Catch-and-release snook highlight of backwater action
Dalton Estes, 11, caught this large red grouper while fishing about 50 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico with Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters.
Like Valadie, Andrew Ross and Jake Ross were pictured by Lee Ross while they battled their first shark. They caught and released several on their day on the water.
Since snook season is closed, about the only good inshore catches are, naturally, catch-and-release snook. Other backwater action includes redfish, a few flounder and some spotty trout catches.
Offshore fishing continues to be great for grouper, snapper and amberjack.
At Corky’s Live Bait & Tackle, reports include lots of catch-and-release snook on large bait. Palma Sola Bay is a good spot for redfish action, with some reds coming in at better than 40 inches in length. Live shrimp and Black Salty’s are the best bet for the best catches. There are also trout coming out of the bay, and there was even a 5-foot-long shark caught there. Tarpon are finally starting to show up off Egmont Key and in the Gulf off Bradenton Beach, with blue and pass crabs producing the best results. There are also good reports of Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and flounder being caught near the Island, and offshore fishers have reported catching large sharks, kingfish, grouper and amberjacks.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said grouper and snapper fishing is good in the Gulf in the 100-foot water depths. Inshore action for snook and reds is also good, but he’s hearing that trout are hard to find.
Tom Cassetty at the Rod & Reel Pier said anglers there are catching and releasing snook at night, mangrove snapper to 14 inches in length, a few sheepshead and small sharks. Tom said that there hasn’t been much mackerel action off the pier.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said fishers there are catching a few macks, plus mangrove snapper.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said big snapper are coming in during the morning, catch-and-release snook are thick in Terra Ceia Bay, and reds are coming out of Miguel Bay at the higher tides.
At Tropic Isle Marina in Terra Ceia, reports include trout and redfish coming from Terra Ceia Bay, and tarpon catches outside of the bay.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he’s catching a lot of catch-and-release snook, sometimes up to 30 on a single trip.
At Annie’s Bait & Tackle in Cortez, Capt. Sam Kimball said he’s doing well with amberjack, grouper and snapper offshore. Capt. Mark Johnson, also out of Annie’s, said his inshore trips include good catches of reds, trout and snook.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said that fishing "is hot right now with big gag and red grouper going strong. We are also catching lots of red, mangrove and lane Snapper, big barracuda, lots of sharks up to 6 feet in length and one kingfish at 25 pounds." He added that the best grouper action is 30 to 50 miles out using live pinfish and grunts. "Fishing really improved after Tropical Storm Barry came through a few weeks ago," Capt. Larry said, adding that, "My theory is after a storm comes through it pushes lots of new fish into the area, so now is the time to go out and go fishing and get them while they’re hot."
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidhe’s finding that "shrimp and small pinfish have been the ticket to success for me lately. The baits have been producing quality redfish, spotted sea trout, Spanish mackerel, snook, shark and huge ladyfish. The good news is that the pinfish will be readily available all summer, but we are closing in on peewee season for live shrimp. A real good alternative is the Berkely ‘Gulp’ shrimp fished beneath a float of your choice. Also, there has been some small grunts mixed in with the pinfish that are particularly deadly on trout. Another often overlooked summer bait are chubs that are highly available on the mud flats." He said his catch of the week was a 32-inch redfish landed and released by 7-year-old Lauren Timbrook from West Virginia. "Tarpon have finally arrived," Capt. Zach concluded, "better late than never, and have been showing well along the beaches, Longboat Pass and Egmont Key."
On my boat Magic, we caught reds to 29 inches, a few trout and catch-and-release snook to 29 inches.
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.