Keep moving to clean water, avoid red tide for fish success

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Joe Canchola, visiting Anna Maria Island from Indianapolis, holds onto what he described as the “biggest catch of my life” Aug. 17, a 250-pound goliath grouper hooked up offshore on a charter trip with Capt. Jason Stock. The grouper was released.
A double-header permit catch happened Aug. 14 for Mark MacDonald and Troy Berthiaume, both visiting Anna Maria Island from Canada, on a repeat fishing charter with Capt. Jason Stock. Both anglers scratched a “first permit” catch off their bucket list, according to Stock.
Capt. Jason Stock led Mike Asbery from Kentucky Aug. 15 to the biggest redfish catch of the week — a 40-plus-inch bull red — aboard JM Snooky Charters.
Lauren Jordan, 12, helps her mom, Kelly, hoist a nice-sized cobia they caught Aug. 17 on a live pinfish in 110 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico while on a charter trip with Capt. David White of Anna Maria Charters. The Jordans were visiting from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Although red tide remains in local waters, fishing around Anna Maria Island may hold a few good surprises for anglers with perseverance and luck.

Those who have fished in these conditions know that if you can find clean water, you’re most likely going to find fish. Many species will move from an area when they sense red tide, seeking cleaner water. If you do the same, chances are you’re going to find success.

In my past experiences with red tide, I’ve found fishing can be quite good. The reason for this is simple: Find clean water and you’ll find fish. During red tides, I work areas where typically I’d see 10-20 snook. And, as a result, I find numerous snook have gravitated to the area. There could be 50-60 snook in the clean water, which makes for real good sport fishing.

The same applies for other species waiting for you to cast your bait. Redfish, trout, mackerel and snapper: Finding clean water can yield quantities of all of these species. They’re migrating somewhere and, when you find them, it’s game on.

So, don’t be discouraged if you run into red tide.

Capt. Aaron Lowman is running to spots where the red tide has not affected fish. Using small shiners as bait, Lowman is finding catch-and-release snook. Fishing around docks and mangrove edges is yielding good numbers of this fighting fish. Fishing docks for catch-and-release snook, Lowman is putting clients on mangrove snapper and redfish.

On deeper grass flats, spotted seatrout and Spanish mackerel are rounding out the bite.

Capt. Warren Girle is moving offshore to avoid red tide. In depths of 40-50 feet, he is putting clients on mangrove snapper and Key West grunts where bottom fishing with live shiners. Also in these areas: juvenile gag and red grouper, as well as Spanish mackerel. Fishing inshore in areas that show no red tide, is providing action on spotted seatrout and Spanish mackerel.

Capt. David White of Anna Maria Charters is targeting catch-and-release snook along eastern shorelines of Tampa Bay. Live shiners are attracting the snook — as well as a few redfish — to the hook. Fishing structure in Tampa Bay is resulting in mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel and many large jack crevalle. Chumming heavily with live or dead bait is getting this bite going. On the deeper grass flats, spotted sea trout are providing good action, especially during times of good tidal flow.

Capt. Jason Stock is venturing offshore past the red tide to find a bite. Permit are being caught over wrecks and reefs in depths of 50 feet or more. When done targeting permit, Stock’s anglers are hooking up with Spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper and numerous sharks in the same areas where structure exists.

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