Jeff Bailey, visiting from Felton, Calif., caught this 40-pound cobia while fishing offshore with Capt. Wayne Genthner of Wolfmouth Charters. The big fish was reeled in on 8-pound-test line. Other catches of the day included mackerel, lemon sharks and small grouper. Jeff was joined by his father Don for the day on the water.
Wind kicks up seas, kicks down fishing offshore
Rough weather kept a lot of the fishing action close to shore last week, but for those willing to go out in the Gulf of Mexico, kingfish were a good bet. Kings were running up to 25 pounds.
Backwater fishing for sheepshead, redfish, trout and some snook were also reported, plus some big flounder catches. Black drum are also a good bet from the piers on the Island.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said rough seas and strong winds kept most of the offshore boats at the dock last week, but inshore fishing was good for sheepshead. Whiting and pompano are a good bet in the passes, and redfish are being caught in the canals.
Tom at the Rod & Reel Pier said fishers there caught some small redfish, black drum, a couple nice-sized snook and a bonnethead shark last week.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said sheepshead have been a good catch for pier anglers, as well as a few mackerel, small mangrove snapper, black drum and some snook at night.
Capt. Mark Johnson at Annie's Bait and Tackle in Cortez said he's been getting his charters onto a lot of small redfish and a few big ones. He's also catching some snook in the canals, with all the backwater action coming from shrimp-baited hooks. Offshore kingfish action is good, with the run pretty much running in the 20- to 25-pound range. Grouper fishing was also good until the cold front and it's strong winds drove the boats closer to shore.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina said he took the "Biddle Boys" from Rye, N.Y., on their annual Thanksgiving trip and boated a mixed bag of redfish, snook, mangrove snapper, trout, sheepies and jack crevalle. "All of the fish were taken in Palma Sola Bay, Sarasota Bay and the beaches of Anna Maria Island," Capt. Zach said. "Shrimp was the primary bait fished on the tail of an outgoing tide and the first of an incoming tide on Friday. The cold front really dropped the water temperatures and whitebait supplies are on the wane for the winter months." He said the weather for this week should be beautiful with air temps in the 80s. "That is great for comfortable fishing, but the best thing right now would be for the winter pattern to set in firmly and reinforce that style of fishing for the next couple of months," he added.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said sheepshead and snapper are being caught by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay, black drum and redfish are in the Manatee River, and there are lots of snook coming out of Terra Ceia Bay.
At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include a slow mackerel bite right now, as the water temperatures drop. There are good reports of reds coming out of Miguel Bay, though, as well as sheepshead by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge ship channel, and flounder fishing has really picked up in the past week or so.
On my boat Magic, we caught redfish, black drum and sheepshead, with most catches running small, although there were enough big reds caught to keep things interesting.
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.