Good fishing both inshore, offshore; snook season starts Sept. 1
The Roadhouses of the United Kingdom - mom Irene, dad Lee and sons David, left, and Andrew spent their last day of vacation in the States fishing at the Anna Maria City Pier. Lee said, "Great fun, but no fish yet." Islander Photo: Edna Tiemann
Fishing is pretty good out there right now. Whitebait is starting to get big, but shrimp and artificial bait are always a good bet to get the big ones.
Backwater angling for redfish, trout, flounder and even some big sheepshead is excellent.
Offshore fishing in the Gulf of Mexico is great for grouper and snapper. In fact, mangrove snapper action is great almost anywhere there is some form of structure.
And snook season opens Sept. 1. By the number of catch-and-release reports of late, it promises to be a good linesider season this year.
Capt. Terry Frankford of Reelin & Chillin Charters said he's been catching lots of ladyfish, which he's finding to be a lot of fun for catch-and-release action for anglers young and old. "If you downsize your tackle, loosen your drag and forget about dinner for a minute, you just may find yourself having a ball," he said. "Your drag will scream, they will put on a show of acrobatics like the nickname 'Poor Man's Tarpon' implies, and there is a good chance you'll find yourself running around your boat trying to keep them from breaking off on your outboard prop or trim tabs." He's also catching mangrove snapper, some trout to 21 inches, bluefish and redfish to 24 inches.
At Tropic Isles Marina, reports include good catches of redfish in and around Miguel Bay, redfish and lots of catch-and-release snook in the Manatee River.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said fishing is hot right now, both inshore and out in the Gulf. Mangrove snapper are "everywhere," he said, and suggests a good spot in the Gulf are the rocks off Whitney Beach on the north end of Longboat Key. Redfish are hitting the hooks on the lower tides in the bay and starting to get big, with 30-inch fish common. He's also predicting a good snook season, which starts Sept. 1.
Tom Casseddy at the Rod & Reel Pier said anglers there are catching mackerel, snapper, snook and a few small redfish, plus sheepshead.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said fishers are reeling in mackerel, snapper and some catch-and-release snook.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said there are "tons" of mangrove snapper coming in of late, plus a 45-inch snook that was caught and released from the Manatee River. Mackerel are thick in Tampa Bay, he said, and there are sharks being caught from in front of Terra Ceia Bay. Sheepshead are also still around, evidenced, Dave said, as one fisher brought in a 7-pound sheepie.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he's finding fishing to be good, with reds and catch-and-release snook being a good bet. He's also waiting for snook season to start Sept. 1.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina saidthat "high temperatures in the wake of Hurricane Dean to our south were uncomfortable, to say the least. The only saving grace was the low humidity and a pretty steady breeze. Drift fishing the deep seagrass beds of Anna Maria Sound and northern Sarasota Bay has been quite productive," with good catches of spotted sea trout, mackerel, bluefish, shark, ladyfish and even a few flounder. "The high tides have finally come around to the mornings," Capt. Zach added, "allowing anglers to get up on the flats near the mangrove fringe for reds and snook. On the low tides, look for them laying at the drop-off of the first bar out from the shore." He's also catching mangrove snapper in any highly structured area.
On my boat Magic, we've been catching our limit of redfish and mangrove snapper every day, with snapper ranging up to 16 inches. I took Gwen Matthews of Terra Ceia out and we caught several reds in the slot limit, plus some up to 34 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.