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Sunshine Skyway Pier To Be Closed
By Jonie Maschek
Sep 25, 2008 - 9:48:10 AM

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Horseshoe Crabs on the banks of the Little Manatee River
The great fishing will discontinue on the east side of the old 50-year structure of the Sunshine Skyway pier. This pier has been ruled unsafe and will be closed permanently.

Fishing has been great on the northside pier, even after hurricane Gustav, yielding great catches mangrove and Spanish mackerel, along with a few stray gag grouper and redfish.

Around the bait shops this week:
Much talk about the hurricanes and no one can go fishing in this weather.
How lucky were the swimmers who were out in the water all night. A father and son, carried out by the high waves and rescued the next day, miles apart.
 The barb-wire situation on the upper Little Manatee, and how every­one fishing that area should add a wire cutter to their tackle box.

Cockroach Bay is always a great topic, if nothing else is happening. “There are so many signs out there that if you make the wrong move, you are in big trouble.” “Anyone that is a true angler and loves the great outdoors and is a fisherman would obey the rules without all of those signs.”

“Best you watch your car or truck on Cockroach Bay Road, ‘cause I’ve seen a break-in, once a week there. There is no place to park, and if you are ten cars down the road, you may not have your car when you come back.”

Fishing this week has not been too great, due to the weather. -- with three hurricanes out there at the same time.

Snook season has opened, but not many have been seen. Some anglers say that it is too early for them to come back into our waterways.

Simmons Park had many people this weekend. People were fishing from piers and banks of the canals. I counted ten boat trailers at the launch pad.

Many boats are in drydock, ­perhaps because of the cost of gasoline. Most of the ­kayaks and canoes are drydocked because of the weather.

Some charter boats are going out and report lots of fish out there. The grouper bite has improved. Mangrove snapper have invaded our water with reported catches.
Some lucky anglers landed a couple of gag grouper from the ship channels. Those fishing from piers have reported black drum larger than usual. I will repeat -- if you are eating this fish, watch out for worms.

Sheepshead seem to bite regardless of the weather. Once you hit a school and know how to set the hook in their bony mouths, they are a fun catch.

I met a person while in line at the grocery store who asked me if I was the fish lady. When I ­assured him I was, he gave me some ­information on why the fish are not biting. He told me that it was because the cows have not gotten up on their feet for a week. When the cows lay down lady, the fish just aren’t going to bite.
This might be true. I haven’t seen any cows this week, but I talked to an angler that told me that his dog tells him where the fish are and that he never goes fishing without him.

I do know that many fish with the moon. If it is full, fishing is good; if it has haze on it, fishing is bad. And there are those who watch the tides, only fishing when the tide is moving in or out.

Some have their favorite spot, and those who do seem to think that they own that spot and you had better not be there when they arrive. Others won’t tell you where they made their catch nor what they used for bait.

It reminds me of the recipe for smoked mullet with every angler having his own secret recipe, handed down through generations, and they just can’t reveal it to anyone.

I know of one angler who found a boat parked at his fishing hole, so he fired up his engine, zoomed so close to the anglers in the other boat that was on his spot and cut every line that they had out. Talk about pirates on the waterway -- there are still a few out there.

I hope you have a lock on your boat’s gas tank as we heard this week about a few anglers gassed up to go fishing and the next morning found empty tanks.

Spanish mackerel are giving ­anglers a chase with many boated. Permit are active along the deeper holes and for those going out to the reefs. Flounder catches have been few, but large in size, with one making a great tablefare for two.

Bass and freshwater catfish graced a few dinner tables this week. They were caught in the ­upper waters of the Little Manatee. I was told that largemouth bass are ready for your bait, so try fresh­water fishing next time. They are taking live worms or an artificial one. Lots of baitfish have been reported since the rains. If you know how to cast a bait net, you might just fill your bait well.

A real honest to good angler doesn’t mind the weather, rain or shine, windy or calm, driving through heavy traffic, sitting in a boat all day, having a great time in the outdoors whether he makes a catch or not.
Enjoy fishing, day or night,
Always keep the weather in sight.

 -- Aleta Jonie Maschek is a ­member of Florida Outdoor Press­.


 -- Aleta Jonie Maschek is a ­member of Florida Outdoor Press­.


© Copyright 2008 by The Observer News Publications and M&M Printing Company, Inc.

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