Tag Archives: 07-01-2020

Eyes on the road – 07-01-2020

The Florida Department of Transportation and Manatee County posted the following notices:

  • Multiple locations in Bradenton Beach: A county pipeline replacement project continues. Impacted areas include Bay Drive South, Bridge Street, Church Avenue and Cortez Road. Expect construction in rights of way and increased truck traffic.
  • Cortez Road and 119th Street West in Cortez: Work to realign the intersection of 119th Street West on Cortez Road/State Road 684 continues. Drivers can expect lane closures on Cortez Road from 123rd Street West to 86th Street West 10 p.m.-6 a.m. and on the south side of 119th Street West during the same period. Pedestrians can expect sidewalk closures.
  • State Road 64/Manatee Avenue over Perico Bayou and Palma Sola Bay: Crews are working on the bridges. Motorists can expect lane closures 7 p.m.-6 a.m. Completion will be in the fall.

For the latest road watch information, go online to fl511.com and swflroads.com or dial 511.

And, a reminder, a fare-free trolley operates daily on Anna Maria Island.

— Lisa Neff

Pandemic surges, 2 of 3 island cities mandate masks

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The marquee outside Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive, June 26 asks people to “Wear a mask in public” for compliance with a June 25 emergency ordinance requiring face masks — indoors and outdoors — when social distancing can’t be maintained. Islander Photo: Ryan Paice
Anna Maria resident Bob Carter addresses the city commission June 25, asking commissioners to authorize Mayor Dan Murphy to issue an order requiring people to wear face masks.

ANNA MARIA ISLAND — Hard decisions come to all levels of  leadership in a pandemic.

Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees issued a public health advisory June 24 announcing people “should” wear face masks when social distancing can’t be maintained.

Add Gov. Ron DeSantis to the “should” proponents, who said at a June 26 news conference that wearing face masks should be voluntary, and that a statewide requirement to wear masks “probably would backfire.”

That same day, the Florida Department of Health reported a record-high 9,564 new cases of COVID-19. The number broke the state’s previous record of 8,816 cases in a single day, which was set the day before on June 25.

Manatee County commissioners also balked June 24 at the idea of mandating masks to slow the spread of the virus.

Instead of implementing a requirement, the county commission approved a statement, which endorsed Rivkees’ advisory and authorized a public health alert using the reverse 911 system to urge residents to adhere to the advisory.

The statement also voiced support for businesses that require patrons to wear masks inside their establishments, as well as those that uphold social distancing when masks are removed.

Without requirements from the state or county, the cities of Anna Maria and Holmes Beach independently adopted policies June 25 to make wearing face masks mandatory in many public situations.

“If wearing a mask would save a life, why would you not do it?” said Holmes Beach Commissioner Carol Soustek.

Holmes Beach commissioners voted unanimously for an emergency ordinance requiring people to wear face masks if they are inside a business, as well as outdoors if they can’t maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from people outside their family or group.

Employees and patrons of local businesses must wear face masks — covering their nose and mouth — inside the business. However, restaurant patrons can remove their masks to eat and drink after being seated.

People exempt from the mandate include children under 6 years old and people with medical conditions preventing them from safely wearing masks.

City code enforcement officers and Holmes Beach Police Department officers began enforcing the policy June 28. Officers will issue a violation order and fine if they do not gain compliance after a warning.

Violators will be fined $250 for a first offense and $500 for any subsequent violations.

Those who receive fines for violating the ordinance can appeal their penalties by appearing before a special magistrate.

Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer said his officers would prioritize educating violators ahead of fining them.

He said fines would be a last resort for those people who refuse to comply with the policy, which is set to automatically expire Tuesday, Aug. 25, unless commissioners decide to extend the policy.

On June 26, HBPD and code officers delivered posters promoting compliance to businesses, as well as copies of the ordinance.

In Anna Maria, city commissioners voted unanimously to authorize Mayor Dan Murphy to issue an emergency executive order mandating people wear masks when inside local businesses to slow the coronavirus’ spread.

The order states that people must wear a “face covering in any indoor location” other than a residence.

People are not required to wear face masks when eating or drinking at a restaurant or if a mask would “cause impairment due to an existing health condition.”

People working alone, or in offices that maintain social distancing between employees, are exempt from the order. Children younger than 2 years old also are exempt.

“We need to do this,” Commission Chair Carol Carter said. “The visitors aren’t obeying any sort of rules. … We need to protect our residents.”

The order established a $50 fine for violating the order, but Murphy said the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office — which is contracted by the city for law enforcement — won’t provide enforcement for the order.

Instead, he said, code enforcement officers will issue fines.

“The object of this order is not to make money,” Murphy said. “It’s to gain compliance.”

Murphy said code enforcement officers will not respond to anonymous complaints, saying they experienced a backlog of inaccurate complaints when enforcing a prohibition on vacation rental activity.

The Anna Maria mask order went into effect June 27 and is set to expire Saturday, July 4, unless extended.

The city commission will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 2, to collect public feedback and consider renewing the order. Commissioners also will discuss whether to expand the order to the outdoors.

Bradenton Beach Mayor John Chappie did not respond to an email and phone call June 26 asking if the city had plans to discuss making masks mandatory.

The Holmes Beach and Anna Maria mandates can be viewed online at islander.org.


Some businesses close as new area COVID-19 cases spike

The recent spike in new COVID-19 cases sent some businesses back to square one.

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation announced June 26 a statewide suspension of on-site alcohol consumption at bars.

The Anna Maria Island Moose Lodge announced June 26 on Facebook that the lodge had closed. The post read, “We will update you further as we receive more information. Thank you and please remain Moose Strong!”

The state had allowed bars, including the Moose Lodge, to reopen June 5 as a part of phase 2, but the number of new cases skyrocketed afterward.

“Based on recent increases in COVID-19 cases and non-compliance with previous orders, DBPR has taken action to suspend on-premises alcohol sales at bars,” DBPR Secretary Halsey Beshears said in news statement June 26.

Beshears said bars could sell alcoholic beverages in sealed containers for consumption off-premises and restaurants could continue to serve alcoholic beverages to diners.

However, the state suspended the sale of alcoholic beverages at bars that are licensed based on 50% of gross revenue from alcoholic beverages.

Bars weren’t the only businesses struggling with the pandemic.

The Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe at the Manatee Public Beach, Holmes Beach, announced via its Facebook page June 22 that a member of the restaurant staff tested positive for COVID-19 despite following safety guidelines.

The restaurant reopened June 24, announcing on Facebook the remaining staff tested negative for the virus and, “at this time, we feel it is safe to reopen.”

Pizza Social, 308 Pine Ave., Anna Maria, announced June 24 that a worker preparing the restaurant for opening tested positive for the virus and, while the person hadn’t worked in the restaurant, the business closed temporarily.

“We will be disinfecting the restaurant and taking measures to ensure none of our other staff members test positive,” the announcement stated. “We thank you for your understanding and look forward to bringing you great pizza again soon. Be safe.”

The Anna Maria Island Historical Society, 402 Pine Ave., Anna Maria, also announced a closure June 24 via Facebook, citing “health concerns.”

“The museum will reopen as soon as possible,” the post stated. “Please stay safe and come back and visit us another time.”

— Ryan Paice





Preparing for primary

Voter registration in advance of the August primary continues through July 20.

Also, the deadline to request a mail-in-ballot for the Aug. 18 primary is Aug. 8.

The general election will be Nov. 3, and the registration deadline will be Oct. 5.

For more details, go online to votemanatee.com or call the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office at 941-741-3823.

        Please, send notices and listings for Vote Notes to news@islander.org.

Quiet celebrations anticipated for July 4 holiday

ANNA MARIA ISLAND — The annual Anna Maria Island Fourth of July Parade has been canceled due to the pandemic, but holiday residential rentals are booked and most businesses are prepared and open.

“We are 95% occupied at this point for the Fourth of July weekend and have implemented additional cleaning and sanitizing, following the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines,” Billi Gartman, owner of Coastal Cottages rental agency, said June 24 in an email to The Islander.

Brooke Olson, of Powell, Ohio, who rented a vacation house in Anna Maria for her household of 13, said the family chose to celebrate the holiday privately, by the pool.

“Our household is multigenerational and my eldest son, Amick, 15, has autism and is immunocompromised. So we are especially vigilant and plan to keep to ourselves while we visit Anna Maria Island and maybe rent a boat for the day,” Olson said.

Olson said the vacationers would support the local economy by ordering takeout from island restaurants and shops, but would avoid dining rooms.

Ammanda Simonetti is the owner of new restaurant, Pizza Social, on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria. It opened June 17.

She said as of June 26, the restaurant was prepared to carry on with business as usual for the Fourth of July.

“We are still trying to navigate our current status,” Simonetti said.

The restaurant closed after learning a pre-opening worker was exposed to COVID-19, and the reopening has not been announced.

Charter fishing guide Peter Robinson had “not seen an increase in bookings around the July 4 holiday, but in the past I have.”

He expects many of out-of-town visitors will bring their boats as the holiday falls on a Saturday.

“Although there will be no parade or fireworks, I anticipate that the island will be busy due to the holiday and, in our hearts and minds, we will all celebrate July 4,” Terri Kinder, president of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, said June 24.

Pizza Social on Pine Avenue, a fresh-made pizza and salad restaurant, had barely opened when it learned a worker tested positive for COVID-19. They closed temporarily, quarantined and cleaned. Islander File Photo: Brook Morrison


Center sports halted due to COVID-19, KRC resumes matches

Adult summer soccer kicked off June 18 at the Center of Anna Maria Island with nine coed teams committed to play.

However, shortly after the conclusion of the first week of play, some staff members reported COVID-19 symptoms and, as of press time for The Islander, one staffer had tested positive.

Center leadership temporarily closed the center until further notice.

Those who experienced symptoms for the virus were to self-isolate for 14 days.

The email announcement from the center stated the board of directors planned to evaluate the situation, determine the next steps and look forward to a safe reopening.

Key Royale golf is back!

After a two-month hiatus necessitated by the pandemic, organized golf outings resumed the week of June 22 at the Key Royale Club in Holmes Beach.

The men were back on the course June 22 for an 18-hole modified Stableford-system match. Tom Solosky was in midseason form, carding an impressive plus-8 — eight points higher than his average point total. Mike Clement and Bob Blaser finished in a tie for second place with matching plus-5s.

The women made their return June 23 for a nine-hole, individual-low-net match in two flights.

Roxanne Koche fired a 4-under-par 28 to earn a one-stroke victory over second-place finisher Helen Pollock, who finished at 3-under-par 29.

Penny Williams carded a 1-under-par 31 to take first place in Flight B. Laurie O’Donner and Markie Ksiazyk were two strokes back in a tie for second place.

Fran Barfield managed a chipin on the seventh hole to round out the day.

The men were back on the course  June 25 for a nine-hole ‘Shamble.’ The team of Tom Nelson, Dave Richardson, Deb Richardson and Ron Vandeman earned clubhouse bragging rights by combining on a 2-over-par 34. The team of Bob Blaser, Gerry Dahl, Jon Holcomb and Art McMillan were one stroke back in second.


Horseshoe news

Parity was evident at the Anna Maria horseshoe pits, as there were no unbeaten teams in pool play during recent horseshoe action.

The June 24 games saw the team of Jerry Disbrow and Norm Good get hot early, throwing nine ringers in their first 12 attempts as they rolled to an easy victory in their first pool-play match. They cooled off and split their next two matches, but advanced to the finals to take on Tim Sofran and Gary Howcroft, who also fashioned a 2-1 record.

The finals were all Disbrow and Good on a 23-7 victory.

Action June 27 saw three teams emerge from pool play with 2-1 records. The team of Sofran and Bob Heiger drew the lucky bye into the finals and watched as Disbrow and Don Manifort eliminated Howcroft and Neil Hennessey by a 22-7 score.

Disbrow and Manifort stayed hot and rolled to a 24-13 victory over Sofran and Heiger to earn a trip to the winner’s circle.

Play gets underway at 9 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Anna Maria pits. Warmups begin at 8:45 a.m. followed by random team selection.

There is no charge to play and everyone is welcome.

Obituaries – 07-01-2020

Michael Barry Dunwoody


Michael Barry Dunwoody, 55, of Bradenton Beach died June 13.

He had spent the past few decades in Florida, first falling in love with Anna Maria Island, before moving to Bradenton Beach.

He was born Feb. 3, 1965, in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, to Donna K. and John F.

He spent most of his childhood in Voorhees, New Jersey, before moving to Cape May, New Jersey, in 1979 as his family opened the Brass Bed Inn, a bed and breakfast.

He graduated from Wildwood Catholic High School and started a career with National Associates insurance agency in Cape May.

In his younger days, he was known for his athletic and artistic abilities.

He loved Cape May and spent his teenage summers selling funnel cakes and pizza just steps from the beach.

He had a generous heart, dry sense of humor and always opened his home to family and friends.

A car accident when he was 20 robbed him of the use of his right arm and set his life on a different course. Chronic pain caused him to seek a home in warmer climates, which is when he decided to move south.

Although he became a Floridian, he was a huge fan of Philadelphia sports, especially the Eagles.

He also was a dog lover and had several rescue pups over his lifetime.

A service will be scheduled once the pandemic passes. Memorial donations may be made to the Bishop Animal Shelter, 5718 21st Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34209. Arrangements were by Shannon Funeral Homes. Condolences may be made at www.shannonfuneralhomes.com.

He is survived by his brother, John P. and wife Susan (Souder); sister Mary “Kate” Patarcitym her husband Jason and their son Shane; nephew Steven and his wife Aga and their son Jacob; nephew Justin and his fiancée Nikki McKeown.


David L. Lester


David L. Lester, 81, of Holmes Beach, died June 19.

He was born Nov. 19, 1938.

His career included work at NASA as a space engineer during Apollo 11, water analyst for Southwest Florida Water Management District, Honeywell facility director and environmental consultant to the Florida citrus industry.

He played golf and, as U.S. Amateur player, qualified and played the World Amateur in 1983. He also was an accomplished long-distance runner.

He also was a U.S. Coast Guard-licensed boat captain.

Mr. Lester served the community of Lakeland on the zoning and variance committee and, more recently, served Holmes Beach as a volunteer on the planning and charter review committees.

He married Angela in 1984. They were 10-year Holmes Beach residents and intermittently owned a second home on Anna Maria Island.

Due in part to his desire to keep his family safe from COVID-19 and his personal wishes, a private service will be held at sea. Memorial donations may be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation at Parkinson.org.

Mr. Lester is survived by his wife of 35 years, Angela; daughters Elizabeth Dumville, Lynda Giles and Susan Wannamacher; 13 grandchilden; two great-grandchildren; and stepsons Brian DeMott and Chris DeMott.


Island real estate transactions – 07-01-2020

799 N. Shore Drive, Anna Maria, a 4,169 sfla / 7,209 sfur 4bed/4bath Gulffront home built in 2015 on a 31,300 sq ft lot was sold 06/01/20, Schulz to 799 N Shore LLC for $3,535,000; list $3,600,000.

303 Bay Drive N., Bradenton Beach, a 3,288 sfla / 3,475 sfur 6bed/4bath canalfront pool home built in 1960 on a 6,499 sq ft lot was sold 06/11/20, 303 Bay Drive North LLC to Radcliffe for $1,335,000; list $1,475,000.

6908 Holmes Blvd., Unit B, Holmes Beach, a 2,621 sfla 6bed/5½bath/2car pool home built in 2013 on a 5,000 sq ft lot was sold 06/02/20, Stine Keel Holdings LLC to ADB Properties LLC for $1,325,000.

122 Beach Ave., Anna Maria, a 1,952 sfla / 3,546 sfur 3bed/2½bath/1car pool home built in 1996 on a 5,300 sq ft lot was sold 06/10/20, Campbell to EJ Beach LLC for $1,150,000; list $1,235,000.

420 Hibiscus Road, Anna Maria, a 1,917 sfla / 3,834 sfur 3bed/2bath home built in 1982 on a 7,992 sq ft lot was sold 06/02/20, Gambrell to Land Trust NO 420 Hibiscus Rd for $900,000.

5619 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, a 1,794 sfla / 2,335 sfur 3bed/2bath/1car pool home built in 1960 on a 6,670 sq ft lot was sold 06/12/20, Tencate to Ireland for $777,500; list $835,000.

504 58th St., Holmes Beach, a 1540 sfla 3bed/2bath home built in 1962 on a 8,424 sq ft lot was sold 06/08/20, CKH Investments LLC to Battle for $680,000; list $695,000.

611 Emerald Lane, Holmes Beach, a 1,728 sfla / 2,436 sfur 2bed/2bath canalfront home built in 1969 on a 10,934 sq ft lot was sold 06/08/20, Ward to Taylor for $684,000.

231 S. Harbor Drive, Holmes Beach, a 1,441 sfla / 2,373 sfur 2bed/2bath/1car pool home built in 1954 on a 9,016 sq ft lot was sold 06/04/20, Hebb to Cramer for $574,000; list $597,500.

110 12th St. S. Unit 113, Gulf to Bay Moorings, Bradenton Beach, a 896 sfla 1,066 sfur bayfront condo with share pool built in 1982 was sold 06/08/20, Little to Glavin for $465,000.

3702 Sixth Ave., Unit 4, Beach View of Manatee, Holmes Beach, a 1,047 sfla 2bed/2bath condo with shared pool built in 1984 was sold 06/08/20, Finney to Minasian for $379,500; list $389,900.

31 Seaside Court, Holmes Beach, a 1,260 sfla 2bed/2bath canalfront villa built in 1963 on a 2,309 sq ft lot was sold 05/28/20, Pollock to Jasparro for $365,000; list $439,000.

11 Seaside Court, Holmes Beach, a 978 sfla / 1,490 sfur 2bed/2bath villa built in 1963 on a 2,439 sq ft lot was sold 06/11/20, Ohare to Calcanis for $350,000.

522 Pine Ave., Unit 5C, The Bayou, Anna Maria, a 822 sfla / 882 sfur 2bed/1bath condo built in 1973 was sold 06/01/20, Patient to Phillips for $345,000; list $345,000.

6500 Flotilla Drive, Unit 197, Westbay Point & Moorings, Holmes Beach, a 985 sfla / 1,377 sfur 2bed/2bath condo with shared pool built in 1979 was sold 06/02/20, Hood to Dankovich for $316,250.

1801 Gulf Drive N., Unit 211, Runaway Bay, Bradenton Beach, a 1,080 sfla 2bed/2bath condo with shared pools built in 1978 was sold 05/29/20, Plate to Sullivan for $310,000; list $345,000.

6300 Flotilla Drive, Unit 110, Shell Point, Holmes Beach, a 1,151 sfla 2bed/2bath condo with shared pool built in 1976 was sold 06/01/20, Lowry to Wilson for $225,000.

Jesse Brisson, broker/associate at Keller Williams on the Water, can be reached at 941-713-4755.

Streetlife – 07-01-2020

Anna Maria

June 19, 700 block of Jacaranda Road, near drowning. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office assisted Manatee County Emergency Medical Services in response to a child found in swimming pool who coughed up some water but never stopped breathing or lost consciousness. The child did not require medical treatment.

June 21, 100 N. Bay Blvd., Anna Maria City Pier, traffic hazard. MCSO deputies responded to a complaint that a vehicle parked near the Anna Maria City Pier blocked the island trolley’s access to a turn-around. A ticket was issued.

June 21, 800 block of North Shore Drive, noise. The MCSO responded to a complaint about loud music from boats near Bean Point. No violation was issued.

June 21, 600 block of Fern Street, noise. The MCSO received a report about loud music in the area. No violation was issued.

June 25, 100 block of Spring Avenue on the beach, theft. A Bradenton man reported the theft of his wallet, valued at about $15. An affidavit was issued.

Anna Maria is policed by the MCSO.

Bradenton Beach

June 19, Coquina Beach, 2650 Gulf Drive S., trespassing. While on beach patrol, an officer from the Bradenton Beach Police Department witnessed three people enter the property after park hours. The officer recognized a man, who had been issued a trespass warning from the location within the past year. The officer arrested and transported the subject to the Manatee County jail.

June 20, 100 block of Ninth Street North, domestic disturbance. An officer responded to third-party reports of a domestic disturbance and found an intoxicated woman who had made a mess of her condominium. She told the officer she threw out her boyfriend after an argument and, in the process, threw his personal belongings outside. Officers located the boyfriend, who said he would stay with a friend for the night. Both parties were given victim’s rights pamphlets.

BBPD polices Bradenton Beach.


No new reports.

      MCSO polices Cortez.

Holmes Beach

June 17, 200 block of North Harbor Drive, disturbance. An officer was called to a domestic dispute. No charges were filed.

June 17, 100 block of 81st Street, information. A woman reported she lost or someone stole a part attached to her trailer hitch. A case number was issued.

June 18, 100 block of Aqua Lane, assist EMS. An officer was dispatched by Emergency Medical Services to assist with a man who fell 10 feet at a construction site and hit his head. The man was transported to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton.

June 18, Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, animal cruelty. An officer was called to the public beach when someone reported a dog left in a locked car. The officer opened the car door so the dog could have air, while another officer attempted to locate the owner and called animal control. Animal control arrived and waited with the police for the owner. Upon approaching his vehicle, the owner was issued a notice to appear and the dog was returned to him.

June 20, 600 block of Manatee Avenue West, traffic. The license plate reader system alerted an officer to a driver with a suspended license. Upon stopping the male motorist, the officer determined his license was suspended and he was issued a notice to appear. The vehicle was removed by alternate transportation.

June 21, 3900 block of Gulf Drive, traffic. An officer observed a female motorist run a flashing red light. When he stopped her, the officer determined her license was suspended. She was issued a notice to appear and released from the scene. The passenger drove the vehicle.

June 22, Publix, 3909 E. Bay Drive, fraud. A man reported someone used his credit card for several transactions at the grocery store, as well as other businesses. An investigation was ongoing.

June 23, 100 block of 65th Street, dog on beach. An officer was called to a report of a man with a dog on the beach. The officer asked the man to remove the dog and he was issued a city ordinance violation. The man left the beach with the dog.

June 23, 100 block of 52nd Street, assist EMS. A man, who appeared intoxicated, was riding a tricycle in the street, when he fell off and hit his head. The man was transported by EMS to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton.

      HBPD polices Holmes Beach.

            Streetlife is based on incident reports and narratives from the BBPD, HBPD and MCSO.

Moving into July, temps run hot, fishing action hotter

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The DeMattia kids — Calvin, left, Lily and Isabella — and parents Nicole and Michael of Connecticut show some of their results on snapper and mackerel. They fished inshore June 22, using shiners as bait, on a guided trip with Capt. Warren Girle.
Judy Zeilenga of Indiana celebrates her retirement from the Indiana school system with a slot-size snook hookup while on a guided fishing trip with Capt. Danny Stasny of Southernaire Fishing Charters. This one measured 31 inches and was released after the trophy photo.

Fishing around Anna Maria Island remains hot and is only getting hotter as summer progresses.

Fishing inshore is yielding some great summertime snook fishing. It may be catch-and-release, but it’s great sport. Casting free-lined live shiners is the ticket, although I’m seeing some snook being hooked on live pinfish, too.

Catch-and-release spotted seatrout is following suit. Casting live baits over deep grass areas is resulting in many catches of these flats favorites. And, while the trout are biting, you can expect to hook into some ladyfish, jack crevalle and Spanish mackerel.

If you’re really lucky, you might come on a deep grass area that’s holding mangrove snapper. During the next few weeks, we should see greater numbers of mangoes appearing in the deep grasses and over structure in Tampa Bay.

Another option in Tampa Bay is shark fishing. Numerous sharks — all sizes and a variety of species — are frequenting our waters. The most apparent seems to be blacktips, but don’t be surprised if you run across some big bulls or hammerheads.

Moving offshore, the guides are reporting success on American red snapper. And, when they’re done catching American red snapper, they’re catching more American red snapper. Also included in the offshore bite are mangrove and yellowtail snapper, as well as gag and red grouper.

On my Southernaire charters, my clients and I are happy to see the arrival of mangrove snapper. The real numbers of fish have yet to arrive, but we’re finding some mixed in while targeting catch-and-release spotted seatrout over the deep grass areas of Tampa Bay. It’s nice to break out the fillet knife again for the mangoes. Along with the snapper and catch-and-release trout, I am seeing a mix of ladyfish, jack crevalle and Spanish mackerel, which adds a nice variety to the catch.

Catch-and-release snook fishing in Tampa Bay is quite good. Hook ups on 20-30 snook in the morning is the norm.

Lastly, targeting sharks is thrilling some anglers. Site casting to blacktip sharks in shallow water is the most exciting, although soaking baits on the bottom can yield larger species.

Capt. Warren Girle is working the flats of Sarasota Bay as the tarpon bite in the passes and on the beach is slowly diminishing. Where there are tarpon, Girle is catching them, but the bite is slightly tougher to come by than in weeks prior.

In the backwater of Sarasota Bay, Girle is finding plenty of catch-and-release spotted seatrout while drifting over deep grass areas. Mixed in with the trout bite are bluefish, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and jack crevalle.

Fishing shallow areas in depths of 2-3 feet, Girle is instructing clients to cast live shiners along mangrove shorelines and oyster bars. By doing this, he’s leading his clients to some catch-and-release redfish.

Lastly, Girle is running the beaches for tarpon. With fewer numbers of fish available, he’s no longer experiencing 10 hookups a trip, but he’s managing to put anglers on two or three silver kings.

Capt. Aaron Lowman is putting anglers on mangrove snapper, gag grouper and Spanish mackerel over structure in Tampa Bay. For the macks and snapper, live shiners as bait are working well — especially the smaller, hatch bait. As for the gags, Lowman is finding success by trolling with deep-diving plugs.

Fishing the flats in Tampa Bay is proving to be good for Lowman. Plenty of catch-and-release snook are being caught during swift moving tides. The same applies for spotted seatrout. While targeting trout, Lowman’s fishers are catching a handful of mangrove snapper, as well as macks, jack crevalle and ladyfish.

Moving into the Gulf of Mexico, Lowman is finding a sporadic bite on bonito, permit and some snappers. The real crowd-pleaser is the blacktip shark in the same area.

Capt. David White says there’s a good bite offshore on snapper bottom dwellers — American red, mangrove and yellowtail snappers. Also in the mix are some large red and gag grouper. For bait, live pinfish and frozen sardines are getting the job done.

Moving inshore, White is putting his clients on some tarpon, although the bite is thinning out.

Finally, fishing inshore is resulting in some gag grouper around structure in Tampa Bay, where sportfishing for snook is proving to be quite good.

Capt. Jason Stock is mostly working offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Targeting American red snapper is proving to be the highlight for his clients, with many catches in the cooler on his offshore charters. Along with the red snapper, Stock is putting clients on grouper and the permit fishing also is revving up offshore.

Moving inshore, Stock has been targeting tarpon along the beaches, as well as some large bull sharks. Gag grouper are the highlight in Tampa Bay.

Jim Malfese at the Rod & Reel Pier says anglers are reeling up and releasing some hefty-sized snook. Live shrimp, pinfish and ladyfish are working as bait. Fishers opting to use live shrimp are hooking up with mangrove snapper for their coolers and a few catch-and-release redfish.

Casting silver spoons or small jigs from the pier is yielding some action when the bait schools are present. Pier anglers can expect to hook up on Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle and ladyfish on the artificials.

Send high-resolution photos and fishing reports to fish@islander.org.




If you go, know shore-based shark fishing regs

If you plan to target or keep sharks caught from shore, including structures attached to shore such as jetties, bridges and piers, you are required to pass an online educational course found at myfwc.com/sharkcourse.

Once completed, you will be prompted to go to FWC’s online licensing system, where you can get an annual no-cost, shore-based shark fishing permit. You are not required to have this permit if you are fishing for sharks from a vessel.

The permit is required for all shore-based shark anglers age 16 and older, including those 65 and older who are normally exempt from needing a fishing license.

The permit also is required if you are 16 and older and plan to fish from shore for any species of fish and will be:

  • Fishing with a metal leader more than 4 feet long,
  • Using a fighting belt/harness, or
  • Deploying bait by any means other than casting (kayaking for example) while using a hook that is 1 1/2 inches or larger at the widest inside distance.

Anglers younger than 16 are not required to obtain the permit but are required to take the online educational course unless they are fishing with someone else who holds a shore-based shark fishing permit.

Source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission