Fishing already great for warm summer opener
Brody Yost, 10, caught this 24-inch trout while fishing with his grandfather, Capt. Jack Parker, aboard the charter boat "Skinny M."
“Tarpon is the name of the game.”
So says Capt. Mark Howard of SumoTime Fishing Charters. He added that his charters have been getting many hookups with a couple of silver kings landed most trips. He also reports spotting a 10-foot hammerhead following a pod of tarpon off the beach. He said snook are on the beaches getting ready for the spawn.
Capt. Tom Chaya of Dolphin Dreams out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach says “tarpon fishing is still at its peak - with plenty in the passes, around bridges and beaches.” Snook, although not yet in season, are piled up in the passes, he said, and best caught at night. Mackerel and bonita are hitting small sardines just offshore.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina at Sunny Shoressays “this summer is shaping up to be an above average angling season. There are a lot of fish of all shapes, sizes, and descriptions staged up in southeast Tampa Bay and in the Gulf of Mexico just around the mouth of the bay. Bonito, sharks, Spanish mackerel, sea trout, cobia and tarpon, and even a stray kingfish have been reported. Wherever there is a concentration of bait and structure coupled with a good tidal situation the action can be fast and furious.”
On the inshore scene, Capt. Zach says north Sarasota and Palma Sola bays have been equally productive, especially when fishing deep broken grass areas ranging in depth from 4 to 7 feet. Numerous hefty spotted sea trout have been taken with live baits and artificial offerings as well on good days.
With snook season closed and the one fish bag limit on redfish, Zach says the best bet in town is to go after trout and snapper if you’re looking to ice down some quality groceries.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier says mackerel and mangrove snapper are the two best bets and there’s been an occasional flounder on the hook. Yellowtail jacks are busting into the bait around the pier and snook are hanging out there, but out of season.
Dave Sork at the Anna Maria City Pier, the report was similar to the Rod & Reel, except they’ve been seeing some small bonnethead sharks on the hooks, plus a few small redfish, legal but small.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle said offshore bottom fishing remains excellent for grouper and snapper and the pelagic fish, dolphin wahoo and tuna, are just starting to show up. Inshore, he says, redfish and trout are best bests now, with trout starting to run smaller but still some legal size catches are being reported. Mackerel are everywhere, he said.
Capt. Logan Bystrom of Nearshore Fishing reports catching plenty of snook in the surf in the mornings and there are still tarpon hitting crabs and threadfins on the beaches and on moving tides in the passes. Mackerel are all around so keep a look out for schools of glass minnows under feeding birds.
At Annie’s Bait & Tackle in Cortez, Capt. Sam Kimball reported catching grouper, snapper, amberjack, banded rudderfish and barracuda. Capt. Mark Johnson out of Annie’s said he’s been targeting redfish and trout and getting mack and snapper as a fill in.
At Tropic Isles Marina there are good reports of redfish in Terra Ceia Bay, but mostly 19-24 inches. As for trout, fishers say they’re catching 10 before one keeper and there are good reports of mack and snapper coming from around the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House reports big snook - too big and out of season - are coming on the hook in the Manatee River and there are some keeper redfish coming from just inside the mouth of the river.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he’s doing real well with tarpon - three to four hookups a day and he’s finding big mangrove snapper up to 18 inches.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters says his parties are catching limits of monster red grouper,and American red snapper, plus a few big gag grouper, lots of mangrove, yellowtail, lane and vermillion snappers. He’s also putting his fishers on lots of amberjack, triggerfish, big sharks and barracudas. The best bite on grouper and amberjacks is from about 35 to 45 miles out. Closer to Egmont Key, he says, is all the shark and snapper action you want.
My last trip out, we caught 18-24 redfish and one 20-inch keeper trout.
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.