Dave Ramsey and Jim Russell caught a slew of fish — gag and red grouper, scamp, mangrove snapper and yellowtails — while fishing with Capt. Larry McGuire aboard Show Me The Fish Charters.
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Flounder starting to turn on, cobia starting to show, too
Fishing is still a little slow, although there is plenty of whitebait around the passes and bays and into the Gulf of Mexico, but things should pick up any day now.
Inshore action for flounder is starting to improve, and there have been some big cobia spotted. Trout, snook, redfish and snapper remain mainstays for the backwater anglers.
Offshore fishing for grouper and snapper remains strong in about 100 feet of water or more.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said he took Dave Ramsey and Jim Russell out on Dave's boat last week, catching gag grouper, red grouper, scamp, large mangrove snapper and some big yellowtail snapper. "We have been fishing out to 110 feet of water in the Gulf, using live pinfish and frozen Spanish sardines as bait," Capt. Larry said, adding that "as the water has been cooling down a little, the fishing has been heating up. The new fish that have been pushed up into our area are hungry." He said he hasn't seen any trace of red tide off the Island or Longboat Key, but had heard reports of it to the north by Mullet Key and south at Charlotte Harbor.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he's still hearing good things about snook hookups by Tidy Island. Redfish are being caught a little farther south, near Longbar Point in Sarasota Bay, and there are lots of snapper hanging around the Intracoastal Waterway in Anna Maria Sound. Offshore fishing remains good for grouper in about 100 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico, he said, and a few cobia are starting to show up as well.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's been putting his charters onto snook, redfish, trout and flounder, all caught on artificial baits. Fishing the lower tides is working the best for him now.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said the mixed-bag catch continues at the pier: Snapper, snook, sheepshead, redfish and lots of yellowtail jack.
Terry Morrison at the Anna Maria City Pier said fishing has slowed a bit in the past few days, but there are still a few of just about everything coming onto the dock, including flounder, drum, snapper and snook. Mackerel remain scarce, though, he said.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said redfish are a good bet in Terra Ceia Bay, with good hookups coming for fishers working near the mangroves. There are lots of small- to medium-sized trout being caught in the Manatee River, as well as black drum, and he's seeing lots of snook under the dock but they don't seem to be biting yet.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he's doing good with snook right now, with some big keepers caught almost every day last week. Redfish action is also good, with most catches running in the 18- to 27-inch range, as well as lots of mangrove snapper.
At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports include snapper being caught from near the Anna Maria Island Bridge, trout coming from the seagrass flats just south of the bridge, redfish hitting near Perico Island and snapper catches from along the Intracoastal Waterway.
At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include snapper from the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Piers, plus some small sharks. There are lots of trout reports near the seagrass flats, but there are only a few good-sized fish coming from each location before the rest stop hitting. Redfish are still coming out of the waters in front of Miguel Bay.
On my boat Magic, we've been catching lots of small snook with a few keepers mixed in, but we're limiting-out on redfish on most days. I'm finding that the outgoing tides are making the bigger trout hungry - up to 20 inches - and flounder are starting to make a good showing. I also spotted a few cobia last week, but couldn't get a bite.
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.