Bradenton Beach native Patrick Cole, 15, caught this 7-foot-plus sailfish while fishing with Capt. Sam Kimball. The sail was caught and released about 20 miles west of Longboat Pass. Cole, a sophomore at Bayshore High School, is a catcher on the junior varsity baseball team.
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Dr. Dick Lyons of Bradenton, formerly of Anna Maria and Holmes Beach, caught this 27-pound kingfish while fishing with Capt. Keith Barnett aboard the Bubba Too. Lyons caught the fish using 15-pound-test line.
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Excellent fishing now, both inshore and out
Fishing remains excellent both for inshore and offshore anglers.
In the backwater, look for some big, hungry snook, trout and redfish, with an occasional flounder thrown in.
For offshore anglers, the kingfish run is starting to heat up. There are also good reports of mackerel off the beaches, as well as cobia, grouper and snapper.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he caught snook, redfish and trout last week, as well as some flounder up to 18 inches in Sarasota Bay. Bait-of-choice for Capt. Thom is whitebait and shrimp.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said fishing is at its finest right now, with reports of good-size snook, lots of trout and redfish coming from the backwater. Out in the Gulf of Mexico, look for that kingfish run, as well as mackerel, cobia, snapper and grouper.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said fishers there were catching lots of pompano, redfish, mackerel and a few sheepshead.
Cliff Alcorn at the Anna Maria City Pier said one angler caught a barracuda from the pier last week. Other action includes sheepshead, mackerel and some nighttime snook.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he's seeing lots and lots of trout coming to the dock, plus redfish. Billie McInnis was able to reel in a 34-inch snook from Terra Ceia Bay for the crab house's catch of the week.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he's catching lots of good-size snook, redfish, trout, mackerel and a few flounder.
At the Perico Island Bait and Tackle, fishing is excellent with lots of big trout and redfish coming in from the bays, as well as cobia and mackerel from just off the beaches of the Island.
Capt. Tom Chaya on the Dolphin Dreams in Holmes Beach out of Catchers said he's also getting into lots of big snook, plus Spanish mackerel along the beaches and a few cobia.
Capt. Ray Markham with the Flat Back II said that "building toward and following the new moon, the bite was steady with frequent flurries of action on snook, trout, redfish, flounder, bluefish and a few Spanish mackerel. We are approaching prime time for spring fishing as water temperatures rise. Large bait schools are moving into the lower Tampa Bay area and south into Terra Ceia and Sarasota bays. Along with those schools, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and ladyfish follow. Cobia and tarpon show as well, but few have been sighted. Glass minnows are around by the ton, and trout and snook are feeding on them voraciously. Coming down the backside of the new moon, we'll see some major dropping tides late in the afternoons. Snook fishing should be very good, and fly anglers should have a shot at some quality sight-fishing opportunities. Bottomed out tides should produce excellent results for reds and trout."
At Skyway Bait & Tackle, the word is sheepshead, as well as mackerel and redfish coming out of Terra Ceia Bay as well as a few reports of big snook.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said he put his clients on a good kingfish run last week. "The kingfish have been up to 4-1/2 feet long," he said. "Our clients have also been catching lots of blacktip sharks that have been up to 7 feet long. We have also been catching mangrove snapper to 7 pounds and lots of gag grouper and red grouper. We have been fishing in 35 to 100 feet of water using a variety of live baits, frozen Spanish sardines and shrimp as bait.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's Bait & Tackle in Cortez said he's put his charters onto snook, trout, redfish, flounder and some very big yellowtail jacks. He took Doug Shopa from Battle Creek, Mich., out last week and he caught a 42-inch snook using 10-pound gear - talk about a fight!
On my boat Magic, we caught snook to 32 inches and redfish to 27 inches. One of our trout, caught by Shirley Popham of Terra Ceia, was 28 inches long and tipped the scale at 7 pounds. We've also been catching flounder to 17 inches and snapper to 16 inches.
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.