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Date of Issue: July 12, 2007

Fishing Reds rule in backwaters, look for snapper everywhere, too

Fishing pic
Happy fishers
A good catch of fish was made by all aboard the charter boat Stray Dog with Capt. Scott Greer out of Cortez last week. Pictured, from left, are James Revalee of Columbus, Ohio; Paul Revalee of Columbus; Scutter Blair of Columbus; Scott Legate of Bradenton; Shane Revalee of Columbus; and Ray Revalee of Bradenton. The fish were caught in about 120 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico, on live bait.
Fishing pic
Big black grouper
Mitch Jordan of Sun City, Fla., caught this 64-pound black grouper while fishing with Capt. Scott Greer aboard the charter boat Stray Dog out of Cortez. The fish was boated from 150 feet of water, with a pinfish as bait.

Welcome to summer. And the fishing is good.

Inshore action for redfish and catch-and-release snook is terrific right now, as are a few sheepshead near the piers.

Mangrove snapper are also starting to get hungry.

Grouper and snapper are a good bet in the Gulf of Mexico as well, plus some amberjack for those willing to venture farther out from shore.

Capt. Thom Smith said that “air and water temperatures are beginning to heat up, and sometimes staying in the boat has a tendency to be uncomfortable. Wading is a good way to stay a little cooler and also be a little stealthier in your approach to the fish.” He suggests that the smart wadefisher should wear a hat, Polarized sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen, and a good pair of shoes is a must. “I suggest something with a high top on them. Low-cut sneakers and those little beach shoes are OK, but being low cut, they allow sand, shell and other things to get into your shoe and eventually it starts to grind on your ankles and feet, making walking difficult.” The best action for wade fishers is at Palma Sola Bay, north and south of the Anna Maria Island Bridge toward the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Manatee River near DeSoto Memorial and Emerson Point, and near the southern Sunshine Skyway Bridge area. “Wading can offer a lot of fishing opportunities, but remember when wading always do the ‘stingray shuffle’ and you can wade as far as your legs can carry you. But remember, you still have to wade back.”

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said offshore fishing for grouper and snapper is excellent, with lots of red and gag grouper coming onto the dock, as well as mangrove snapper. In the backwaters, he’s hearing of excellent catches of redfish.

Tom Cassetty at the Rod & Reel Pier said anglers there are catching lots of catch-and-release snook to 32 inches in length, some sand perch, sheepshead, mackerel and mangrove snapper to 16 inches.

Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said fishers there are catching lots of catch-and-release snook, plus mangrove snapper and lots of mackerel.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said there are big mangrove snapper and redfish in the Manatee River, as well as some small catch-and-release snook.

At Tropic Isles on Terra Ceia, reports include tarpon and sharks in front of Terra Ceia Bay and some trout near the mangroves, although the trout are pretty finicky toward any kind of bait.

At Annie’s Bait & Tackle in Cortez, Capt. Sam Kimball said he’s putting his charters onto lots of amberjack, grouper and snapper offshore. Capt. Mark Johnson, also out of Annie’s, said his backwater catches include redfish and catch-and-release snook.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina said, “The Kabbani crew from Macon, Ga., did extremely well with catch-and-release snook, redfish ranging to 23 inches, small sharks and big ladyfish last week. Most of the action took place either side of a high tide, and live shrimp was the way to go for action, followed by small pinfish.” Whitebait isn’t working for his charters, he added, as well as he expects “inshore mangrove snapper fishing to really take off now and remain good for a couple of months. If you are looking for the makings of a family fish fry, the tasty mangroves are the way to go in the summer.” He’s also boating trout, mackerel and a few pompano.

On my boat Magic, we’ve been limiting out on redfish every trip, with the spotties going up to 25 inches, as well as mangrove snapper and bonnethead sharks.

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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