Monthly Archives: January 2017

Fishing – 03-23-2011

Spring break brings no break for top island fishing action

What did you catch over spring break? Hopefully, you reeled up lots of fish. Fishers around Anna Maria Island are being treated with a variety of species, as the water temperature continues to climb. Inshore species are coming out of their winter haunts in search of food — baitfish. Spotted sea trout are making a good showing on the deeper flats of Sarasota Bay.

Small twitch baits such as a Yo-Zuri pins minnow, are producing nice-sized trout, but try removing the front treble hook on your lure to make dehooking easier on you and the fish.

Plastic baits on a jig head are working equally well. The MirrOlure “Lil John” has been a good choice. Try the watermelon red-glitter color for good results.

While fishing the deeper flats for trout, don’t be surprised to also catch some Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, and, if you’re lucky, a pompano. You can still catch rat reds around the docks and canals of Sarasota Bay, as well as Anna Maria Sound. Live shrimp is still the best bait, but you can catch them on a Berkeley Gulp shrimp, too.

Sheepshead are still congregating around docks and piers. Don’t miss this winter-cycle action.

Moving out in the Gulf of Mexico to where you no longer see land, fishers are catching a variety of species. Amberjack in the 30- to 40-pound range are being caught on white bait and pinfish. Bottom dwellers such as red and gag grouper are still being caught and released in good numbers. Mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper and hogfish have joined the list of offshore species, along with Key West grunts, porgies and triggerfish.

James Followell at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge South Fishing Pier says sheepshead still are a regular catch. Fiddler crabs and frozen sand fleas are catching the most fish, although shrimp are working, too. Pier fishers opting to use shrimp also are catching silver trout.

There’s no size or bag limit on silver trout, so it’s best for the fishery to only take what you need. Spanish mackerel are still carousing the man-made reefs around the pier and chasing glass minnows, so don’t forget to have some Gotcha plugs handy.

If its catch-and-release gag grouper action you’re looking for, try dropping a live pinfish under the pier and hang on tight. Daily catches of gags are happening using these little “rainbow porgies.” Last but not least, Followell says pompano are making a showing. He suggests trying a Doc’s goofy jig or a reasonable facsimile.

Jonny Keyes at Island Discount Tackle says reports are coming into the shop that beach action is picking up. These fishers are encountering ladyfish, mackerel and shark from the shoreline of Anna Maria Island. Keyes suggests using a “shiny lure,” such as Gotcha plugs and spoons, for the ladies and the macks. “The shark are hitting frozen threadies or squid,” Keyes says.

In the backwaters, redfish are still being caught on live shrimp around docks. “Shrimp has been working well for trout, too,” Keyes says. “Try fishing a live shrimp using a Cajun thunder cork.”

Moving offshore, fishers willing to go 20-30 miles out are rewarded with amberjack and red and gag grouper. “Pinfish is the bait for the AJs and grouper,” Keyes says. Switching over to a select shrimp results in yellowtail and mangrove snapper, as well as hogfish.

Dave Sork at the Historic Anna Maria City Pier says Spanish mackerel are making a good showing. He’s seeing sizeable macks of lengths up to 25 inches. “Now that the bait is starting to show up,” Sork says, “so are the mackerel.” Sork added he’s seeing gator trout blasting ballyhoo at night around the lights on the pier.

Capt. Rick Gross of Fishy Business Charters says he is targeting a variety of species while fishing the nearshore structure and backwaters of Anna Maria Island.

While fishing the reefs, Gross is catching Key West grunts, also known as imperial snapper, using live shrimp. He’s also catching sheepshead, hogfish and black sea bass on shrimp.

Moving into the backwater, Gross is boating spotted sea trout up to 22 inches using Cotee cracker shrimp in the measles color. While targeting trout, Gross, also is catching Spanish mackerel in the 24-inch range. “A lot of times you’ll get hit before your jig can even reach the bottom,” Gross says, “resulting in a Spanish mackerel.”

Capt. Steve Salgado of Compleat Angler Fishing Charters says offshore action is going strong. Salgado is targeting amberjack in 100 feet of water or more. “We fished a school the size of two football fields out there the other day,” Salgado said. “They were jumping out of the water like tuna.”

Salgado is also catching mangrove snapper up to 5 pounds and catch-and-release gag grouper in the 30-inch range. “We left the grouper biting again,” Salgado added.

Inshore, Salgado is using artificial baits for spotted sea trout. Slot-sized fish have been the norm, although some have been up to 22 inches.

Capt. Warren Girle is fishing nearshore structure with good results. While fishing ledges, Girle is seeing catch-and-release gag grouper in the 8- to 10-pound range. Also in the mix are mangrove snapper up to 16 inches. “It’s been on fire out there,” Girle says. Other catches aboard Girle’s boat include hogfish, Key West grunts and flounder up to 2 1/2 pounds.

Girle also is having success in the backwater in Sarasota Bay with spotted sea trout, redfish and sheepshead. Golden bream Exude Darts are working well for the trout. A tasty live shrimp has been Girle’s choice for the sheepies and redfish.

Capt. Mark Johnston of Legend Charters is reeling up Spanish mackerel in the Intracoastal Waterway using live shrimp. Fish ranging from 18-20 inches has been the norm, although some as big as 26 inches have been caught.

Johnston is catching limits of sheepshead — up to 2 1/2 pounds at inshore structure. “There’s a ton of sheepies out there right now,” Johnston says.

Send fishing reports to

Islander Calendar – 03-23-2011

Wednesday, March 23

11 a.m. — Einstein Circle discussion on “The Deficit: Can We Recover?” at the Studio at Gulf and Pine, 10101 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria. Information: 941-359-4296.

Saturday, March 26

8 to 11 a.m. — Roser Men’s Club will serve a pancake breakfast at Roser Memorial Community Church, 512 Pine Ave., Anna Maria. Information: 941-778-0414. Fee applies.

8:30 a.m. — Sissy Quinn from the Anna Maria Island Preservation Trust will speak to the Kiwanis Club of Anna Maria Island at the Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe, 4000 Gulf Drive, Manatee Public Beach, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-778-3209.

9 a.m. to noon — Yard sale at the Roser Guild Thrift Shop, 511 Pine Ave., Anna Maria. Information: 941-779-2733.

10 a.m. to noon — Watercolor artist Barbara Hines will demonstrate her whimsical style at Island Gallery West, 5368 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-778-6648.

Sunday, March 27

Noon to 7 p.m. — Beach-to-Bay Eco Day along Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach. Information: 941-518-4431.

1 to 4 p.m. — Classic car show to benefit the American Cancer Society at MaryAnn’s Hair Saloon, 3218 E. Bay Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-812-0503. Fee applies.

Tuesday, March 29

Noon to 1 p.m. — Lee Fox, executive director of Save Our Seabirds, speaks to the Rotary Club of Anna Maria at the BeachHouse Restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach. Information: 942-518-1965.

Wednesday, March 30

11 a.m. — Einstein Circle discussion on “What is Left of the American Dream?” at the Studio at Gulf and Pine, 10101 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria. Information: 941-359-4296.


• Through April 3, “Rabbit Hole” at the Island Players, 10009 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria. Information: 941-778-5755. Fee applies.

• Tuesdays, 12:30 p.m., duplicate bridge at the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation, 4408 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-778-3390.

• Tuesdays, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Coffee and Conversations for Seniors at the Anna Maria Island Community Center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria. Information: 941-778-1908.

• Tuesdays, 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Inquiring Minds study group at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 6608 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. Information: 941-778-1813.

• Wednesdays, 6 to 8 p.m., teens meet at the Anna Maria Island Community Center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria. Information: 941-778-1908.

• Wednesdays, 10 a.m., Settler’s bread on sale at the Anna Maria Island Historical Society museum shop, 402 Pine Ave., Anna Maria.

• Alternating Wednesdays, 11 a.m., memory loss support group at the Longboat Island Chapel Aging in Paradise Resource Center, 6200 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. Information: 941-383-6491.

• Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m., players pitch horseshoes in the pits at Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria. Information: 941-708-6130.

• Thursdays, 6:30 p.m., smoke-free bingo at Annie Silver Community Center, 102 23rd Ave., Bradenton Beach. Information: 941-778-1915.

• Fridays, Senior Adventures Group meets for outings to various locations. Information: 941-962-8835.

• Saturdays, 8:30 a.m., Kiwanis Club of Anna Maria Island meets at the Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe, Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.

• Sundays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Outdoor market on Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach, through April. Information: 941-518-4431.


Wednesday, March 23

4:30 to 6:30 p.m. — Wine-tasting event to benefit the Anna Maria Island Community Center at Harry’s Continental Kitchens, 525 St. Jude Drive, Longboat Key. Information: 941-383-0777. Fee applies.

Thursday, March 24

5 p.m. — Longboat Key Historical Society fundraising dinner at the Bayou Tavern, 6814 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. Information: 941-312-4975. Fee applies.

6 to 9 p.m. — Concert in the Grove with the Dr. Dave Band at Mixon Fruit Farms, 2525 27th St. E., Bradenton. Information: 941-748-5829.

7:30 p.m. — “Shout!” opens at the Manatee Players, 102 12th St. W., Bradenton, through April 10. Information: 941-748-5875. Fee applies.

Friday, March 25

6 to 10 p.m. — Movie and Martinis featuring music by Straight Up followed by an outdoor screening of “From Russia with Love,” at the Village of the Arts, 1015 12th Ave. W., Bradenton. Information: 941-747-0651.

Saturday, March 26

8:30 a.m. — Junior roller derby bout between Thinga-ma-Jiggers and Hoodwinks at Astro Skate and Fun Center, 3511 Third St. W., Bradenton. Information: 941-803-8237. Book donations for the Literacy Council of Manatee County appreciated.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Tie-dye craft demonstration for families at the Farmer’s Market on Old Main Street, Bradenton. Information: 941-681-0708.

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Art sale at the Longboat Key Education Center, 5370 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. Information: 941-383-8811.

Coming Up:

• April 2, An Affaire to Remember, Anna Maria Island Community Center.

• April 6, “What Constitutes A ‘Good’ Person?” discussion, Studio at Gulf and Pine.

Save the Date:

• April 9, Paws in Motion Humane Society of Manatee County walkathon, downtown Bradenton riverfront.

• April 15-16, Holmes Beach Founder’s Day Festival.

• April 23, Cortez Native’s Picnic, Florida Maritime Museum.

• May 7, 10th annual Island Run for the Children’s Academy of Southwest Florida.

• May 13-14, Anna Maria City Pier Centennial Celebration, Anna Maria.

Send calendar announcements to Please include the time, date and location of the event, a brief description and a contact via e-mail and phone.

AME calendar

Save the date for the following Anna Maria Elementary School happenings:

• March 24, Domino’s Pizza fundraiser.

• March 29, 7 p.m., student talent show, auditorium.

• March 31, 1:30 p.m., birthday book club, media center.

• April 11-14, Florida Comprehensive Assessment Testing.

• April 14, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., kindergarten roundup.

AME is at 4700 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.

For more information, call 941-708-5525.

Going green

The Sarasota Pipe Band colors one of Holmes Beach’s busiest thoroughfares green during the annual St. Patrick’s Parade March 13. The Beach Bistro and Eat Here restaurants sponsored the event, which began in the 5400 block of Marina Drive and continued north to Crosspointe Fellowship. Islander Photos: Lisa Neff

Going green

Judy the Elephant stars in the St. Patrick’s Parade March 13 in Holmes Beach. The Island will see more merriment March 17, which is St. Patrick’s Day.

Joselyn Leal, 7, hands out medallions.

Preston Petrill, 5, of Holmes Beach checks out his collection of beads.

The Anna Maria Garden Club invites paradegoers to this week’s penny flower shower, as well as hands out flowers along the parade route.

Paradegoers call for beads.

The Anna Maria Island Privateers wave from the Skullywag.

The Jacobites provide the Old Country sound during the parade, which also featured high school and fife and drum bands.

Vin Mannix of The Bradenton Herald leads the parade carrying the Irish flag.

Paradegoers welcome the first entries in the long procession. The last entry didn’t reach the end of the route near Crosspointe Fellowship until about 5:30 p.m.

Commissioner John Monetti and son Joey toss beads from the Holmes Beach entry.

Paul and Pierrette Kelly enjoy a ride in the parade.

The poms squad with the Southeast High School marching band.

The Braden River High School Marching Band entertains on the parade route.

City hears potential centennial costs

Anna Maria Mayor Mike Selby recently presented city commissioners a laundry list of potential city costs associated with the May 13-14 Anna Maria City Pier Centennial Celebration.

The pier centennial committee is selling memorabilia to cover its costs, but the committee is a city-organized body and the city is ultimately responsible for payment of the expenses, he noted.

Selby on March 10 told commissioners the city might be responsible for payment of renting barricades to block off streets. He estimated the rental fee would be about $750.

Additional Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies will be needed both days, and Selby said he and MCSO Sgt. Dave Turner, head of the Anna Maria substation, determined the extra deputies will cost about $400.

One cost the city no longer has to consider is the $630 rental fee for Bayfront Park. The Anna Maria Island Privateers have been invited to move their family picnic from Bayfront Park to the north parking lot at the Anna Maria City Pier.

Selby said Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive, would be open from about 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 14 to provide public rest rooms, space for a ticket booth and a VIP welcome area.

Selby said he wanted to be prepared for what he called the “worst-case scenario.”

In that event, Anna Maria would have to cover some costs. The expenses could run from $2,000 to $2,500 for the celebration.

If he has to ask the commission for money, the mayor said, the good news is that “I won’t have to ask you again for money for another 100 years.”

DOT apologies for causing traffic gridlock

The Florida Department of Transportation issued an apology for the severe traffic backups on Anna Maria Island and the Palma Sola Causeway March 7. The congestion was caused by two simultaneous DOT projects in the area.

Following complaints about the traffic from the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce and Manatee County administrator Ed Hunzeker’s office, DOT spokesperson Lauren Hatchell said all DOT operations and inspections on the Anna Maria Island Bridge and Palma Sola Causeway will take place during night-time hours.

The mega-backup began around 10 a.m. March 7, when a DOT work crew began a milling and resurfacing project on the causeway near the Harbour Isle entrance, allowing one-way traffic with a flagging operation.

Hatchell said the work notice was not included in the weekly DOT Road Watch report given to Island media several weeks ago because the work “was to have already been completed” prior to March 7.

The scheduled repairs were noted in the DOT Road Watch distributed March 4.

Because the flagging operation reduced causeway traffic to one lane, motorists heading west onto Anna Maria Island eventually backed up in Bradenton on Manatee Avenue past the 59th Street intersection and a normally 10-minute drive took more than an hour.

For motorists on Anna Maria Island, the situation was gridlock, said Holmes Beach Police Chief Jay Romine.

“It was pretty poor timing by the DOT. We had several things going, and they all came together,” he said.

Officers did traffic control “as much as possible,” Romine said, “but we eventually reached the point where we had nowhere to put the cars.”

March 7 was the first day of spring break for Manatee County’s public schools and good weather had many folks headed to the Island.

“The spring breakers certainly were coming that day,” Romine said.

In addition to spring breakers increasing the already high volume of traffic to the Island in March and the flagging operation on the causeway, DOT officials were conducting a biennial inspection of the AMI Bridge the same day and occasionally shut down traffic on the structure in both directions.

That was the DOT’s fault, Hatchell said.

The inspection “absolutely should not have occurred, and once it was brought to the DOT’s attention, we immediately requested the bridge inspection staff to cease their work and remove themselves from the bridge,” she said.

Hatchell said the inspection was rescheduled for after spring break and will take place at night, as will any road repairs the next few months.

“Unless an emergency arises, there will not be any type of work or inspections on the bridge during the day,” she said.

“We sincerely apologize for the delays and impacts this work caused to residents, business owners and visitors to the Island. I can assure you, this will not happen again,” Hatchell concluded.

Some Island business owners, however, questioned why the DOT was scheduling any work on the causeway during the height of the winter-spring season.

“What were they thinking of?” said Charlotte Mansur, owner of Mr. Bones BBQ on Gulf Drive in Holmes Beach.

“It took me more than an hour to get across the causeway that day. Don’t they know there’s a tourist season here on the Island?”

Still, Mansur was pleased that the DOT immediately recognized the situation, pulled the workers and issued an apology.

Mansur credited prompt reaction of Deb Wing of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce and Kaycee Ellis of Hunzeker’s office with contacting the DOT after she complained about the delay.

Romine said in addition to the DOT work, a truck that caught fire at the Manatee Public Beach that day also caused traffic to backup, as motorists viewing the incident slowed to watch.

“To say Monday was gridlock is an understatement,” the chief said.

By March 8, traffic in Holmes Beach was back to what Romine called “normal for the winter season and spring break.”

Island Inc. settlement settled

Bradenton Beach citizens collectively now hold the title to waterfront property in the 1400 block of Gulf Drive.

The city’s effort to close a long-standing lawsuit has ended with the transfer of the title and deed from private developers to the public trust.

“The city,” city attorney Ricinda Perry said recently, “is now officially the recorded owner of the Island Inc. property.”

Perry said the case was closed with the city receiving a “clean bill of health on the property.”

Mayor Bob Bartelt said city officials soon will meet to “consider the possibilities to be done with that property.”

What the city knows is that development is not an option: A long dispute over development triggered the suit.

The dispute between the municipality and the developer dates back to the 1990s, when Island Inc./Beach Development acquired 2.6 acres of property, most on the bayfront but some on the Gulf of Mexico, with Gulf Drive bisecting the property.

When the developers purchased the property, they knew a portion of the land on the Gulf was identified for preservation in the city’s planning documents — both the future land-use map and the comprehensive plan, which guide development.

However, because it had eliminated development opportunity on part of the Gulffront property, the city agreed to allow for a higher density in the bayside project.

Yet as the project moved forward, developers encountered a problem: Increased development by the bay was limited by height restrictions that could not be waived.

What followed was a complicated civil dispute that only became more serpentine as the years went on.

In mid-2010, after court-ordered mediation talks, the city commission and the developers negotiated a settlement agreement: The city would acquire the preservation property from the developers and the developers would get $350,000 from the city.

The commission cast its final vote to approve the agreement in late-2010.

The court executed notices of final disposition and dismissal, closing the case earlier this month.

Property owner appeals case against city

A Bradenton Beach property owner is continuing his long-running dispute with the city of Bradenton Beach with an appeal to a higher court.

Ken Lohn has asked the Florida 2nd District Court of Appeal to review a ruling from Manatee County Circuit Court rejecting his argument that the city made an error in its decisions upholding a certificate of occupancy for a property that neighbor’s Lohn’s residence on Bay Drive South.

The city commission recently authorized city attorney Ricinda Perry to prepare a response.

Lohn, for years, has maintained that the city wrongfully issued a certificate of occupancy for a Fifth Street South development abutting his bayfront property and near a duplex he owns.

In April 2009, the Bradenton Beach Board of Adjustment recommended that the city commission deny Lohn’s complaint regarding the now privately owned Fifth Street property.

In June 2009, the city commission also voted against Lohn’s complaint, which essentially said that a driveway built on an easement alongside his home was too close to his property line and too narrow.

Lohn went to circuit court in July 2009 to seek a judicial review of the commission’s decision.

“This complaint challenges the city of Bradenton Beach issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the multi-family condominium … despite the fact the location is in violation of express provisions of the Bradenton Beach Land Development Code,” the complaint states.

Perry prepared the city’s response, which stated, “The city determined, based on competent and substantial evidence, that the issuance of the CO was proper and consistent with the applicable zoning and land-use regulations. Absent an abuse of discretion or a clearly erroneous decision by the city commission, the decision of the city must be upheld.”

Early this year in a 13-page decision, Circuit Court Judge Edward Nicholas did not accept all the city’s arguments, but he did uphold the commission’s decision and denied Lohn’s appeal.

Lohn, in late February, took his case to the appellate court.

“In my legal opinion, it is frivolous,” Perry said. She estimated the appeal could cost the city about $3,000 in legal expenses.

New Bradenton Beach resident is sex offender

A convicted sex offender from Ohio has moved to Bradenton Beach.

The 38-year-old woman moved in early March to the 700 block of Gulf Drive South.

The woman was convicted in Ohio of two counts of sexual conduct with a male minor and given probation, according to information available at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website.

Convicted sex offenders in Florida are required to register their address with the FDLE and report any change in address within three days of moving to a new location.

There are no other convicted sex offenders living in Bradenton Beach, while two reside in Holmes Beach. The FDLE reports no convicted sex offenders living in Anna Maria.

Three convicted sex offenders live in the Cortez area, including a 71-year-old man who resides in a travel-trailer park on Cortez Road.

Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale said his officers regularly check on any convicted sex offender living in the city, and they already have visited the woman and her residence.

Information on sex offenders listed with the FDLE can be found at A link is provided at The Islander website,, under community links.