Despite wind and thunderstorms, fishing around Anna Maria Island remains consistent.
Tarpon is on most angler’s agendas, although windy conditions make it difficult to target them. Catches are occurring in the passes and along the beaches near Tampa Bay, where live crabs, threadfin herring and large shiners are working as bait.
In the backcountry, spotted seatrout are dominating the bite. On my own excursions with Southernaire, we are finding numerous trout on deep grass flats during the incoming tides. Some chumming is required to get the trout in a frisky mood but, once this occurs, multiple hook ups are is not uncommon. Spotted seatrout up to 22 inches are being reeled up with consistency.
Fishing shallower flats where oyster bars and mangrove shorelines exist is resulting in redfish and catch-and-release snook. Both species are taking live free-lined shiners as offerings. Mixed in with bite are an occasional “gator” trout, as well as a few flounder and juvenile barracuda.
Capt. Warren Girle is targeting tarpon along the beaches of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. Most bites are occurring on live crabs as bait, although threadfin herring and large shiners are being used. Most catches are 75-125 pounds. Early morning trips are producing the best action
When the winds are too strong to fish for tarpon, Girle is working the flats of Sarasota Bay. Spotted seatrout and catch-and-release snook are the most dominant bite. Live free-lined shiners are Girle’s bait of choice in the bay.
Capt. Jason Stock also is targeting tarpon — fishing the passes early in the morning and then patrolling the beaches of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key throughout the day. He’s getting clients some hookups on silver kings. Crabs, threadfin herring and large shiners are producing the bite.
Fishing offshore is producing action for Stock, too. Fishing around wrecks and reefs is proving to be good for migratory fish, including blackfin tuna, bonito and king mackerel. In these areas, bottom fishing is resulting in mangrove snapper and goliath grouper.
Capt. David White of Anna Maria Charters is running clients offshore on days when the winds are light and the seas are calm. Migrating fish such as bonito, blackfin tuna and cobia are being caught around offshore structure. Bottom fishing in areas where hard bottom and ledges exist is resulting in red grouper and mangrove snapper for White’s anglers.
Capt. Aaron Lowman is putting his efforts in on the flats of Anna Maria Sound. Targeting spotted seatrout is proving to be most productive in the backcountry. Fishing flats in 6-8 feet of water is producing a mix of species, including trout, bluefish, mackerel and jack crevalle. Fishing shallower areas of 2-3 feet is proving to result in catch-and-release snook.
On days with light winds, Lowman is venturing into the Gulf of Mexico in search of tarpon, where he’s finding live crabs, threadfin herring and shiners will produce a bite.
Capt. Rick Gross of Fishy Business Charters targeting the flats of Southern Tampa Bay and the adjacent waters, where spotted seatrout are being found in abundance on deep grass flats. Free-lining live shiners or shiners under a popping cork are producing the bite. Fishing shallower areas close to mangrove shorelines is producing rallies on catch-and-release snook, with a few redfish in the mix.
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