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Date of Issue: June 21, 2007

Fishing Sails offshore, but tarpon still hiding in local waters

Fishing pic
Red grouper grins
Mirand Getlin caught this big red grouper while fishing with Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters. The fish was caught about 35 miles out from Anna Maria Island in the Gulf of Mexico.
Fishing pic
Happy anglers
Mirand Getlin and Kenny Lukaszk show off their catch of a big red grouper and mangrove snapper, part of their catch with Capt.Larry McGuire.

Where are the tarpon?

Action for the silver kings is very slow so far this season, but several guides predict it should start to pick up later this month and into July.

In comparison, there were a couple of sailfish hookups reported last week in the Gulf of Mexico, somewhat of a rarity in our waters this late in the year.

Other offshore action includes good catches of snapper, grouper and even a few late-season kingfish.

Backwater charters report good catches of redfish, catch-and-release snook and some trout, but the trout action is somewhat slow.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said fishing "has been great. We are catching gag, red and scamp grouper, red snapper, mangrove snapper, triggerfish, amberjack, little tuna, a few kingfish, lots of sharks and barracuda." He said that he took Anthony Leveret of Bradenton out last week and hooked him up with a 7-foot sailfish, fishing in 35 feet of water using live thread herring as bait. "The big fish broke the line on one of its jumps," Capt. Larry said. Andrew Jenkins hooked up on another sailfish later in the week, also around 7 feet in length, and it too broke off after a long run and a series of jumps. "You never know what you may catch fishing offshore our Island," he added.

'Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said reds, flounder and trout are the best bets for inshore fishers. Offshore, look for grouper, snapper, amberjack and some cobia.

'Tom Cassiddy at the Rod & Reel Pier said he’s seeing a few of almost every species of fish come to the dock: small redfish, sheepshead, catch-and-release snook and mackerel.

'Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said there are lots of catch-and-release snook being caught at night, mackerel during the day, plus flounder, big yellowtail jacks and snapper under the pier.

'Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said there are some big snapper lurking under the dock at the crab house, trout coming in with the boaters, and lots of redfish reported in the Manatee River.

'At Annie’s Bait & Tackle in Cortez, Capt. Mark Johnson said he’s having good luck with reds and catch-and-release snook. Capt. Sam Kimball, also out of Annie’s, said his offshore trips are bringing back lots of grouper, snapper, kingfish, barracuda, amberjack and banded rudderfish.

'At Tropic Isles Marina in Terra Ceia, reports include redfish up to 23 inches, trout from Terra Ceia Bay and mackerel in front of the bay.

'Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said that now that snook season is closed, "they’ve really turned on." Of course. His other catches include redfish, but he’s finding trout hard to catch.

Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said tarpon fishing is good on the beaches and passes. "Reds and snook are hitting near mangroves and oyster bars," he added, and "shark fishing is best in the evenings around Passage Key."

'Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina said, "After a less-than-stellar week, things really improved at week’s end. The Pope family from East Manatee fished with me Friday. It was Cory Popes 16th birthday and he was joined by his mom and date Debby and Arlen, and buddy Mitch Hardy. The quartet of anglers had big fun doing light-tackle battle with small sharks, big ladyfish and trout, fishing various locations around the bulkhead and Anna Maria Sound. All of the above responded to live bait, including shrimp, whitebait and small quarter-sized pinfish. Surprisingly the small pinfish were the top bait. Earlier in the week, some truly big Spanish mackerel to 25 inches were caught in the same area." He’s also catching redfish to 26 inches. Tarpon are eluding him so far this season, but he’s putting his charters onto mangrove snapper, gag grouper, porgies.

On my boat Magic, we fished the Kiwanis Pete Turner Tournament last week, catching redfish to 29 inches, trout to 20 inches, catch-and-release snook to 31 inches, but only managed to finish in the top 10.

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 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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