Fishing around Anna Maria Island is challenging with back-to-back windy days.
Finding sheltered areas on these days is the real test if you’re trying to bend a rod. One good place to look is the canals, where numerous docks harbor fish. Casting live shrimp around pilings and under docks is a good way to attract interest from redfish, drum, sheepshead or flounder.
Try fishing the back bays where mangroves are growing adjacent to deep water, such as a channel. Lots of times this deeper water keeps a slightly more consistent temperature, which can attract fish — especially snook. Try a free-lined select shrimp in an area like this and see what happens.
Lastly, jigging the passes for pompano should start producing a bite. You will encounter other fish, such as bluefish, ladyfish and jack crevalle, which can provide a fun morning for just about any angler.
Jim Malfese at the Rod & Reel Pier is seeing the usual suspects being reeled up by wintertime anglers. Live shrimp as bait is attracting sheepshead, black drum, redfish and flounder. Despite some rough waters and windy days, Malfese is seeing a few Spanish mackerel being caught, but only when schools of baitfish are present.
Capt. Aaron Lowman is taking charters to fish around nearshore reefs when the winds are light and the seas calm. When using shiners as bait, Lowman is encountering kingfish, macks and bonito. Fishing around ledges and hard bottom also is producing a bite for Lowman. Using shrimp as bait in these areas is resulting in mangrove snapper, hogfish, gag grouper and flounder.
Capt. Warren Girle is fishing the flats of Sarasota Bay for redfish. Slot and over-slot reds are being caught on shallow grass flats where oyster bars and sandy potholes are present. For bait, either live shiners or fresh-cut pieces of ladyfish are working. On deeper grass flats in the middle of the bay, Girle is putting clients on spotted seatrout, as well as a variety of other fish, including jack crevalle, ladyfish and bluefish. These fish are being caught on shiners and artificials, including Berkley Gulp shrimp on a jig head.
Capt. Jason Stock is working offshore on the calm days. Venturing offshore to reefs, wrecks and hard bottom is producing kingfish, amberjack and gag grouper for his clients. For the kings and AJs, Stock is using artificials, such as surface poppers, to attract a bite. As for the gags, a live pinfish dropped to the bottom on a weighted rig is deadly. Moving inshore to the flats, Stock is putting charter fishers on gator trout on top-water plugs and soft plastics combined with a jig head.
Capt. David White of Anna Maria Charters is dock fishing along the Intracoastal Waterway and the connecting bays and rivers. Casting shrimp under docks and other structure is resulting in black drum, sheepshead and mangrove snapper.
Using pinfish around the channel edges and bridges is producing a few gag grouper for White’s anglers. Lastly, casting jigs along the edges of grass flats is triggering a pompano bite here and there.
Send high-resolution photos and fishing reports to firstname.lastname@example.org.