Adam Cohen, Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch veterinarian, caught this nice-sized amberjack while fishing about 42 miles off Anna Maria Island in the Gulf of Mexico.
Slow fishing for now, improvements 'soon come'
Fishing is in a late-summer slow mode right now, with sparse catches of redfish, snook and trout from the backwater areas. Snapper is still a good bet, though.
Rough weather has kept most of the offshore anglers close to port in the past few days, but for those willing to brave the weather and offshore waters at 100-plus depths, snapper and grouper action continues to be good.
With the official start of fall Saturday, and its associated cooler water temperatures, fishing should start to pick up very, very quickly.
Bill Lowman at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said offshore fishing has been a mite slow due to rough weather. The boats that are able to weather the weather have reported snapper to 5 pounds, as well as grouper to 15 pounds, all caught in about 110 feet of water. Backwater fishing is almost all reds and mangrove snapper, Bill said, with a few keeper-size snook thrown in for good measure.
Dave Johnson at Snead Island Crab House said he's hearing good reports of redfish coming out of Miguel Bay, plus back drum from the Manatee River and mangrove snapper near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Trout action is slow now, though, he said.
Capt. Thom Smith at Angler's Repair on Cortez Road said he's catching lots of redfish in the Manatee River, plus mangrove snapper off the artificial reefs.
Bob Kilb at the Rod & Reel Pier said fishers there are catching small redfish, snapper and pompano. He noted that fishing is a bit slow right now, but expects things to pick up soon.
Jesus Rosario at the Anna Maria City Pier said anglers are catching a few snapper, flounder and sheepshead. No mackerel hookups have been reported in the past few days due, in part, to some red tide, but there have been some snook catches at night.
Capt. Rick Gross on Fishy Business out of Catchers said snook fishing is stable for him, but he's finding redfish to be his best bet on the higher tides. He's also putting his charters on some nice-size mangrove snapper.
At Skyway Bait and Tackle, reports include lots of small grouper, mangrove snapper, and some redfish from Miguel Bay. There are also lots of sharks being caught in Tampa Bay.
On my boat Magic, we found good fishing to be tough last week, with only a couple of redfish in the slot limit and one keeper-size snook. Mangrove snapper is still a good bet, thoughy, with limit catches on most trips. Our hottest action was from the ship channels in Tampa Bay, where we also caught a couple of bonnethead sharks.
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.