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Date of Issue: March 30, 2005

Fishing
Capt. Thom Smith out of Angler's Repair on Cortez Road shows off some a big trout.
Click on image to enlarge

Dirty water + dirty weather = good fishing action

Storm after storm has threatened the coast, postponing time after time the Eighth Annual De Soto Fishing Tournament. Never fear, though, the event has been rescheduled for Oct. 1-3, starting with a captain's meeting at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, at the Bradenton Yacht Club, 4307 Snead Island Road, Palmetto, followed by a party and with the start of offshore fishing after the meeting. The party is should run until 11:30 that night.

Inshore and nearshore action will commence at 7 a.m. Oct. 2, with a shotgun start at the mouth of the Manatee River. Weigh-in will be at the Bradenton Yacht Club beginning at 11 a.m. Oct. 3.

There will be offshore, nearshore and inshore divisions, and cash awards at $5,000 for first place awarded in each, as well as lesser prizes for other place-winners.

Entry fees are set at $275 for inshore, $400 for nearshore, and $500 for offshore boats and $100 for junior division vessels.

The fundraising event by sponsoring Hernando De Soto Historical Society Inc. benefits a host of other agencies, including college scholarships.

For more information about the fishing tourney, call 747-1998.

As to fishing, it has been great except for the weather. Backwater fishing for redfish and snook couldn't be better, and mackerel action continues to be great.

Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's getting good catches of redfish on both live and artificial baits, plus some nice-size trout and an few keeper-snook to 27 inches.

Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said fishing has been excellent even with the bad weather. Offshore action has been slow, but backwater fishing for redfish and snook has been tremendous, with reds the best bet right now.

Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said pier anglers are reeling in lots of redfish up to 14 pounds, plus black drum and some nice-sized snook at night.

Cliff Alcorn at the Anna Maria City Pier said the dock fishers are doing very well early in the morning with mackerel to 22 inches, keeper-size mangrove snapper, lots of jacks, and one 8-foot-long bull shark one night last week. The water is still dirty, Cliff said, but the fishing is still good.

Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said there are lots of snook being brought to the dock in better-than-40-inch lengths, plus mangrove snapper to 14 inches caught by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, as well as some mackerel and reds caught in Terra Ceia Bay.

Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he finally got back into the fishing mode after all the storms and had good results on reds to 27 inches and snook to 32 inches in length.

Teresa Baranowski at Perico Island Bait and Tackle said wade fishers were doing well with redfish catches just south of the Anna Maria Bridge on lower tides, with shrimp working best as bait. There are also good catches of snook trout and mackerel reported by boaters going out of the marina.

Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said he's putting his charters onto snook, redfish, trout and mackerel, and he too is finding fishing action good despite the storms.

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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