The constant northeast winds blowing at 10-20 mph are excellent for someone who wants to fly a kite.
Unfortunately, this is an article about fishing, not kite flying. But don’t be discouraged. The winds are out of the northeast, which usually means most of the bays, the Intracoastal Waterway and waters along the beaches can be fairly calm.
In fact, the fishing is nothing short of excellent. You have some options, or let’s say variety, on what to target.
Fishing the flats is producing some great snook action, as well as spotted seatrout and a few redfish. Flounder and pompano are being taken on the flats and in the local bays. If you’re on the hunt for larger fish, venture out along the beaches to find kingfish, cobia and shark. You also may encounter bonito, Spanish mackerel and triple tail on your search.
On my recent Southernaire excursions, I’ve been taking advantage of the vast quantities of snook settling onto the flats. The fish know that winter is just around the corner, which means they are aggressive in eating just about every bait that passes in front of their noses. Most catches are 20-26 inches, although keeper fish are being caught by some lucky anglers.
Also while on the flats, I’m seeing a variety of other species being reeled in by my clients, including spotted seatrout, flounder and pompano.
Jim Malfese at the Rod & Reel Pier is seeing numerous black drum, sheepshead and flounder being caught at Anna Maria Island’s northernmost pier.
Fishers using live shrimp on a bottom rig are finding success. There are redfish and snook being caught, although not with the frequency of the black drum, sheepies and flounder. Finally, anglers using artificials — jigs or spoons — are hooking into ladyfish and Spanish mackerel.
Capt. Aaron Lowman was bay fishing on windy days. He reports spotted seatrout are plentiful, with catches up to 20 inches. Mixed in are bluefish, ladyfish and jack crevalle. Snook are a good bet for bay fishers. Most catches are under-slot, but some anglers are reeling in a keeper fish now and again. Fishing nearshore structure is proving to be good for a variety of fish, including hogfish, gag grouper and mangrove snapper.
Capt. Rick Gross of Fishy Business is having a great week on the water. Despite the wind, Gross is catching a variety of species. On the flats, snook, spotted seatrout and bluefish are being caught in abundance by Gross’ clients. Also making an appearance on the flats are pompano. Moving into the Gulf of Mexico is producing good action on macks and kingfish. All species are being taken by using live shiners as bait — except for the pompano.
Gross is using Doc’s goofy jigs and other small jigs to produce this bite.
Capt. Warren Girle reports he’s running charters nearshore for kingfish and macks. Both species are being taken via live shiners as bait. For either species, anchoring and chumming is proving effective, although slow-trolling baits, especially for the kingfish, is a good option. While targeting these fish, Girle is encountering bonito and shark and, moving to the flats of Sarasota Bay, he’s putting clients on numerous spotted seatrout, snook and large bluefish.
Capt. Jason Stock is working both offshore and nearshore for a variety of fish. Fishing around structure is resulting in kingfish and cobia. Both are being caught on threadfin herring and pinfish. Artificials such as surface poppers are triggering these fish to bite. Stock is putting clients on tripletail in the offshore waters where casting live shrimp or shiners to will do the trick. Moving inshore into Tampa Bay, Stock is finding a good bite on gag grouper.
Capt. David White of Anna Maria Charters is fishing along the beaches of Anna Maria Island for migratory species, including Spanish mackerel, kingfish and bonito. For the macks and kings, large live shiners as bait are a “no-brainer.” Free-lining or slow-trolling the bait is producing action. As for the bonito, White is having his fly-fishing clients cast streamer flies to these football-shaped fish. Moving inshore, snook and trout are rounding out the flats bite. Again, free-lined medium shiners are the ticket to success.
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