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Date of Issue: March 30, 2005

Fishing

Super snook
Elizabeth Heidl of Atlanta, Ga., caught and released this 28-inch-long snook while fishing Scottie Stoddard of Longboat Key and Capt. Mike Heistand.
Click on image to enlarge

No rain delays for good fishing last week

Fishing action is good right now, despite the rain, with lots and lots of redfish coming in from the backwaters. Catch-and-release snook are also hot, plus lots of mackerel and a few flounder.

Offshore action for snapper, grouper and amberjack remains steady.

The catch-of-the-week award probably goes to the angler who caught a 5-foot-long blacktip shark on light tackle near the Key Royale flats. Good going!

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he took a fisherman's holiday to Pine Island last week and did well with redfish and trout.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said fishing is excellent right now, even with all the rain. There are good reports of redfish and snook in the bays, and grouper and snapper are still thick in about 100 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said best bets at the pier included snapper, catch-and-release snook, redfish, mackerel and some bluefish.

Cliff Alcorn at the Anna Maria City Pier said pier anglers there were getting into a lot of mackerel, snapper, flounder, small sharks and catch-and-release snook at night.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said there are still plenty of good-sized redfish coming out of Miguel Bay plus catch-and-release snook off Rattlesnake Point. Mangrove snapper and mackerel, plus sharks, are still hanging out near Marker 70.

Capt. Ray Markham of Flat Back II said he found fishing to be relatively slow, but several reds showed to save the day, along with some trout. He said good tides and an upcoming weekend new moon should really turn on the fishing in the next week.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said the "redfish bite" is on right now, with most of his catches in the 18- to 27-inch slot limit. He's also putting his charters onto lots of catch-and-release snook and a few mangrove snapper.

Teresa Baranowski at Perico Island Bait and Tackle said one day last week she caught three blacktip sharks up to 4 feet in length, plus lots of trout in the slot limit and a few better than 20 inches long. Other action included redfish at 24 inches, bluefish, snapper to 15 inches and eight catch-and-release snook, all caught near the docks in the bay. She also caught one redfish to 40 inches by the Anna Maria Bridge.

Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said he's doing well with mackerel, snapper, trout, redfish and catch-and-release snook.

Capt. Matt Denham out of Catchers said grouper fishing for him remains steady, with a few fish caught tipping the scales at better than 25 pounds, mostly reds and a few gags. He's also catching amberjack to 30 pounds and snapper to 5 pounds.

On my boat Magic, it was redfish, redfish, and more redfish, with up to 20 spotties caught on most trips. We also reeled in a few catch-and-release snook up to 30 inches and snapper to 16 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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