Larry Bethke caught this big African pompano about 55 miles off of Anna Maria Island in the Gulf of Mexico while fishing with Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters.
Reds, snook, good inshore, with flounder starting to bite
With cooler nights and cooling water temperatures, fishing is starting to pick up and should continue to be great in the coming weeks.
Offshore catches for grouper, snapper and even some dolphin are good farther offshore in the Gulf of Mexico - figure 40 miles or so for the best action. There are also a few kingfish being caught.
Backwater fishing is good for redfish and some sea trout, although the trout are running small in size. Snook are out there, too, with some big ones and lots of smaller fighters.
Reports on red tide are generally minimal. Offshore anglers are reporting no sign of the deadly algae, while inshore fishers are saying they aren't seeing any, either, but there are some reports of the bloom near the beaches.
Best bet on red tide is to move away from it if you spot it. It can be heavy in one location and non-existent a mile or so away. Just be flexible with your fishing and you should do well on the water.
Mac Gregory at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said fishing has been "pretty good. There are lots of redfish and snapper around, and jacks and mackerel are going crazy around the piers." He said offshore fishing for dolphin and grouper isn't bad at all for those willing to venture about 40 miles or so out in the Gulf, and there are even a few straggler kingfish being brought back to the dock.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he was able to get out Sunday and did some wading in lower Tampa Bay. "We worked the potholes on a lower tide," he said, "and caught a lot of redfish to 26 inches, plus sea trout and flounder to 16 inches. Flounder are starting to show up as the water cools, but you've got to let the bait settle before you start to work it for best results." The only snook he got were small, he said, and added that the only red tide he's hearing of or seeing seems to be offshore. His catches were all made with artificial bait.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said pier fishers are catching some large snook at night, plus lots of little ones at almost any time. There are some mackerel still being caught - "not like before, though" - and some mangrove snapper. He is still seeing a few tarpon moving past the pier early in the mornings chasing mullet, and there are lots of big schools working past the pilings these days.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he's hearing of quite a few snook being caught, as well as redfish coming from "all over." There are no big trout catches coming in, but fishers are catching lots of little ones.
Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said he's catching good numbers of reds working the bars on low tide, plus large Spanish mackerel on the hard bottom and wrecks in the bay. Snook are feeding best at night around lighted docks, he added.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said he's putting his charters onto gag grouper, red grouper, scamp, amberjack, triggerfish, tilefish, barracudas and large sharks. "Fishing is good out past 15 miles," he said, "and the only trace of red tide is along the beach."
On my boat Magic, we're still catching redfish and some snook, plus a few flounder.
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.