Outdoors

Welcome home. Bradenton captain wastes little time reeling in fish of a lifetime in Tampa Bay

A snook over 40 inches is considered a giant by west coast of Florida standards. This one caught last week by Capt. Bucky Goldman measured between 45 and 46 inches.
A snook over 40 inches is considered a giant by west coast of Florida standards. This one caught last week by Capt. Bucky Goldman measured between 45 and 46 inches. Provided photo

Captain Bucky Goldman is back home fishing his home waters of Tampa Bay after spending nearly 20 years fishing the east coast of Florida.

“I moved to Orlando in 1998 and lived there until 2017. I started guiding on Mosquito Lagoon in 2014 for big redfish and trout,” said the Bradenton native, who graduated from Saint Stephens.

When his wife had to opportunity to take a job on Florida’s west coast, Goldman transferred his charter fishing business fishing aboard his 17-foot Mitzi Skiff across the state.

Now he calls upper Tampa Bay his new home, and as he puts it, “There’s big fish in here.”

As the strong cold front rolled through Florida last week, Goldman met his clients at the boat ramp when rain started to fall. They decided to push the trip back, but Goldman was still ready to fish. He headed out to check on some big snook he wanted to target.

“I told them if we get into a creek, the fish will be there. We’ll be protected from the wind and it’ll just be raining for a bit. When they didn’t want to go I went back in there any way with some giant mud minnows and started catching some redfish and snook,” he said.

Goldman pushed deeper into the creek, wanting to get back to where his brother caught a 43-inch snook in December. He looked around and saw big pushes from fish, tossed out two baits and waited.

Soon his Penn Clash 3000 and 7-foot St. Croix rod would be put to the test.

“Nothing was happening so I started to reel in one of the baits and as soon as I did a snook engulfed it,” Goldman said. “It made a straight run about 200 feet. I reeled in the other rod to get it out of the way.

“The fish ran toward an oyster bed and blew out the other big snook. I got it turned and then it circled around the boat and I finally got him in. I laid it on the deck, grabbed the tape measure and snapped a picture. I got her back in the water quick and revived her to let her go.”

The snook measured between 45 and 46 inches. Anything over 40 inches is considered a giant by west coast standards.

When Goldman posted it on social media, people took humor in the way the tape measure laid on the fish, which got as many comments as the fish itself.

“People were saying, ‘Since when do we measure the fish like a TV?’ I knew it was a monster and didn’t spend much time keeping it out of water to get a perfect measurement.”

Either way, it was a monster snook and a fish of a lifetime.

Capt. Bucky Goldman can be reached through his website at tampafloridafishingguide.com

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