|Wild cobia catch
Jerry Horton and First Mate Jarrod Vinyard with one of the cobia caught aboard Show Me The Fish Charters with Capt. Larry McGuire.
Good fishing for grouper offshore, reds in backwaters
With the air and water temperatures dropping, fishing has really improved in the past week. Inshore fishing for redfish and snook is great right now, and trout catches are also being reported, although the trout seem to be running a little on the small side.
Offshore action for grouper and snapper is great in about 100 feet of water.
The affects of red tide appear to have dissipated in the past few days, and lets hope that the bloom has died off.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's had "a great week on the waters of this past week. No affects of red tide were evident inshore and some really great catches were logged." Capt. Zach said he took three fishers visiting from the United Kingdom out and caught snook to 32 inches, plus numerous releases in the 25-inch range. Reds were numerous and ranged in size to 30 inches. "Most of the action was at the top of an incoming tide and the first of an outgoing tide in the Manatee River, Terra Ceia Bay and Palma Sola Bay," he advised. "Whitebait and small pinfish produced most of the fish found near mangrove shorelines and oyster bars." He also caught trout, Spanish mackerel, flounder and large jacks a variety of locations in Anna Maria Sound and southeast Tampa Bay.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said fishers there are catching a few snapper, some sheepshead and snook, and a couple of redfish. Whitebait has also started to school around the pilings, he added.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he put his charters onto snook, redfish and trout last week, using whitebait for the better hookups.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said fishing offshore in the Gulf of Mexico for grouper and snapper has been excellent. Best action seems to be in about 100 feet of water, 30 miles or more out. Inshore action for snook is fair, but redfishing is excellent right now and trout are running well, although they seem to be on the small side.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said anglers are catching sheepshead, snapper and snook at night. "Not a lot of anything," he said, "but a little bit of everything."
At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports include snook returning to Sarasota Bay. There are lots of mangrove snapper and redfish hanging around the mouth of the Manatee River, and trout are thick near the Perico Bay seagrass flats.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said there are plenty of redfish being caught now on the falling tides. Mangrove snapper are still lurking near the Tampa Bay shipping channels, and he's heard of a few good-size snook being caught as well from the bays.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said snook and reds were his best bets last week, plus lots of small snook with a few big ones mixed in. He's predicting the fishing to really pick up as the weather continues to cool.
At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include redfish being caught using darker-colored artificial lures, plus mangrove snapper from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Piers. There were no mackerel catches last week, though.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said a trip last Friday put his charters onto a big school of cobia. One hookup and one run by one big fish tangled the line in the prop, prompting First Mate Jarrod Vinyard to dive overboard to untangle the line - and kept the fish on. Other action last week included grouper and snapper.
On my boat Magic, we were able to catch redfish on every trip last week, with most in the 26-inch range, as well as snook to 28 inches in length.
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.