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Date of Issue: March 30, 2005

Fishing

Great goliath grouper
Nadia Tryciecky caught this 125-pound goliath grouper, formerly known as a jewfish, in Boca Grande Pass. It was one of three caught that day. All were released.
Click on image to enlarge

King season collapses, but mackerel, trout, reds strong

The bad news: Kingfish have run past us this Spring season.

Other bad news: Snook season is over, and the reports of catch-and-release linesiders keep coming in - a good fight, but nothing for the table.

Good news: Some big cobia were caught last week, plus lots of trout, mackerel, redfish and snapper.

Offshore fishing for grouper is still good, too.

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's putting his charters onto lots of catch-and-release snook, some keeper-size redfish and slot-limit-size trout to 20 inches. He's finding both live and artificial bait working well, with the best action coming from Terra Ceia Bay.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said kingfish have passed by for the most part, but cobia, permit and mackerel are taking up the slack, plus some mangrove snapper. Inshore snook season, although closed, is still producing some big catch-and-release linesiders, while lots of redfish and trout are filling the coolers.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said fishers there have been catching mackerel, jacks, a few redfish, some catch-and-release snook, one cobia that was hooked but lost, and a few mangrove snapper.

Cliff Alcorn at the Anna Maria City Pier said anglers there are catching mackerel on most days, catch-and-release snook mostly at night, some yellowtail jacks and a few flounder.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said mangrove snapper are hanging out around the dock, there are black drum in the Manatee River near the docks, and mackerel are out by the rocks in front of Terra Ceia Bay. Snapper are also thick and hungry near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge pier systems, he added.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he's getting into lots of permit offshore, plus mackerel, snapper and some keeper-size grouper. Inshore action is seeing redfish as the hot ticket.

At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, redfish are being caught in some numbers on the outgoing tides near the marina. Some boaters are also coming back in with lots of mackerel, snapper and grouper.

Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said he's catching plenty of catch-and-release snook, plus limit catches on redfish most trips. He also reports getting into lots of permit and plenty of trout.

Capt. Sam Kimball on Legend charters out of Annie's Bait & Tackle in Cortez said he's putting his clients onto grouper, lane snapper, triggerfish, banded rudderfish, mackerel and a few cobia.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's said he's catching lots of mackerel, snapper, cobia and flounder out in the Gulf, while backwater fishing is good for redfish and trout.

On my boat Magic, we caught one 30-pound cobia last week in the bay on 10-pound-test line. We're also getting into trout to 24 inches, lots of small catch-and-release snook, and a few keeper-size redfish.

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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