Consistent good weather results in hot area fishing
Fishing around Anna Maria Island remains good for yet another week. The weather and the fishing are hot.
Tarpon remain the main attraction for fishers who want to test their strength.
Catch-and-release snook are plentiful along the flats of Anna Maria Sound all the way throughout Sarasota Bay.
Spotted seatrout remain a mainstay for backwater fishers who want to bring home a few fillets for the frying pan. The same applies for redfish, although, unless you know where the reds are schooling, catching them can be a challenge.
Finally, mangrove snapper are showing in good numbers on artificial reefs in Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
Capt. Warren Girle is still targeting tarpon along the beaches of Anna Maria Island with success. Threadfin herring, shiners and crabs are producing a bite. Typically, early morning is a sure thing, although, with a little persistence, Girle is producing hookups for his afternoon clients. He says fish 80-150 pounds are the norm.
Moving offshore, Girle is working over structure with good results. Permit in the 20-pound range are readily taking free-lined crabs. Also, on offshore structure, Girle is finding catch-and-release gag grouper and goliath grouper along with keeper-size mangrove snapper and a few throw-back barracudas.
Jim Malfese at the Rod & Reel Pier says Spanish mackerel are being caught, especially from sunrise until about 9 a.m.
Due to the large amount of “fry bait,” or juvenile baitfish, the macks are feeding heavily, which increases the chances of hooking up. Speck rigs in white, chartreuse and pink are resulting in fish up to 18 inches.
Mangrove snapper are being caught more frequently thanks to the “fry bait.” Pier fishers using live shrimp or small shiners are catching multiple snapper, although only a few are keeper-size.
Finally, snook are beginning to arrive at the pier before they make their way to the beaches to spawn. Live baits, such as shiners, pinfish or ladyfish, can produce an exciting hookup.
Capt. Aaron Lowman at Island Discount Tackle says the tarpon bite is going strong. When targeting these fish, Lowman is fishing the passes at the north and south ends of Anna Maria Island as well as the beaches in-between. Shiners and threadfins are Lowman’s baits of choice.
When not targeting tarpon, Lowman is fishing the flats of Anna Maria Sound for snook, redfish and trout. Although snook are out of season, Lowman is managing to catch and release fish up to 42 inches. As for the redfish, Lowman says they’re being elusive, but he’s put a few keeper-size fish in the cooler.
For the trout, Lowman is using live shiners for bait, which is resulting in limits of these popular backwater fish for his clients.
Capt. Rick Gross of Fishy Business Charters is catching tarpon from Longboat Key to Egmont Key. By using live shiners or threadfin herring, Gross is managing to produce a few hookups per trip and one to two to the boat. Silver kings of 100 pounds and more are the norm.
In the backcountry, Gross is targeting catch-and-release snook, redfish and trout. For all three species, Gross is free-lining live shiners to get the bite. Keeper-sizes in all three species are being caught, although the snook, of course, are released.
Gross is also fishing nearshore structure for mangrove snapper. Fish up to 18 inches are feeding on fresh-cut live shiner pieces drifted behind the boat. Gross warns that due to high water clarity, you’ll want to use no more than 20-pound fluorocarbon for leader. The snapper seem to shy away from anything heavier.
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