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Fishing is still hot and cold, depending on where you are. It's anyone's guess where the fish are holding. On the plus side, most anglers are able to catch a few fish, so it is worth going out. But don't bother fishing in the heat of the day if you can help it.


Large catches of grouper aren't being reported now that gulf waters are in the high 80s. A few are being caught here and there. That was the case 32 miles off Homosassa where Benny Lay and Ben Lamb caught a few grouper but hooked a pair of cobia that weighed 42 and 58 pounds.

Capt. Tim Slaght and Tim Steppen caught a 38-pound cobia that had been tagged in St. Petersburg. They also caught grouper and some large mangrove snapper.

In the Bayport area, Capt. Jim Bradley hauled in 14 keeper grouper on Friday, 12 on Saturday, and 19 on Sunday. His parties also caught mangrove snapper of 3-4 pounds in anywhere from 25 to 50 feet of water. Also fishing 25 miles west of Bayport, Tracey Williams and Tim and Kelly Cleveland caught their limit of grouper measuring to 28 inches.

The larger party boats are having more success on long runs out to the middle grounds where waters 80-90 feet deep are cooler. One angler with a multi-hook rig brought in two gag grouper and one red grouper on a single drop of the line aboard the Miss Virginia.


Cobia are everywhere from Anclote Island north to the Suwannee River and are the best bet for the average angler. Leave the light tackle home because many are over 25 pounds.

Rick Swenson of D & R Bait & Tackle in New Port Richey fished around the stilt houses Tuesday and landed three cobia, keeping one 36-incher. He also lost one estimated at close to 70 pounds.

At the Suwannee, Ellis Heyes and Nancy Vause brought in a pair in the 25-pound range. Several larger ones broke 30-pound test line easily. They are hanging around the channel markers and the big ones just wrap the line around the markers and break off. Redfish also are all over the flats.

Flounder fishing is good, and several black drum of 12-14 inches are being taken. A few Spanish mackerel in the 3-4-pound range have been landed.

Trout are scarce all along the coast. Look for them in spring-fed potholes where the water is cooler. A few have been reported around the Anclote Park pier, Gulf Harbors and Sand Bay in Pasco County. Jigs and live shrimp are producing best.

Snook are hanging around the channels longer than usual, but remember that they must be released. Sharks also are all over the flats. Most are blacktips or bonnetheads measuring 2-4 feet, but a few large ones also are cruising the shallows. Stay alert if you are wading.

Large schools of tarpon are moving up the coast from Fred Howard Park to Homosassa. A 4-footer was caught from shore at the condos in Hudson. They also are in the north channel of Gulf Harbors.

"Tons" of little trout about 13 inches long are in the area providing food for many of the larger fish.

Redfish are everywhere there is moving water. The best fishing is early in the morning or evening. Shut your motors off and pole or drift into casting range of these wary fish. Wednesday morning, on a half-day charter, Capt. Troy Sapp reported a catch of 10 redfish, plus Spanish mackerel, trout and jacks in the Anclote area.


Early and late are the best fishing times.

Ben Holthusen took top bass honors, catching eight one day from the Withlacoochee River at Inverness, including a lunker of 10\ pounds. His son, Mathew, 12, also caught eight weighing up to 5{ pounds, but he topped his dad for biggest fish with a 16-pound catfish. Dave Nalley also caught a 16-pound cat, and Larry and Sean Green brought in six bass to 8{ pounds.

Panfish anglers on the Withlacoochee have been bringing in 10-30 bream and shellcracker on most trips.

Down river at Lake Rousseau, Jack Rorabaugh has been finding recent trips, most 3-4 pounds. Jack Watson took four bass to 5 pounds using artificials.

Bluegill and shellcracker fishing remains good on Lake Panasoffkee, but bass fishing is slow. Only small yearling bass are being taken with any regularity on shiners and plastic worms.

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