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Date of Issue: March 17, 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

Fishing slow, but still a few mackerel, cobia, amberjack

Fishing has been a little slow, with anyone going out having to really work to bring in a good catch. Adding to the gloom is the absence of whitebait.

Redfish action is slow, although backwater fishing for small catch-and-release snook is fair. There are a few reports of good hookups of cobia, though.

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's put his charters on a number of catch-and-release snook and enough trout and flounder to fill the coolers.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said kingfish are definitely thinning out offshore, but mackerel, grouper, snapper and a few cobia are picking up the slack. Backwater action is mostly for redfish and trout, with lots of trout coming in the 24-inch range.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said anglers there are catching some redfish, catch-and-release snook, sheepshead, Spanish mackerel and a few pompano. There is no sign of tarpon rolling past the pier, Bob added.

Cliff Alcorn at the Anna Maria City Pier said fishers are catching a few mackerel here and there, but there isn't much in the way of bait around so fishing is slow. There have been some good catches of flounder.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said redfish are hard to find right now, but there are plenty of keeper-size trout coming in from Terra Ceia Bay. The Manatee River is producing some big catch-and-release snook at night, he said, and there are a few black drum being caught.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said his mornings are filled with fair catches of mackerel, with the afternoon producing catch-and-release snook, redfish and trout on the higher tides. Offshore snapper fishing remains fair to excellent.

At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports include trout, redfish, a few flounder, some small catch-and-release snook with one linesider to 11 pounds, plus grouper and one small tarpon.

Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said he caught some permit to 20 pounds, snapper to 4 pounds, and some mackerel. In the bays, he's doing well with good-size trout and keeper-size redfish.

Capt. Matt Denham out of Catchers said he's catching red grouper to 25 pounds in the Gulf, amberjack to 30 pounds, plus yellowtail, mangrove and lane snapper and a few keeper-size gag grouper.

Capt. Sam Kimball on Legend charters out of Annie's Bait & Tackle in Cortez said he's getting into a few stray kingfish, plus mackerel, bonita, snapper to 6 pounds, banded rudderfish and a few keeper-size grouper.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's said Kurt and Annie Miller won the Cortez Fishing Tournament last Saturday, with a limit-catch of Spanish mackerel, flounder, redfish and bluefish, with their best catch a 22-inch-long trout.

On my boat Magic, we've been catching trout to 24 inches, redfish to 24 inches, a few small flounder and a few catch-and-release snook to 29 inches.

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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