The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 9 No. 41 - July 1, 2009

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Anna Maria home to top fishing guides in state

From the July 1, 2009 Issue
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PHOTO/RUSTY CHINNIS Captain Craig Madsen led 7-year-old
Chloe Kesslak, from Pennsylvania, to a 47-inch snook estimated
to be nearly 35 pounds near Longboat Pass this past week.

Their experience and expertise are eagerly sought out by doctors, lawyers, newspaper publishers, restaurateurs, carpenters, brick layers and captains of industry alike. They have led anglers of modest means and advanced techniques to high adventure and excitement and left them with memories that will last a lifetime.

On the waters around Anna Maria Island they are the modern day equivalent of Lewis and Clarke, Magellan and Columbus, leading anglers in search of the high jumping snook, the awe inspiring tarpon and the wily redfish. They are the area’s top practitioners of their trade, combining their years of experience and observation on the water to divine the tides, moon phases and subtle rhythms of the Gulf and bays. Anna Maria Island is home to some of Florida’s most highly regarded fishing guides who work the productive waters between Tampa Bay and Sarasota Bay. These guides not only lead anglers to some of the best fishing the state has to offer, but they also are tireless workers for the health of the fishery and the environment that supports it.

Fishing guides are not just for the well healed sportsman who’s looking for the best fishing with the least amount of hassle. They also offer a service to anglers wanting to learn the ins and outs of fishing the area’s waters. These anglers know that they can benefit from a guide’s lifetime of experience in rigging, as well as an understanding of the tides and seasons and learning the kinds of habitat that certain species frequent.

I’ve been fishing local waters for close to three decades and I learn something all the time from guides, some of them half my age. One of the most influential things I ever learned was from Captain Scott Moore, the dean of area anglers. His simple statement "fish move around" made me look at fishing a whole different way. It caused me to consider the ever changing nature of the marine world and look for the signs that would lead me to fish. This was a refreshing change from fishing the same pot holes, drops, and edges all the time. The added benefit was that it led me to some great fishing opportunities and areas that I had never fished before. These locations weren’t as pressured, and the fish were more eager for my top water plugs and flies.

Even though I fish the area waters often, I know the guides that are on the water on a regular basis have a much better understanding of the daily movements of different fish species, both inshore and off. I highly recommend that you call one of these local guides and experience the difference that local knowledge makes. I’ve included a partial list of some of the area’s guides. You can find their numbers by consulting a search engine on the web or call Island Discount Tackle at 779- 2838.

Meeting the guides is a great idea. Many of them can be found at the docks at Catcher’s Marina and the new Mainsail property (formerly Tidemark.) At the dock you’ll get a chance to talk to them personally and inspect their boats and equipment. There’s never been a better time to book a charter with one of the many talented guides we’re blessed with locally. Good fishing!

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper