Brett, left, and brother Jordan Smith caught these jacks while fishing with Capt. Mike Heistand. The Lake Odessa, Mich., youths won a fishing trip with Capt. Mike at last year’s Islander Fishing College.
Click on image to enlarge
Winds keep fishers in bay, better weather ahead for anglers
It was a wind thing last week for most anglers, as a late-season cold front blew through and whisked away most of the good offshore fishing action that we've had for the past few weeks.
The backwater fishing continued to be good, though, with lots of reports of big spawning trout coming to the hooks, as well as redfish, snook and flounder.
The cooler weather chilled the water temps too, and the result is a continued occasional catch of sheepshead around all the rock or pier systems in the bays. Enjoy the sheepies while you can, though, because they's pretty much done for another season.
But don't despair: Weather reports indicate the winds will die and water warm this week and the weekend's blustery winds may auger the last of the season's cold fronts.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he caught snook to 28 inches, a few redfish to 25 inches, flounder to 18 inches and some trout up to 19 inches, all with whitebait.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said the cold and windy weather slowed the fishing for most fishers last week, but those backwater anglers who did go out did well with lots of spotted sea trout, redfish, flounder, bluefish and a few sheepshead. "It was just too rough to go offshore, though," Bill said.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said fishers there are catching redfish, mackerel, pompano and a few lingering sheepshead. Overall, he said, fishing has been pretty good.
Dave Sork at the Anna Maria City Pier said snook action is really starting to pick up at night, while daytime anglers are doing well with mackerel on the moving tides. The sheepies are still hanging around, too, he added.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said there are lots and lots of trout coming in now, with catches usually reaching 24 inches in length. Redfish action is also great in Terra Ceia Bay, and there are black drum coming out of the cut.
At Skyway Bait & Tackle, mackerel from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge system is a good bet, as well as redfish from Terra Ceia Bay. There are also lots of hungry flounder out there in the bays.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said the wind hut his charters last week, but he did manage to get out and catch good-size snook and limit catches of redfish. Trout are in full spawn right now and are hitting hard, he added.
At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, the problem has been the wind for anglers. For those willing to weather the chop, the results have been good for trout and redfish. As the wind flattens this week, though, the action should really pick up.
Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said there was no Gulf fishing for him last week, but his backwater trips produced lots of snook and redfish to 10 pounds.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said fishing "has been fairly good in between the wind fronts. Our clients have been catching gag grouper to 15 pounds, kingfish to 25 pounds, mangrove snapper to 5 pounds, blacktip sharks to 6 feet, plus red grouper, scamp, & triggerfish. We have been fishing out to 85 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico, using a variety of live baits, frozen Spanish sardines and shrimp for the snapper as bait."
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's Bait & Tackle in Cortez said he took Bill Wade and his son out last week and caught a 12-pound kingfish and some huge mackerel. Allen Scharm caught snook and reds to 30 inches on another charter.
On my boat Magic, we did well with snook, reds and trout from the backwaters.
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.