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Date of Issue: March 30, 2005

Fishing

Mahi-mahi madness
Trever Flathman caught this 18-pound mahi-mahi while fishing with Capt. Mike Carleton aboard the "Wireless." ... and another one
Justin Gray got a dolphin, this one a 19 pounder, on the same trip out with Capt. Carleton. Both fish were caught about 25 miles offshore of the Island in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sheepshead action starting to really turn on right now

Cold weather kept lots of people safely nestled next to the docks last week, but there were a few fishing highlights for those willing to brave the winds and waves.

Redfish action in the bays continues to be good on the days one can get onto the water, with a couple reports of better than 20 catches on a trip. Flounder are also a good bet, and there are still some good-sized snook being caught.

Sheepshead are starting to get thick and big around any structures in the bays right now, and the sheepie season should start to get better and better after the weekend's cold snap.

Kingfish have pretty much passed us by, though, with only a few reports of any action in the past few days.

Lee Gause at Perico Harbor Bait & Tackle said sheepshead fishing is starting to really pick up. Shrimp are really big right now, too, and working well on those catch-and-release trout in the bays.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said he didn't have a whole lot to report, compliments of the lousy weather, but said that once the front has passed this week's fishing "will be excellent!"

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said lots of good-sized sheepshead are starting to show up around the pilings at the pier. Other fishing news of note there is some good catches of redfish, drum and a keeper-size snook.

Cliff Alcorn at the Anna Maria City Pier said fisher there has been slow due to the weather, but there was one cobia hookup last week and sheepshead are coming on strong. There were also a few catches of flounder and some bonnethead sharks caught at night.

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he had one good day on the water last week, and caught more than 20 reds, some catch-and-release trout, flounder to 16 inches, with most of the action coming from artificial baits, with Little Twisters working the best.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said kingfish have pretty much pushed out of the area, with only a few reports coming in last week of any catches. Sheepshead are the mainstay right now, he added, although some guides are telling him that there're also getting some snook and a few reds even with the cold weather.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said black drum, snapper, flounder and a few redfish in the 19- to 24-inch range were all the rage at the dock last week, plus one 37-inch snook caught by a lucky angler.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he's getting into some redfish on the warmer days, catch-and-release trout and a few flounder when he's able to get out, plus a few keeper-size snook and some flounder.

Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said he's catching redfish from around the docks in the bays, plus lots of sheepshead.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's Bait & Tackle in Cortez said he's catching good numbers of sheepshead, catch-and-release trout, a few redfish and a few keeper-sized snook, plus lots of mangrove snapper and some flounder.

On my boat Magic, we had a tough week getting out on the water what with winds and high seas, but were able to catch a few keeper redfish, some sheepshead to 4 pounds, and lots of little grouper.

Good luck and good fishing.

Capt. Mike Heistand is a 20-year fishing guide. Call him at 779-9607 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 news@islander.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.

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