|Mike and Chuck Goeller, Team Buckeye, new to Sarasota, Mike is in photo, taken by Chuck, caught off anna maria in tampa bay entrance, just to the east of the island in about 5 foot of water....Do not know exact location. We did hook into a 3 foot king and broke the line.
Lots of good catches on the fishing front, thanks to cold fronts
The cold fronts are really turning the fishing action hot. Offshore action for grouper and snapper is excellent, and the fish are starting to move closer to shore. Look for good catches in about 40 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico.
Backwater action for snook is great right now. Redfish are also a good bet, with many reports of limit catches on most trips, and sheepshead are starting to flock near any piling or pier in the bays.
Capt. Wayne Genthner on Wolfmouth Charters said offshore snapper and grouper fishing has been very good for his charters. The inshore trips are producing oversized redfish, cobia, bluefish, blacktip sharks, ladyfish and fat sheepshead, plus lots of medium-sized reds in schools and snook, cobia and sheepies near the passes and deeper mangrove cuts. “Expect the offshore action to be excellent with good catches of bottom fish coming from about 100 feet of water, while bay fishing continues to pick up with lots of pinfish mauling snook around the deeper canals and lights at dusk.”
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said grouper fishing offshore is excellent right now, with great catches coming from less than 100 feet of water and some keepers caught in only 40 feet. Snapper fishing remains stable, too. Inshore action is mostly focused on reds and sheepshead, Bill added.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie’s said that “our winter angling season is upon us and each front that blows through the area will serve only to reinforce the pattern. The bait situation changes from primarily whitebait to shrimp and artificial lures, most of the pelagics are heading south, and many of our native, year-round species are bunching up in backwater holes for the duration of the season. Many days will produce snook in canals and creeks. The mouths of canals and creeks will harbor trout, reds and flounder as the water temperatures drop and every dock, wreck, shell bar or ledge in the bay will hold sheepshead. Remember that trout continue to be off limit until Jan 1 and snook will be going out of season Dec. 15 until Feb. 1.” Capt. Zach said he took a group from the National Weather Service office in Ruskin out last week and caught snook and a bunch of sheepshead.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler’s Repair on Cortez Road said he’s putting his charters onto a lot of small snook, a few redfish and plenty of catch-and-release trout.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said a few snook were caught last week in the early morning hours or late at night. Sheepshead are everywhere, hitting on oyster crabs, and there were also a few redfish and black drum caught.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said anglers there are catching snook at night and flounder by day.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he’s hearing of lots of snook being caught in Terra Ceia Bay and black drum by the Snead Island boatworks.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he’s finding snook season to be excellent so far, with keepers coming to the boat on almost every trip. Reds are hard to find, he said, but he’s still able to get limit-catches on most days.
At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports include lots of redfish hookups around Perico Island on the lower tides, plus a few keeper snook catches on the higher tides. There are also lots of sheepies being caught by the Anna Maria Island Bridge.
On my boat Magic, we’re still catching big mangrove snapper offshore. In the backwater, reds, sheepshead and keeper snook were the best bets.
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.