Drew Whitenack, 11, of Park Ridge, Ill., caught this nice-sized bonita while fishing with Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters.
Click on image to enlarge
Katrina crimps fishing; snook season starts tomorrow
Fishing was pretty tough last week, with the looming threat of Hurricane Katrina keeping most of the offshore boats inshore or at the dock due to the choppy seas.
A few days worth of extremely low tide also kept many of the shrimpers in port, impacting the bait shops that depend on bay shrimp for their fishing patrons.
Despite all that grief, there were still some good reports of snapper from the bays, lots of redfish from Terra Ceia Bay and Sarasota Bay, and hopeful action for snook season, which starts Sept. 1.
And speaking of the summer fishing season, I'll be offering a free seminar on summertime backwater fishing at Boater's World at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13. Boater's World is at 303 U.S. 301 W., Bradenton, near DeSoto Square Mall. Hope to see you there.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said he's more than ready for snook season to start Sept. 1, with lots of hookups coming in every day he's out on the water. He's also catching limit bags of redfish on most of his trips.
At Perico Island Bait and Tackle, reports include redfish catches on the lower tides around Perico Island. There are lots of mangrove snapper being caught by the Anna Maria Island Bridge and along the Intracoastal Waterway. There are also good predictions of a stellar snook season come Sept. 1.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said offshore fishing took a hit as Hurricane Katrina blew through the outer Gulf of Mexico, keeping most of the offshore guides hunkered down in port. For the backwater anglers, fishing is hot for redfish almost anywhere in Sarasota Bay. Bill is also predicting a great snook season, based on hookups in the past few weeks of the big and hungry linesiders.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's finding lots and lots of redfish from the Seven Pines area, catch-and-release snook and mangrove snapper from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee-Jay II out of Annie's said he continues to do very well with mangrove snapper. "The saltwater panfish were the big numbers catch again this week followed by redfish, catch-and-release snook, trout and jack crevalle." Capt. Zach took Rob and Bruce Bonar, visiting from Florence, Ky., out last week and limited out on snapper running up to 16 inches and nailed reds up to 22 inches in length. "The expectation of tropical weather in our neighborhood kind of put the damper on folks looking to go fishing over the weekend, but luckily we escaped any ill effects from Katrina other than higher than normal easterly winds, which may have helped send what was left of the red tide out of our bays and nearshore Gulf," Capt. Zach said, adding that the start of snook season should prove a big plus for angling action, as well as the fact that reds are starting to school.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said anglers there are catching snapper, black drum plus a few redfish and catch-and-release snook at night.
Andy Morrison at the Anna Maria City Pier said there are lots of mangrove snapper being caught there, plus some black drum, a couple of small sharks and some snook at night.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he's getting lots of good reports of redfish around the docks and lots of catch-and-release snook - for a few hours only! - from Rattlesnake Point. He added that there are some big black drum and mangrove snapper coming out of the Manatee River.
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me The Fish Charters said he's found fishing to be best out past 100 feet due to the red tide coming through and moving the fish to deep waters. "The red tide seems to have moved out away from Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key areas to offshore," he said, "and the waters in the bay also seemed to be cleaning up before Hurricane Katrina came through. Our clients have been catching gag grouper, red grouper, lots of red snapper, mangrove snapper, lane snapper, yellowtail snapper, amberjack, sharks and barracudas." He added that he expects the Gulf to settle down this week and "fishing should be incredible with lots of new fish, (especially grouper and snapper) replenishing the reefs and ledges. After Hurricane Dennis came through, it moved in large numbers of red snapper into our area like we haven't seen in many years."
At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include hot action on snapper from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge system, some nice-sized trout coming out of Terra Ceia Bay, and a few redfish coming from Miguel Bay.
On my boat Magic, we've caught snook to 27 inches, redfish to 26 inches, flounder to 16 inches, trout to 18 inches, and mangrove 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 email@example.com. 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.