Tag Archives: 01-16-2013
The Anna Maria Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization Dolphin Dash 5k run gets its start Jan. 12 at the school, 4700 Gulf Drive.
AME first-grader Juliet Greene finishes strong in the Dolphin Dash 1-mile walk/run. Two races on the streets of Holmes Beach started and finished Jan. 12 at Anna Maria Elementary School.
Runner 52, Anna Urban, runs with determination in the Jan. 12 Dolphin Dash.
Young runner, Jack Love, is cheered on as he finishes the 5k run in Anna Maria Elementary School Parent Teach Organization Dolphin Dash. According to race organizer Jesse Brisson, Love had a great 5k run for his age.
Andrew Burgess, AME fourth-grader, sprints to the finish of the 5k Dolphin Dash.
Nicholas Yatros, AME first-grader, runs on air in a sprint to the finish of the 1-mile Dolphin Dash walk/run Jan. 12 on the streets of Holmes Beach.
Islander Photos: Karen Riley-Love
AME PTO Dolphin Dash results:
Dolphin Dash female winners
1st Overall: Dominique Kohlenberger 22.49
Masters Winner: Sandy Meneley 24.21
Grand Masters Winner: Carol Berker 24.46
Senior Grand Masters: Arlene Jarzab 26.57
Vt Grand Masters: Erma McMulle 31.20 31.12
9 & under: Katie Lyssy 31.12
10-12: Gianna Sparks 27.16
13-15: Sarah Quattromani 25.29
16-19: Chelsea Burges 48.45
20-24: Emily Berkes 28.55
25-29: Erica Thomas 39.36
30-34: Heather Empsall 25.39
35-39: Nicole Restauri 26.01
40-44: Mary McCabe 26.04
45-49: Becky Demo 25.08
50-54: Emily Rowe 25.56
55-59: Wendy Biggerstaff 29.01
60-64: Sheri Bedford 27.58
70-74: Esther Van Duzee 32.22
Dolphin Dash male winners
1st Overall: Geremy DeWitt 16.22
Masters Winner: John Skey 21.36
Grand Masters Winner: John Maraia 19.23
Vt Grand Masters: Jim Hicks 24.40
9 & under: Zach Jones 22.19
10-12: Zac Smith 22.40
13-15: Nick Berkes 21.48
16-19: Gerarado Miron 20.24
20-24: Michael Lamb 16.38
25-29: Jonathon Huffy 17.46
30-34: Troy Shonk 19.58
35-39: Brian Jordin 21.43
40-44: Ted Watson 21.47
45-49: Matt McCabe 22.00
50-54: Kent Groves 22.57
55-59: Mark Johnson 27.39
60-64: David Strauss 23.56
65-69: Fred Stewart 23.43
70-74: Tom Conlin Tom Conlin
75-79: Chuck Van Duzee 32.23
80+: Ergwn Baharogly 29.43
Congratulations to all the winners, participants and volunteers for taking part in on a great fundraiser for AME.
Anna Maria building official Bob Welch placed a stop work order at this duplex at 300 N. Shore Drive Jan. 8, after finding issues with the construction project. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin
Remodeling of an L-shaped duplex at 300 N. Shore Drive, Anna Maria, by Beach to Bay Construction was halted Jan. 8 by building official Bob Welch after he found several issues with the construction project.
Mayor SueLynn said the site plan also was reviewed by Rik Bass of Bass & Associates professional appraisers. She said Bass found “significant questions” about the cost estimates to warrant a stop work order.
Welch wrote on the stop work order “substantial improvement,” as the reason for halting the project. He said he had not yet discussed the issues with Jim Moss, the project superintendent for the contractor, Beach to Bay Construction.
The administrative issues involve the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Welch said, but he declined to elaborate. He said he did “not feel comfortable” discussing the issues before talking with the contractor.
Welch added, “These are issues that have to be ironed out before construction can continue.”
Richard Eason of Bradenton, who owns 300 N. Shore Drive, was at the property Jan. 8. He said he was shocked when he saw the posted stop work order.
“I thought everything was proper. Yes, there is going to be living space on the ground floor,” Eason said. However, he added, he was told the work does not violate any ordinance or regulation.
When contacted, Beach to Bay Investment principal Shawn Kaleta referred questions to Moss, but efforts to reach Moss were unsuccessful.
Beach to Bay Construction is owned by Scott Eason, but it was Kaleta who came under fire from officials in Holmes Beach for building and marketing large rental properties in that city’s duplex zone. Kaleta maintains he broke no building codes or ordinances.
He said his companies built or remodeled some 60 properties in the city, more than any other builder or investor, and he felt he came under scrutiny for that reason.
The Bridge Street-Bay Drive roundabout will be re-landscaped starting at noon Friday, Jan. 18, as part of the Florida Arbor Day celebration. And the Bridge Street-Gulf Drive roundabout in Bradenton Beach will likely receive new landscaping as part of the April National Arbor Day celebration. Islander Photo: Mark Young
The Bradenton Beach Scenic Waves Partnership Committee is scheduled to hold its annual election of officers in March, but nominations at a Jan. 7 meeting at city hall stalled due to a lack of commitment to serve.
The committee, the first line of authority for any improvements along Gulf Drive, has struggled to hold an official meeting due to poor attendance and a quorum to take action. It is seeking new members to boost the board, which has seen its legitimacy of late questioned by its chair.
For the last few meetings of 2012, acting chair Carl Parks listed an agenda item to discuss the board’s future and legitimacy. The answer from the few board members who attended was to increase membership.
Details on a membership drive are being planned, but anyone with an interest in serving on the Scenic Waves Partnership Committee can contact the city for information.
Nominations for the 2013 board officers stalled Jan. 7 due to the current members’ reluctance to take on additional responsibilities. Many of the existing board members serve on multiple community boards and have busy work schedules.
There were only two nominations for a new chair, currently occupied by Parks after Pat Whitesel resigned earlier in 2012. Parks has served as chair in the past.
Parks received one nomination to remain as chair, as did board member Jake Spooner, who declined, stating obligations to his business take up much of his time.
Spooner did say he would be willing to serve as vice chair, if needed. Secretary Ingrid McClellan, executive director of Keep Manatee Beautiful, indicated she would remain in her board position.
Parks remained silent on his nomination as chair and no vote was taken. Parks, instead, left nominations open until the March election.
In other matters, the board received updates on two projects initially generated through Scenic Waves.
McClellan told the board a Jan. 18 Arbor Day event is proceeding as planned. It will consist of a landscaping redesign of the Bridge Street-Bay Drive roundabout. Officials will hold a ribbon-cutting at noon.
The project is being funded by the Bridge Street Merchants.
City Commissioner Gay Breuler, the commission’s liaison to Scenic Waves, said the $2,600 secured to landscape the city’s gateway on Gulf Drive and Cortez Road also is proceeding as planned.
Breuler is working in coordination with three condominium boards to incorporate the areas of the condo properties in the beautification project. She said only native plants will be used and there are no plans to remove existing vegetation.
“And the city is offering to do the watering until the plants are established,” she said. “I’m hoping to get final approval from the condos so we can get it on the Jan. 17 commission agenda for approval.”
The Manatee/Sarasota Metropolitan Planning Organization liaison to Scenic Waves, Jim Van Pelt, reported that the Manatee County Health Department secured a $40,000 grant for its Complete Streets Program.
Van Pelt said Marissa Sheldon “did a great job” in putting it together and Manatee County was only one of a dozen counties in the country to receive the grant.
“It’s to promote awareness of the county’s walkable and bike-friendly streets,” he said. “It’s primarily targeted for children to help fight childhood obesity.”
Van Pelt said Scenic Waves should be aware of the grant to potentially garner some of the funding.
Committee member David Teitelbaum, also a member of the Manatee County Tourist Development Council and the Anna Maria Chamber of Commerce board of directors, said everything is looking good for tourism and upcoming events.
He did express interest in seeing Bradenton Beach commissioners more involved with the TDC efforts.
Restaurateur and Scenic Waves committee member Ed Chiles confirmed that tourism is doing well, “especially the European numbers, which are very impressive,” he said. “They really love the environment we have here.”
The Scenic Waves Partnership Committee meets the first Monday of every month at 3 p.m., at Bradenton Beach City Hall, 107 Gulf Drive. Meetings are open to the public.
The trial of William J. Cumber is expected to be scheduled by the 12th Judicial Circuit Court at a Jan. 16 case management hearing. Cumber is accused of the second-degree murder of Holmes Beach resident Sabine Musil-Buehler.
Musil-Buehler had lived with Cumber in the 200 block of Magnolia Avenue in Anna Maria when she was discovered missing Nov. 6, 2008. She and her estranged husband, Tom Buehler, owned Haley’s Motel in Holmes Beach.
Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube announced Cumber’s arrest on the murder charge in October 2012.
At the upcoming hearing, assistant state attorney Art Brown said he expects the defense to discuss with the judge how long it will take to prepare for trial, including time needed to gather information from depositions, interviews and reports.
Cumber was adjudged indigent, and the court appointed a public defender Oct. 16.
On Dec. 3, the state filed a one-page list of people “who may have information relevant to either the charge or potential defense of the charge — not necessarily all will be witnesses,” Brown said.
In response to a request for discovery of favorable material filed by Cumber’s assigned public defender, Carolyn Schlemmer, the state is required to disclose any witnesses, statements and information under its control, and “they will reciprocate,” Brown said.
“I’m working on a second discovery response right now — with both witnesses and other information,” Brown said Jan. 9.
The murder charge includes allegations that between Nov. 4, 2008, and Nov. 6, 2008, without premeditation, and with a depraved mind, Cumber unlawfully killed Musil-Buehler.
Brown acknowledged that one of the elements the state must prove is the death of Musil-Buehler, whose body has not been found.
“If you do not have a body, you can still establish a homicide,” Brown said, “and there’s case law that says, if a person hasn’t been seen by the people she’d usually see, hasn’t been at places she’d usually gone to or if she’s been absent for a long period.”
An investigation by the MCSO led to Cumber’s arrest.
In a probable cause affidavit dated March 8, 2012, a detective testified to “a strong smell of bleach” in the Magnolia Avenue apartment during a Nov. 6, 2008, interview with Cumber. It also states that Cumber lied about his whereabouts on the day Sabine went missing, and “made several incriminating statements that only the person responsible in Sabine’s death would have knowledge of.”
The court issued a warrant Oct. 12, 2012, on the murder charge and ordered Cumber, who had been incarcerated at the Charlotte Correctional Institution in Punta Gorda, transported to Manatee County.
Cumber was in the state prison on an unrelated arson conviction and probation violation.
Cumber is being held in the Manatee County jail without bond. Brown said bond was not an option because Cumber continues to serve time on the arson sentence.
Cumber faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted on the murder charge.
The case management is set for 9 a.m. before Judge Thomas Krug in 6A at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.
Ingrid McClellan, executive director of Keep Manatee Beautiful, provides the city of Holmes Beach with Florida plant books at the Jan. 2 parks and beautification committee meeting. Islander Photo: Kathy Prucnell
Holmes Beach will observe Florida Arbor Day at 9 a.m. Friday, Jan. 18, at the trolley stop at 77th Street and Marina Drive.
At the ceremony, community leaders will dedicate a green buttonwood tree, which is expected to grow to 35 feet tall. The species was recommended Jan. 2 by the parks and beautification committee.
Two oak trees died after being planted there two years ago, according to parks and beautification committee member Marilyn Shirley. Committee member Dennis Groh said the oaks could not withstand saltwater in that location.
The committee recommended a green buttonwood be planted, and that a tree replacement —a southern red cedar — be planted in April on National Arbor Day.
Groh favored the diversity, saying to put in two different species of trees “you’re assuring the success of your plant.”
Keep Manatee Beautiful, state and city officials are expected at the ceremony.
KMB executive director Ingrid McClellan, to commemorate the Florida Arbor Day, recently provided the committee and Holmes Beach a $500 U.S. Forest Service grant to develop educational materials.
In honor of the day, traditionally set aside to recognize the planting and caring for trees, McClellan said KMB contributes to parks and beautification programs countywide, seeking to match city needs with the terms of the grant.
“We’re not just about planting trees,” said Mcclellan. “There’s also an educational component. We’re about planting, establishing and maintaining them, also.”
Lacking staff in the Holmes Beach building department — particularly someone qualified to sign permits — the city has turned to Manatee County for assistance.
Interim building inspector Tom O’Brien applied Jan. 2 for a Florida provisional building code administrator’s certificate that will allow him as a licensed architect to sign off on building permits and plans.
To fill the gap while the state processes O’Brien’s certification, Mayor Carmel Monti announced Jan. 8, the county will begin assisting the building department on or about Jan. 10 for about 90 days.
Monti said he and O’Brien met with Manatee County building department officials Jan. 7 and agreed to the interim arrangement.
Part-time consultant and former building official John Fernandez had been issuing permits, but he ended his contract with the city Dec. 26.
When O’Brien’s license will be approved depends on the Florida construction industry licensing board, according to the Department of Business and Professional Regulations communications director Sandi Poreda.
The need for a building official in Holmes Beach comes after months of controversy over building practices in the city.
Monti and two commissioners, Marvin Grossman and Judy Titsworth, elected in November, and others, including already-seated Commissioner Jean Peelen, have been critical of building-code interpretations and enforcement of the city’s land-development and state’s building codes.
Monti told commissioners last week, public works superintendent Joe Duennes, who stepped down Nov.16 after more than 16 years — but remains on the payroll — had been signing permits in an “ex-officio status” before the decision to use the county building officials.
In a phone call last week, Duennes said he decided against signing permits because of possible legal ramifications and the DBPR discouraged it. He discontinued the practice Jan. 4.
Duennes also said it was unfair to blame the past administration for following a city ordinance that permitted underground footers to separate duplex units, which were blamed for a myriad of problems related to rentals.
At the city’s Jan. 8 meeting, Commissioner David Zaccagnino asked whether it was known how long it would take for O’Brien’s licensing, adding, “I’m pretty sure they’re not giving it to us gratis.”
However, the question went unanswered.
In other matters related to the building department, commissioners voted 4-1 on a four-month amended employment contract with O’Brien, which terminates March 31. A formal search is expected to fill the permanent position.
Monti explained the amended agreement replaces a 40-hour weekly work requirement with a flat fee of $5,000 per month for services performed. He said he did not want to micromanage O’Brien’s hours and that he expects him to get his job done, including attendance at city commission meetings.
City attorney Patricia Petruff noted another change in the worker’s compensation insurance portion of the agreement filled in some missing language.
Zaccagnino pointed out that O’Brien, hired on the interim contract basis in December, had just tendered his liability insurance as required by the agreement, and inquired about his lack of coverage for worker’s compensation.
Petruff said she was told by the DBPR that O’Brien was considered a non-contractor and sole proprietor and not part of the construction industry, and, as such, exempt from worker’s compensation laws. O’Brien can ask the DBPR for a courtesy letter to confirm his status, she said.
After the meeting, O’Brien said he understood the need for legal compliance because he is in the position of requiring others to conform to building laws.
Future development in the Residential-2 district, including duplexes similar to these on 74th Street, is the target of elimination while the city commission prepares ordinances during the moratorium on demolitions, new construction and substantial improvements. Islander File Photo: Kathy Prucnell
Holmes Beach city commissioners — who have debated, studied and set the foundation for a building moratorium in the Residential-2 district for the past year — some even before they took office, made it official Jan. 8.
The moratorium is retroactive to Dec. 25, 2012.
A motion by Commissioner Pat Morton, seconded by Commissioner Judy Titsworth imposed a moratorium, halting new permits for construction, demolition and substantial rebuilds for up to six months in the city’s duplex district.
Exceptions to the moratorium are “interior demolition for purposes such as remodeling” and “maintenance of existing houses which does not result in total demolition, such as replacement of siding or windows.”
In a 4-1 vote, Commission Chair Jean Peelen and Commissioner Marvin Grossman joined Titsworth and Morton in favor and Commissioner David Zaccagnino dissented.
Zaccagnino spoke against the moratorium, first questioning why the land development code’s definition of substantial improvement — the limit to which a residence can be remodeled during the moratorium — hadn’t been checked out with the state.
Peelen answered that for the purposes of the moratorium, the definition would remain the same as presently stated in the city code.
He responded that builders would remain uncertain about what constitutes a substantial improvement.
The purpose of the moratorium, according to city attorney Patricia Petruff, is to avoid a deluge of permit applications while the commission sets new laws or puts policies in place.
Before asking Petruff to draft the moratorium, the commission had tasked city planner Bill Brisson in August to study oversized dwellings and associated problems in the R-2 district. This action came after residents packed commission meetings a year ago, complaining about noise, parking, trash, garbage and overdevelopment in the district.
In the past year, the commission assigned focus groups to study issues of building and zoning, rentals agents, code enforcement and administrative licensing. Citizens and commissioners brainstormed, produced reports, requested records and debated solutions.
Brisson issued reports in September and December that supported the city’s R-2 development trending toward larger homes since 2009, and concluded they were out of character for the beach community.
Before the vote, Holmes Beach property owner and past-resident Joe Kennedy, now residing in Bradenton, commented on the moratorium.
Kennedy said Brisson’s study did not provide evidence to support the moratorium.
“There is not any evidence, statistical or otherwise given to show a larger dwelling unit creates more problems than a smaller dwelling unit, even though a larger dwelling unit may in fact house more people,” Kennedy said.
He criticized the city for not conducting traffic studies, noise surveys, or providing evidence of illegal vacation rentals, parking problems or trash citations.
Kennedy owns a vacant lot suitable for a single-family home in R-2, and began requesting public records and sending letters to commissioners when the December sale of his property fell through due to the anticipated moratorium.
Zaccagnino also read a letter from resident Keith Carter, which, he said, summed up his position.
Carter said owners will be discouraged by the new restrictions from remodeling, and encouraged to tear down existing ground-level homes to rebuild as multi-story units.
McKeever also read his comments into the record.
He said contractors who came to previous meetings to object to the moratorium failed to recognize conventional remodeling or districts other than R-2 as options for their businesses.
“Now we’re exploring remedies to other problems that these carpetbaggers have foisted on us — things such as two pools on one lot,” said McKeever. “Why not? We have two houses on one lot. Except we ridiculously call them duplexes because of an absurd technicality.
“And have you noticed how many of the people who own these things or plan to build them have unusual names? They all seem to end in LLC.”
For more on building limitations, including pools, docks and living-area ratio as planned by the Holmes Beach commission, go online at www.islander.org.
Holmes Beach looks to change future building
With the controversial Holmes Beach building moratorium imposed, it allows up to six months for the city commission to enact changes in the Residential-2 zone. And, there’s already a smorgasbord of proposed changes on the plates of city commissioners, officials, the planner and attorney, including:
- A living-area ratio ordinance expected to impose a .34 LAR for new construction and substantial remodels. The new ordinance has been drafted to change the land development code to restrict the square footage of homes in proportion to lot sizes. Non-air-conditioned spaces, including a garage, patio, balcony, porch and terrace, will not be included in calculating LAR. It is set for a final commission vote Jan. 22.
- A one-pool-per lot rule. Commissioners are expected to review land development code amendments Jan. 17 to limit the construction of one pool for each city lot. Staff is researching possible exceptions.
- Dock setback rules in line with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, but considerate of prior rules in some areas. The commission is expected to hear the first reading on the new ordinance Jan. 22.
- Business tax restrictions. Legal opinions are expected on the subject of tying compliance to city and state building codes to future issuance of business receipts to rental properties. Commissioner Judy Titsworth suggested Jan. 8 that the occupancy requirement also be considered.
- Two building department policies on corner lots and elevator shafts. They are expected to be written by building inspector Tom O’Brien and reviewed at future commission meeting.
The Angelinos Sea Lodge treehouse — constructed without permits — no longer has a deadline for removal but has new orders for compliance. The beachfront treehouse is at 103 29th St. in Holmes Beach. Islander Photo: Kathy Prucnell
The owners of Angelinos Sea Lodge — previously ordered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to remove or modify the property’s beachfront treehouse — will now be allowed to apply for a permit for the structure they began seaward of the Coastal Construction Control Line more than a year ago.
“I’m not going to jump to the assumption we’ll be given the permit,” said Lynn Tran, co-owner with Richard Hazen of the lodge at 103 29th St., Holmes Beach. “But we’ll go through the process and see. We’re glad we have the opportunity.”
In a Dec. 13 letter, DEP’s Water Resource Management Division Environmental Manager Jim Martinello said the DEP would issue a final order requiring removal of the treehouse if a completed application is not received by the agency within 45 days.
Martinello said after staff review of a Sept. 18 letter from the owners and accompanying photographs, the DEP decided to allow the owners to apply for the after-the-fact permit.
State law requires permits for building seaward of the CCCL to protect the beach and dune system from destabilization or destruction caused by beach structures.
The city referred the complaint to the DEP and advised the city would require engineering and a survey if the owners seek a DEP permit.
In December 2011, the DEP told the owners the treehouse might not qualify for an after-the-fact permit. In an Aug. 6 letter, the DEP recommended its removal, allowing 30 days for its owners to submit a modified design and location.
The September letter from owners Tran and Hazen appealed the DEP order, saying they had invested nearly $50,000 in safety improvements and that the structure withstood two recent tropical storms.
Asked why the agency appeared to have changed its course from the Aug. 6 letter, DEP spokesperson Dee Ann Miller said, “We are merely allowing them an opportunity to apply. The application will undergo the normal review process.”
Tran and Hazen began construction in April 2011, claiming they had received permission from the Holmes Beach City building department, according to their Sept. 18 letter.
“We even checked with two Holmes Beach commissioners who confirmed that there are no permits required and no regulations exist for tree decks and treehouses,” they wrote.
The owners stated, “We feel that we have been unreasonably threatened and denied our rights to peaceful enjoyment, freedom to create and pursue happiness in our back yard,” the owners concluded.
In the December 2012 letter, the DEP advised the owners that to obtain an after-the-fact permit they must submit:
• Names and addresses of immediately adjacent owners.
• Evidence of property ownership.
• A no-objection letter from the city of Holmes Beach that the activity does not contravene local setback requirements, zoning or building codes.
• Two copies of a survey in accordance with the Florida Administrative Code.
• Two copies of a site plan, including the location of construction activities relative to the CCCL.
• Two copies of detailed final foundation plans and specifications.
The DEP letter also advised the owners a permit fee would be determined after review of the application.
In addition to the treehouse, the lodge includes a beachfront home and four vacation rental units.
The tree structure is not intended to be used by lodge guests, according to Tran.
“It’s not a house,” she said. “It’s for private use. It’s just for us, our family and friends.”
She added, “A lot of people like to stop by and take photos. It adds a little charm.”
The Florida Department of Transportation was scheduled to begin maintenance Jan. 13 and continue weekdays 8 p.m.-5 a.m. on the Anna Maria Island Bridge, Cortez Bridge and Longboat Pass Bridge, a DOT press release said.
The project involves stripping and replacing pavement markers and requires some lane closures. Lane widths may be restricted during the project. The speed limit will be reduced during work and motorists are advised to use caution when approaching a work area.
Work crews will perform maintenance on each bridge separately, the DOT said, and the project is expected to finish in two weeks.
A goliath grouper was caught and released by Chuck Bismark of Bradenton, left. Anthony Leverett helps show the 130-pound fish caught on a sardine in about 125 feet of water offshore of Anna Maria Island while fishing with Capt. Larry McGuire.
Water temps warm: anglers change tactics to get action
With the temperature in the past week around Anna Maria Island rising into the mid 80s, the water temp went up about 5 degrees, leaving fishers caught between winter techniques and switching to spring maneuvers.
Most are fishing the winter pattern, using live shrimp around docks and structure in the bay to catch flounder, sheepshead, black drum and redfish. This is typical for winter fishing in our area although with daily 80-degree temps, some fishers are moving onto the flats to catch trout, redfish and catch-and-release snook, and live shiners are available if you know where to catch them.
Some flats fishers using live shiners still are having success, especially in the afternoons during high tides. By this time, the sun has warmed the water enough to motivate the fish to chase a shiner.
Fishing nearshore is providing good action for flounder, Key West grunts and sheepshead. Try using live shrimp to get in on this action.
Reports from Jeff Medley at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge South Fishing Pier note that Spanish mackerel and bonito are being caught on a regular basis. “They’re back,” says Medley, “and in good numbers, too.”
If you’re looking for rod-bending action, this may be a good option. Try using Gotcha plugs or silver spoons to get a bite.
Pier fishers using silver spoons or Gotcha plugs are catching Spanish mackerel up to 20 inches to the fork of the tail. During the right tides, limits of these high-activity fish are attainable. Live bait such as shiners and threadfin herring are also catching macks. If using live bait, remember to rig with at least 30-pound fluorocarbon for leader and a 2/0 long shank hook to give you a better chance of preventing the mack’s sharp teeth from cutting your line.
Along with the macks are bonito with similar feeding habits. You will see them crashing the surface striking small baitfish. The average size bonito is 10 pounds, and they readily strike a spoon or Gotcha plug.
Lastly, pier fishers are reeling up respectable numbers of sheepshead. Live shrimp are working, although fiddler crabs are still the top bait. Fish in the 1- to 2-pound range are average. Remember to use a stout hook due to the sheepshead’s boney mouth. I suggest Owner Flyline hooks in a size 2 or 4.
Capt. Warren Girle is fishing inshore targeting a variety of species. Around canals and docks, Girle is using fresh-cut live shrimp to catch sheepshead, black drum and flounder. On days that are warmer, Girle is migrating to the grass flats of Sarasota Bay in search of redfish, pompano and bluefish.
In the canals, Girle anchors by docks that are surrounded by deep water. Once set up, Girle instructs his clients to cast fresh-cut shrimp as far under the docks as possible. By doing this, they’re reeling up good numbers of black drum. Sheepshead and flounder are frequenting the docks, which adds variety.
On the flats, Girle is using whole select live shrimp or Berkley Gulp shrimp on a jighead to target redfish. On the low tides, Girle is using his trolling motor to glide from pothole to pothole, casting baits to locate fish. Average size of the redfish is 24 inches.
Finally, over deep grass flats in south Sarasota Bay, Girle is doing a drift in search of pompano. Small pompano jigs tipped with a piece of shrimp are working and bringing pompano but also bluefish, ladyfish and jack crevalle, too.
Steve Oldham at Island Discount Tackle is hearing of good action occurring around canals and docks. Flats fishers are migrating to these areas on cooler, windy days to find a bite and are having good success. Using live shrimp around docks, fishers are catching redfish, sheepshead and flounder. Those choosing to use artificials such as Berkley Gulp shrimp or DOA Cal jigs, are jigging through the mouths of deeper canals catching respectable amounts of spotted seatrout.
Moving out to the grass flats of Anna Maria Sound, flats anglers are jigging for trout. Gulp shrimp or DOA Cal jigs are getting the bite, producing respectable numbers of trout, although most are undersized. While fishing this technique, expect to catch ladyfish and bluefish and possibly mackerel and pompano.
Jim Malfese at the Rod & Reel Pier says this week’s fishing is moderate at best. Pier fishers using live shrimp are working hard to catch flounder, sheepshead and black drum. Using a bottom rig pier fishers are baiting up with live shrimp and casting their baits under the pier as far as they can. Once their baits settle to the bottom, it’s just a matter of time before they are eaten by a hungry flounder or sheepshead.
Remember, when the water clarity is as good as it is around the pier, you want to rig with as much stealth as possible. If need be, try using some 15- or 20-pound fluorocarbon connected to a No. 4 hook. You may lose a couple of rigs to the pilings, but your bite ratio should improve if the fish are feeding.
Capt. Mark Howard of SumoTime Fishing Charters says fishing this past week has been steady. Redfish, sheepshead, spotted seatrout, and pompano have all been landed on his charters.
Englander Ian Gilchrist, on his annual vacation to Anna Maria Island had some nice catches of redfish and sheepshead. Using a 2/0 circle hook rigged with a split shot, Howard has his clients toss a live shrimp way underneath the structure and let it set. A tip to improve your luck is to cut up dead and small shrimp into bite-sized pieces and chum the dock you are fishing, Howard says.
Spotted seatrout and pompano are on the flats and eating on a moving tide, he says and using a popping cork and live shrimp will get these tasty fish to the boat. Berkley Gulps are working Howard says.
Looking forward, the tides will have a lot of current flow that should trigger some excellent fishing opportunities. Plan to be at your go-to spot when the current is moving, Howard suggests.
Send fishing reports to firstname.lastname@example.org.