This big catch came from aboard Show Me The Fish Charters with Capt. Larry McGuire. Pictured are Paul Ewers, Kathy and David Wampler, Pastor Brian Bustle and Evanglist David Roever.
Slow fishing except for sheepies and some big grouper offshore
Fishing has again slowed, with sheepshead being the best catch for almost all the inshore fishers. There are a few small redfish and snook coming out of Terra Ceia Bay, but the big backwater action is convict fish right now, with some better than 6 pounds.
Offshore action continues to be great for snapper and grouper,with some 30-pound gag grouper coming into the coolers.
Capt. Terry Frankford of the Reelin & Chillin said his customers "enjoyed some good redfish action, with a 26- topping the list. There are plenty of sheepshead around, and a few black drum join in on the fun also. Ladyfish are still around, making for great light tackle action." He took Gavin, Rachel and 4-year-old William Jones from Kent, England, out to ladyfish, and William caught his first fish and "for such a little guy he did a really good job reeling it in. Rachel topped the list with a big sheepshead caught on live shrimp around structure in Sarasota Bay." He also put other charters onto sheepshead off Edwards Island off Siesta Key and a big redfish in the bay off the radio tower at City Island. "We used live shrimp this week, free-lining them or using a No. 4 split-shot sinker. This time of year, with the cold water temperatures and fronts moving in every few days, the fish can turn off easily," he said.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said sheepshead were the No. 1 catch last week for inshore anglers. Offshore action continues to be great for gag grouper and mangrove snapper, with excellent catches coming in for gags to 30 pounds and snapper to 5 pounds.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's catching a few small redfish, some small snook and lots of sheepshead.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said fishing is slow, with sheepshead about the best and, the only, catch coming onto the docks.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said sheepshead remain his best bet, with other catches being slow to non-existent.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's said his trips started out with the mainstay of sheepshead after the hard cold front of last weekend. "Towards the weekend the nice weather started bringing out more species with trout, bluefish, and pompano," he said. "John Brigham of Bradenton, along with two buddies from Indiana, iced down a limit catch of gray trout with some spotted trout mixed in and some sheepies to boot. Over the course of the week, it was obvious that most of our resident fish were on the move. A lot of snook and redfish, along with sheepshead and jack crevalle, were seen moving out of canals and bayous toward more open bay water. It was also encouraging to see some trout moving into the areas that had been pretty much devoid of that popular species since the extended bouts of red tide last year. If this exceptional weather continues for a spell, we may end up with some early spring action after all."
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he's also seeing lots of sheepies coming onto the docks, plus a few trout and black drum from the Manatee River.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he put his charters onto a few redfish and lots of sheepies last week.
At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include sheepshead and some keeper-size redfish from the docks in Terra Ceia Bay. There are also lots of hungry - but small - snook around the canals in that bay, with artificial bait working the best for hookups.
On my boat Magic, sheepshead were about our only catch, but some of the big ones were better than 6 pounds and we're generally reeling in at least 20 per trip.
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.