Aside from the afternoon sea breeze, it looks as if the recent strong winds have finally subsided, which is great for fishing around Anna Maria Island.
The anticipation of tarpon fishing is on everyone’s minds, although the large groups of fish have yet to show. A few catches are being reported, mainly from the south around Venice and Siesta Key, but don’t be discouraged. With the weather pattern, it should only be a matter of days before the bite gets good.
Until then, fishing the flats is proving productive, especially for spotted seatrout. On my Southernaire charters, I’m finding limits of these fish attainable on a daily basis. Most are 15-20 inches, although bigger fish are mixed in for lucky anglers.
Redfish keepers and catch-and-release snook are being caught with some regularity. More so the snook than the reds. Shallow flats with clear water and good tidal flow are where I’m finding success with these fish. Live free-lined shiners on a 20-pound fluorocarbon leader are producing action.
Fishing wrecks and rock piles in the Gulf of Mexico is producing a decent bite for me and my clients. Catch-and-release gag grouper 20-26 inches are a good way to wear out your arms.
Mangrove snapper and flounder are mixed in, which gives the angler a chance of having a nice meal at the end of the day.
Capt. Warren Girle is hunting offshore for mangrove snapper. Limits of these fish are being caught in depths of 40-60 feet of water. Mixed in with the snapper are juvenile grouper and Spanish mackerel.
Moving inshore, Girle is catching numerous spotted seatrout in Sarasota Bay. Live, free-lined shiners over deep flats are attracting the trout. Mixed in are bluefish and jack crevalle. Snook and redfish also are being caught while working Sarasota Bay on shallow flats where oyster bars and sandy potholes are present.
Capt. Rick Gross of Fishy Business Charters also is hunting inshore for spotted seatrout. Respectable numbers of these fish are being found on deep grass flats. Most catches are 15-18 inches. Snook also are being caught inshore throughout shallow grass flats adjacent to mangrove shorelines. Catch-and-release linesiders are ranging 24-38 inches.
On the inshore reefs, Gross is hooking clients up with Spanish mackerel, flounder and a few snapper. Live shiners are producing the bite. Cobia sightings are occurring in these areas, too. To be prepared, Gross likes to have a heavier rod rigged with a buck-tail jig combined with an eel tail, in the event a cobia opportunity presents itself.
Capt. Jason Stock is working offshore with good results. Permit are the primary catch this week, with some fish weighing more than 20 pounds. Live crabs, free-lined and sight-casted to schooley fish on the surface is Stock’s technique to hook up with these popular wreck dwelling fish. Also while offshore, Stock is catching flounder, mangrove snapper and cobia.
Capt. David White of Anna Maria Charters is fishing offshore for a variety of species. Migratory fish — kingfish, Spanish mackerel, and blackfin tuna — are being attracted to the boat by flat-lining baits on the surface. Bottom fishing also is proving to be good for White’s clients for scamp, lane snapper and catch-and-release gags.
Moving inshore, White is hooking clients up with snook, redfish and spotted seatrout among the lush grass flats where tidal flow exists are holding these species. Fishing around docks is producing good results for mangrove snapper and sheepshead.
Send high-resolution photos and fishing reports to email@example.com.