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Date of Issue: September 17, 2008

Ike all but halts offshore trips, but reds, snapper in bays

Fishing pic
"Big Red" release
It would have made a great redfish stew, but this catch was an inch over the 27-inch limit. Kendra Presswood caught it on artificial bait from a dock in Anna Maria Sound. It was released back into the bay. Islander Photo: Bonner Joy

Hurricane Ike churned up the Gulf of Mexico for most of last week and kept most of the offshore fishers in port, but Capt. Sam Kimball of Annie’s Bait & Tackle on Cortez Road said he managed only one trip out to deep water due to the weather, and caught grouper, snapper and amberjack.

The backwater fishing was good for trout, redfish and some keeper snook. Linesider season looks to be a good one, some have predicted.

Capt. Mark Johnston, also from Annie’s, said he’s catching limit catches of snook on almost every trip, as well as redfish and trout.

Capt. Brook Wallace of Palmetto said he’s catching lots of trout and a few redfish.

Tom Cassetty at the Rod & Reel Pier said most fish caught were on the smaller side — mackerel, mangrove snapper and black drum, although the mackerel catch was sporadic, snapper were thick. There were also a few keeper-size snook caught.

Dave Sork at the Anna Maria City Pier said the fishing there pretty much mimicked the Rod & Reel, plus a few bonnethead sharks caught.

At Tropic Isles Marina, reports include lots of small trout, and scattered reds on the lower tides. Fishers reporting there said lots of black tips, bonnetheads and bull sharks are taking the bait.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said mangrove snapper are thick in the mornings, some up to 17 inches in length. There are also some 31-inch redfish around Terra Ceia Bay and Miguel Bay.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he had limit catches of snook and redfish.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said the weather kept him in port all last week.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina said he too stayed at the dock due to the passage of Hurricane Ike.

Bill Lowman of Island Discount Tackle said he heard from offshore fishers who said it was too rough, but inshore guides and fishers found mainstays of snook, redfish and mangrove snapper in spite of the weather.

At Snead Island Crab House, the reports from fishers are thick mangrove snapper in the mornings, up to 17 inches, and other good catches, including a 31-inch redfish caught and released from around Tera Ceia and Miguel Bay.

On my boat Magic, in two trips we caught up to 20 reds around 23-25 inches each. The next day we returned and got shut out at the same spot, but found snapper up to 18 inches by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and mackerel all over the place.

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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