Happy fishers from a day on the water at Stray Dog Charters with Capt. Scott Greer are, from left, Dan Pelton, Bob Felker, Ray Reineck, Brook Reineck, Sue Felker and Max Sulzberger.
Can't get much better than this offshore: Grouper, snapper, amberjack
Whitebait is a good harbinger of good fishing and, after a brief hiatus
and what we all hope was the last cold front of the season, the little
baitfish are back and thick for the taking.
Backwater fishing continues to
be good for sheepshead, but redfish, snook and even a few flounder are
also starting to appear.
Offshore is just drop-dead great
for grouper, snapper and amberjack.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's
Repair on Cortez Road said he's catching small redfish
and snook, with artificial bait working the best for the best action.
Bill Lowman at Island
Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes
Beach said fishing is "red hot right now, with snook, redfish
and sheepshead inshore, while offshore it's grouper, snapper
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show
Me The Fish Charters said bluntly that "fishing has
been awesome this past week. Snapper fishing is still the hot ticket
to target. Most of our clients have been catching their federal aggregate
limit of snapper, which is 10 per person. We have been catching large
mangrove, yellowtail and lane snapper, as well as some large gag, red,
and scamp grouper." He also put one charter onto a 7-foot-long
blacktip shark. He's been fishing in 115-foot depths in the Gulf
of Mexico, using live Key West grunts, pinfish, frozen Spanish sardines
for the grouper hookups, and live shrimp for the snapper.
Dave Johnson at Snead
Island Crab House said he's hearing good things about
snook coming out of Terra Ceia Bay. There are also lots of sheepshead
still being caught near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge area, plus lots
of redfish, with some fishers reporting more than 50 hookups per trip.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel
Pier said he's seeing a good batch of good-sized fish
coming to the decks: Sheepshead, a few pompano, whiting and drum.
Jesus Rosario at
the Anna Maria City Pier said he's seeing a bunch
of snook coming onto the dock at night, plus a few mackerel during the
day, plus some flounder.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy
Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes
Beach said his charters have been catching some good-size snook, a
few keeper-size redfish, and whitebait have returned after the cold
front chased them off for a bit.
At Perico Island Bait and
Tackle, reports include sheepshead No. 1 coming into the dock
still, but there are more and more redfish getting caught in the Palma
Sola Bay area.
At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports
include a few sheepshead from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge area, but there
are also lots of reports of good-sized redfish inside of Miguel Bay,
as well as a few mackerel coming in from the bays.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on
the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's said
that water warmed quickly after the most recent - and probably
last - cold front of the season. "Fishing action was hot
and cold over the week," he said. "The best day was enjoyed
by Warren Larson and his two grandsons, from Portage, Ind. The trio boated
around 10 snook, 25 trout and a handful of jack, sheepshead and ladyfish.
All of the fish were released. Dick Kowal of Holmes Beach also boated
a nice 27-inch snook." Capt. Zach said most of the action is taking
place at the change of the tide using both shrimp and whitebait. "The
most notable catch was the spotted sea trout in Anna Maria Sound. The
trout were not huge but ranged from 14 to 17 inches and were found over
deep seagrass. Trout have been pretty scarce in the area and the catch
was very encouraging."
On my boat Magic, we
caught more than 100 sheepshead last week, with most
up to 6 pounds, plus some mangrove snapper and limit-catches of redfish
on every 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.