Invasive Lionfish found in Anna Maria waters
Capt. Dustin Cole and Sage Cooley, 14, of Boulder, Colo., caught this gag grouper Aug. 9 off Bradenton Beach. Islander Photo: Courtesy Ginger Cooley
This week’s new moon should trigger a bite inshore and offshore. Finding the times with the fastest-moving water is helpful during these hot summer temperatures, although recent heavy rains helped slightly to cool water temperatures.
The afternoon outgoing tide should be rapid because of the new moon, so anglers can work this tide into the night, focusing on potholes, swashes and channel edges for good shots at keeper trout and redfish.
Capt. Mike Greig said he has been catching trout up to 24 inches, redfish when he can find them and sharks in passes. Greig said he shark-fished from 5 p.m. until dark Aug. 13 and caught about 10 blacktip sharks to 50 pounds on chunks of mullet.
Capt. Mark Howard of SumoTime Fishing Charters said fishing action around Anna Maria Island has been hot, just like the weather. He said the speckled trout bite has been exceptional along the drop offs and edges of flats.
“The key to success is to find moving water and chumming with shiners,” he said. “The Manatee River has been producing as many speckled trout as you want to catch. Find the transition from shallow to deeper water, for example, the edges of the river, chum with shiners that can be netted at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and the bite will fire up.”
Howard said his friend, Dustin Thomas, of Bradenton, has been having success with redfish on the outgoing tide by fishing the potholes of the Intracoastal Waterway using a kayak to get to the isolated divots. Snook fishing is a “no go” for Howard, because he’s seeing very few fish in their traditional spots.
Capt. Warren Girle said there are a bunch of redfish in north Sarasota Bay near Long Bar. He said most are oversized, although “we had one that was a keeper that we released.”
Girle said there are 50-75 fish in the group he’s fishing, but the fish are so spooky that a top-water plug would make them run. Instead, use cut ladyfish or threadfins and sit and wait, he said.
He said bait pods are around Whale Key mixed in with smaller tarpon that will hit a top-water plug. There also are some trout, ladyfish, bluefish and jack crevalle mixed in the soup.
“We also had one redfish and a snook under the mangroves on a high tide,” he said.
Kim Schearer from Annie’s Bait and Tackle said the small front early last week scattered the shiners, but by Wednesday they were more plentiful. She said customers are reporting lots of trout action on the ledge north side of the Manatee Avenue Bridge.
Capt. Sam Kimball Legend Charters said that the east winds have made the waters along the beach calm and very productive. He has caught a lot of Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper.
Capt. Mark Johnston of Legend Charters is still fishing in Sarasota Bay and Longboat Pass. He reporting limit catches of trout and Spanish mackerel. Johnston said jacks and ladyfish are plentiful as well. Although they don’t keep them, the customers are having a lot of fun catching them.
Annamae Lahay from Corky’s Live Bait & Tackle said fishers continue to say that the best bite has been around dawn and dusk, She’s heard the grass flats and docks have been great for redfish, with some over 30 inches in length. Also, she said, spotted sea trout are plentiful in the grass flats and in deeper waters.
Palma Sola and Sarasota bays still are holding bluefish, ladyfish, Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper, she said. Sharks have been plentiful, she said, and rather easy to catch in the waters of Longboat Pass and at the tip of Anna Maria Island, mostly in the evening to night hours.
Capt. Logan Bystrom said the best action in these hot water temperatures is from sharks, which come closer to shore when the summertime balls of bait group together. Bystrom uses chunks of Spanish mackerel for bait on a 6/0 to 8/0 circle hook and a steel leader. He brings the shark in close with chum blocks for some fierce action.
Jesus Rosario from the Anna Maria City Pier said the catches there have included a lot of small Spanish mackerel, a couple cobia, and a slew of mangrove snapper and barracudas. Rosario said last week there were five barracudas landed.
Jim Malfese from the Rod & Reel Pier said anglers there are catching mangrove snapper, small Spanish mackerel, an occasional black drum and a few oversized redfish. He said he’s selling live shiners, which makes for great snapper bait.