Tarpon are hot at the
pier, with Jesus hooking three, one of which was better than 140 pounds
and that jumped three times before it lost the hook, and another silver
king coming in at about an estimated 80 pounds. “I’ve
now got 100-pound-test line,” Jesus said. Pier fishers are catching lots
of mangrove snapper, blue runners and small redfish when not catching the huge
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show
Me The Fish Charters said he’s finding fishing to be great. “We
are catching gag and red grouper, scamp, kingfish, American red snapper, mangrove
snapper, sharks and catch-and-release Goliath grouper,” he said. “The
best hookup this week goes to Steve Krick from Chicago, when he hooked a 6-foot-long
sailfish that hit a threadherring while we were catching grouper. The sailfish
jumped six times, then ran out all the line off the reel and broke off while
we were pulling up the anchor to catch up with it. It was a wild and crazy trip.” All
the action took place in about 110 feet of water in the Gulf offshore of Anna
Capt. Zach Zacharias on
the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina said
he’s putting his charters onto lots of big Spanish mackerel and mangrove
snapper, as well as juvenile gag grouper, bluefish, sharks and cobia. “All
of the action came from fishing reefs and wrecks with pilchards, Spanish
sardines, pinfish and shrimp,” he said. Fishing in Palma Sola Bay,
northern Sarasota Bay and Anna Maria Sound produced some pretty good speckled
trout action, with lots of little ones and some within the 22-inch range,
as well as ladyfish, bluefish and some jacks. “Redfishing fell off
for me last week,” Capt. Zach said. “The areas that I had been
doing really well in came up kind of short, but it’s a transition
time and it’s just a matter of time before I zero in on some pre-spawn
schools of big reds. Snook have been a tough catch some days but lively
finger mullet have been the ticket for landing slot-sized snook in the
past two weeks. The snook are in transition as well and will stage up in
and near the mouths of the local bays, bayous, rivers and creeks for the
next couple of months.” He also noticed a big school of tarpon hanging
out south of the Cortez Bridge, and has heard that pompano
are being caught in the middle grounds in Sarasota Bay.
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.