Tag Archives: fishing

Finds for the cooler and catch-and-release in Tampa Bay

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Sam and Ian True, from Anna Maria and the United Kingdom, fish offshore Oct. 6 with Capt. Warren Girle. They used live shiners for bait and found snapper and mackerel were plentiful. Islander Courtesy Photo

Fishing to the east of Anna Maria Island in Tampa Bay and its surrounding waters is producing a variety of species.

Fishing structures around the Sunshine State Skyway Bridge is yielding Spanish mackerel, bluefish and jack crevalle, as well as limits of mangrove snapper.

Luckily, red tide is staying out of Tampa Bay, which is a refuge for these fish.

On the flats, snook, redfish and trout are taking refuge. Don’t forget that snook and redfish are closed to harvest until further notice from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. If you get caught with either fish in the cooler, you will get a ticket — no excuses.

On my own trips with Southernaire, I’m finding great action on the flats for catch-and-release snook and redfish. Free-lining live shiners over flats of 2-4 feet is producing some great rallies on both species.

When searching for fish to eat, I’m fishing deep grass flats for spotted seatrout. Most catches are falling just under the 15-inch minimum but, with a little persistence, I’m getting a few slot-size fish in the cooler.

Other species for eating include mangrove snapper and Spanish mackerel. For the snapper, I’m catching most around structure in Tampa Bay. On some days, I’m finding limits to be caught on the flats.

As for the mackerel, structure is the best bet.

Capt. Warren Girle is fishing inshore for a variety of species. Fishing structure in Tampa Bay is yielding limits of mangrove snapper. Using small shiners as bait, combined with a knocker rig is attracting snapper 12-16 inches.

Removing the knocker and free-lining shiners is producing action around structure. Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle and bluefish are abundant in Tampa Bay and free-lining shiners is producing nonstop action on these voracious fish.

Capt. Rick Gross of Fishy Business Charters is fishing southern Tampa Bay and its waters to the east, for a number of species. Catch-and-release snook and redfish, as well as tarpon, jack crevalle and ladyfish, are being caught consistently.

Longnose gar are being caught when fishing in the Manatee River.

For those wanting to catch something to take home for dinner, Gross is leading to numerous mangrove snapper, spotted seatrout and flounder. For bait, small shiners or hatch bait work best. When using these small baits, Gross suggests using a small hook, such as a size-4, to match the size of the bait.

Capt. Aaron Lowman is catching his share of Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper while fishing in Tampa Bay. Fishing structure is producing the best action. Small, free-lined shiners or shiners on weighted rigs work best.

Moving to the flats, Lowman is catching many catch-and-release snook as well as some catch-and-release redfish. Spotted seatrout are taking the hook in these areas.

Capt. David White of Anna Maria Charters is fishing offshore when the seas are calm and the winds are light.

In depths of 80-100 feet, White is finding red grouper, amberjack and a variety of snapper. For the grouper and snapper bottom rigs combined with live or dead bait are producing. For the AJs, live pinfish on a free-lined rig around wrecks work well.

Moving inshore, White is catching many catch-and-release snook on the flats.

Fishing shallow structure in Tampa Bay is yielding Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper.

 

            Send high-resolution photos and fishing reports to fish@islander.org.

Head to Anna Maria waters for good fishing action

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Mark Davis, visiting Anna Maria Island from Statesboro, Georgia, shows off a healthy red grouper Oct. 6 caught while on a charter trip with Capt. David White in 130 feet of water on a dead sardine.
Leanne and Chris Grove, along with friend Russ Grossman, all visiting Anna Maria from Louisville, Kentucky, show off their catch of mangrove snapper caught offshore on shiners. They also caught Spanish mackerel on their guided trip with Capt. Warren Girle.

Fishing around Anna Maria Island is good.

Inshore fishing in areas where red tide is diminished is resulting in some of the best fishing of the year for anglers.

Sport fishers are finding snook and redfish — limited by the red tide to catch-and-release only — in good numbers throughout the shallow grass flats of southern Tampa Bay.

Moving to slightly deeper grass flats is yielding respectable numbers of spotted seatrout, as well as Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper.

Speaking of snapper, anglers fishing large structure — such as the Sunshine Skyway Bridge — are cashing in. Limits of snapper 12-15 inches are readily coming to the hook. While fishing this structure, you can count on catching other species, too. Spanish mackerel, bluefish and large jack crevalle add variety to the Skyway bite.

On my Southernaire fishing charters, I’m counting on putting mangrove snapper in the cooler. Fishing residential docks, as well as artificial reefs and rock piles, is yielding good results.

After putting a few limits of snapper in the box, I’m moving to the grass flats to target spotted seatrout. Most trout catches are just under-slot, but patience is a virtue — I’m finding larger trout in the mix if we stay on the spot.

Lastly, the catch-and-release snook and redfish bite is quite good for those who just want to bend a rod.

Capt. Warren Girle is working in southern Tampa Bay, which is resulting in a variety of species for his anglers.

Fishing around structure is yielding the best action. Using live shiners as bait, he’s attracting numerous mangrove snapper to the hook, which put up a good fight on light tackle and are excellent on the plate.

Structure is host to a variety of migratory fish — bluefish, Spanish mackerel and jack crevalle.

Moving to the grass flats, Girle is finding spotted seatrout in moderate numbers. Free-lined shiners under a popping cork are producing the bite.

Jim Malfese at the Rod & Reel Pier says anglers are catching mangrove snapper on live shrimp. Most catches are 11-12 inches, although fish up to 15 inches are being reeled to the deck, too.

While targeting snapper with shrimp, anglers are hooking into sheepshead and redfish.

Casting shrimp away from the pier is resulting in some prize catches of pompano and permit, as well as jack crevalle and Spanish mackerel.

Capt. Aaron Lowman is targeting catch-and-release snook around Terra Ceia Bay with good results for his clients. Free-lining live shiners along mangrove shorelines is producing good action on fish 20-30 inches.

Catch-and-release redfish also are being caught with Lowman, with most catches occurring around docks and oyster beds.

While targeting reds on the docks, Lowman’s charters are coming up with limits of mangrove snapper — perfect for the anglers who want fish for dinner.

Lastly, deeper grass flats are holding spotted seatrout in decent numbers. Casting live shiners over these flats is resulting in numerous hookups.

Capt. Rick Gross of Fishy Business Charters is finding a mixed bag on his charters. Shallower water reefs in Tampa Bay are host to a number of species, including Spanish mackerel, bluefish, mangrove snapper and small sharks. Free-lined shiners on a 1/0 Aberdeen hook are working great for this bite.

Catch-and-release snook action is occurring on the shallow grass flats. Most are 20-26 inches, but a large female on the hook can surprise the unwary angler.

Spotted seatrout are present in the deep grass flats, although most catches are in the barely legal range at 15 inches. Larger trout are mixed in for persistent anglers.

Capt. Jason Stock is finding grouper fishing is a great choice to keep his clients busy. Although finding clean water in the Gulf of Mexico is requiring a run offshore of 15 miles or more, catching a limit of grouper makes it worthwhile. Both gag and red grouper are being caught on live and frozen baits.

Fishing wrecks offshore is yielding some great permit action for Stock. Casting live pass crabs to fish sunning on the surface is resulting in numerous hookups. Moving inshore, Stock is targeting catch-and-release snook and redfish for sport fishers, and he’s also hooking some jack crevalle.

Capt. David White of Anna Maria Charters is finding numerous catch-and-release snook and a redfish bite while fishing the shallower grass flats of southern Tampa Bay. Fishing structure in the bay is resulting in limits of mangrove snapper, as well as all the Spanish mackerel his clients can catch. Live free-lined shiners are working for the macks. As for the snapper, a live shiner on a knocker rig works just fine, White said.

            Send high-resolution photos and fishing reports to fish@islander.org.

For success, know the new regs and find clean water

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Brandon Heller of Tennessee, along with John Shamsey and Daron and Bejan Nouri of Sarasota fished Tampa Bay with shiners. They caught mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel, jacks and bluefish with charter Capt. Warren Girle.

Fishing around Anna Maria Island is good despite red tide.

Take notice that at its September meeting in Tallahassee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission directed staff to expand the recent catch-and-release only law for snook and redfish to include all of Tampa Bay. FWC also extended this law through May 10, 2019.

Now that you’re aware of the closure, we can talk about what’s biting.

Of course, snook and redfish are being caught regularly in southern Tampa Bay. Schooling redfish are being fond frequently, with some schools exceeding a couple of hundred. As for the snook, shallow flats around mangrove points and oyster bars are proving to be quite good spots.

Spotted seatrout are being caught on many of the deeper grass areas on the eastern portion of southern Tampa Bay.

The same applies for mangrove snapper and Spanish mackerel. Numerous jack crevalle have moved into the area, which can add excitement to the bite, as they are quite powerful for their size.

On my Southernaire charters, as sporadic as they may be for now, I’m finding plenty of catch-and-release action on snook and redfish. Casting live shiners around docks or mangrove edges is producing action on both species. Most redfish being caught are slot-size. They are being measured and released. As for the snook, most are 20-30 inches — again measured and released.

When I’m looking for fish for dinner, I’m hunting mangrove snapper and Spanish mackerel. Fishing structure such as reefs and wrecks in Tampa Bay is producing decent numbers of both species for my clients.

Capt. David White of Anna Maria Charters says he’s catching numerous fish while in Tampa Bay. Mangrove snapper and Spanish mackerel are being caught around structure and over deep grass flats. On the shallower flats, White is catching plenty of catch-and-release snook and redfish. Moving offshore, White is running some long distances to find clean water, but he’s doing well on mangrove and yellowtail snapper. While fishing wrecks, he’s also hooking into amberjack and African pompano.

Capt. Jason Stock is fishing offshore, which is resulting in a variety of species. He also is having to run 15-20 miles out to find clean water. Upon arrival in the good water, Stock is fishing ledges for yellowtail and mangrove snapper. Both are eating live or frozen bait. While fishing wrecks, Stock is catching goliath grouper and African pompano.

Many inshore catch-and-release snook and redfish are being caught with regularity by Stock’s anglers. Small tarpon also are taking the hook in Tampa Bay.

Jim Malfese at the Rod & Reel Pier says mangrove snapper are keeping pier fishers occupied. Numerous snapper are being caught using live shrimp as bait. Most are 12 inches, with a few exceeding 14 inches. While targeting snapper, fishers are hooking into an occasional sheepshead or flounder. Using larger baits, such as pinfish or mojarras, is resulting in some catch-and-release snook at Anna Maria’s northernmost pier. These fish are 20-35 inches.

Capt. Warren Girle is fishing inshore in the clean waters of southern Tampa Bay. Fishing around structure is yielding numerous mangrove snapper. In fact, limits of the vigorous snapper are being caught. Also around structure are Spanish mackerel. In areas where deep grass is present, a variety of fish — spotted seatrout, jack crevalle and bluefish — are being found. These fish, especially the jacks and bluefish, are aggressively striking live free-lined shiners.

Send high-resolution photos and fishing reports to fish@islander.org.

Go fish east or north to find clean water, fresh catch

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Kevin Donnelly of Cheadle, Cheshire, in the United Kingdom, shows off a drum caught on a live shrimp from the dock of the rental home on Tarpon Avenue in Anna Maria he and wife Joy are enjoying while on vacation. He is pictured with sister-in-law Melissa Williams of Holmes Beach. Donnelly hooked the fish during half-time of the Buccaneers game Sept. 16. Islander Photo: Frank Williams

Although red tide is still looming around Anna Maria Island, fishing remains quite good for those determined to catch fish.

Fishing to the east, in areas such as the Manatee River and the adjacent bay waters to the north, is producing great action on snook, redfish and spotted seatrout. Mangrove snapper also are quite abundant.

Fishing the outgoing tides is proving to be quite good, especially where water flow is maximized — inlets, passes and sharp points that contain oyster bars, turtle grass and structure are big producers.

Venturing into the Gulf of Mexico also is a good option, but be ready to run long distances to find clean water. Make sure the gas tank is full, as you may need to cover quite a bit of ground. Once there, many species are being caught, including grouper, snapper, permit and amberjack.

On my Southernaire fishing charters, I’m finding plenty of action in the backcountry. Concentrating on southern Tampa Bay and the Manatee River is yielding plenty of hookups on catch-and-release snook and redfish for my clients, as well as keeper trout and mangrove snapper for their coolers.

Fishing structure is proving to be good for Spanish mackerel. Locating large schools of glass minnows is key to finding this bite. Where the small bait fish exist is also the location for the best fishing.

Capt. Aaron Lowman is running offshore to fish ledges and hard bottom in the Gulf of Mexico. Mangrove snapper, hogfish, grouper and porgies are being found in these areas and baiting with live shrimp and shiners is attracting these species.

Moving inshore, Lowman is targeting snook, redfish and spotted seatrout. Fishing the flats with live shiners is resulting in hookups of all three species.

Lastly, dock fishing with live shiners is yielding mangrove snapper.

Capt. Jason Stock is running offshore with good results. Due to red tide blooms offshore, Stock is running far for clean water. On some days, he’s venturing 15-20 miles to deep water in the Gulf of Mexico.

While fishing structure offshore, Stock is putting clients on numerous permit ranging 15-30 pounds. He’s also finding yellowtail and mangrove snapper, amberjack and, of course, goliath grouper.

Moving inshore, Stock is in pursuit of schooling redfish. Most catches are over-slot. Snook fishing also is providing action on the flats for Stock’s sport anglers.

Jim Malfese at the Rod & Reel Pier is seeing numerous snook and redfish hanging around the pilings of Anna Maria Island’s northernmost pier. Pier fishers using live pinfish and shrimp are finding success. Mangrove snapper also are being caught with some regularity. Casting either a silver spoon or white jig from the pier is resulting in an occasional hookup with a jack crevalle.

Lastly, black drum are taking refuge under the pier and can be caught by dropping a live shrimp among the pilings.

Send high-resolution photos and fishing reports to fish@islander.org.

Plenty of clean — red tide free — water produces the catch

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Mel Wood, visiting Anna Maria Island from Ironton, Ohio, shows off a keeper gag grouper caught Sept. 13 in 13 feet of water on a live pilchard while on a guided fishing trip with Capt. David White of Anna Maria Charters.

Fishing around Anna Maria Island is proving to be good as long as the red tide stays offshore.

Fishing in Tampa Bay and the adjacent waters north and east of Anna Maria is producing good action on a number of inshore species.

There’s plenty of action for sport and dinner fishers.

It’s a question of knowing where to go — and a guide is the best bet to finding a great catch.

Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper seem to be the most abundant locally, especially around reefs and wrecks. Free-lining small live shiners is producing this bite.

Catch-and-release snook and redfish are proving good for sport fishers around mangrove edges and oyster bars. Again, free-lined shiners are the bait of choice.

Meanwhile, decent numbers of spotted seatrout are being caught on the deeper grass flats of Tampa Bay. Using a popping cork combined with a live shiner is deadly for these fish. And they’re great in the frying pan.

Now, for a move offshore. Traveling into the Gulf of Mexico is a little risky due to the numerous patches of red tide present. But for those willing to make the run to deeper, clean water, there are rewards and some great catches. The guides are reporting cobia, permit, snapper and grouper are being caught. Just be prepared to burn some gas, as some days require runs up to 18 miles offshore to find good water.

Capt. Aaron Lowman is working his magic around the ledges and natural hard bottom in the Gulf of Mexico. Although red tide exists in some offshore areas, Lowman says he’s managing to find areas of clean water, where he’s putting clients on mangrove snapper, hogfish, grouper and porgies and the anglers are putting plenty of fish in the cooler.

Inshore fishing is producing action north of Anna Maria Island, where the yield is Spanish mackerel, spotted seatrout and mangrove snapper. Catch-and-release snook and redfish also are coming to the hook for Lowman’s anglers.

Capt. David White of Anna Maria Charters is targeting catch-and-release snook and redfish in southern Tampa Bay with his clients. Casting live shiners in areas where mangrove edges and oyster bars exist is producing good action on these fish. Fishing deeper water in Tampa Bay around structure also is a good bet. Mangrove snapper and macks are present in these areas and White reports they are on the feed.

Lastly, White is finding deep grass areas in Terra Ceia Bay are holding good numbers of spotted seatrout.

Capt. Jason Stock is venturing out into the Gulf of Mexico in search of clean water. On some days, he’s running as far as 18 miles offshore to reach good fishing grounds. Once there, Stock is putting clients on numerous permit from 10-30 pounds. Yellowtail and mangrove snapper also are being caught, as well as some large cobia.

Moving inshore, schooling catch-and-release redfish are providing action and some large trout are being caught on extreme high tides.

Jim Malfese at the Rod & Reel Pier says fishing is day to day at the north end, where the red tide shows up one day and leaves just as quickly. He says pier fishers are hooking up with a variety of species. Those using live shrimp as bait are catching numerous black drum and catch-and-release redfish. Mangrove snapper and a few flounder also are in the mix. Catch-and-release snook are another species taking refuge around the pier in southern Tampa Bay. Lastly, Spanish mackerel are being caught by fishers using silver spoons.

Head north to Tampa Bay for clean water, good fishing

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Evan, Lucas, Daniel and David Marichal. father, son and grand- sons from New Jersey, fished offshore Sept. 2 with Capt. Warren Girle. Using live shiners for bait, the group enticed plenty of action from a school of Spanish mackerel.
Scarlett McGrath of Georgia, visiting grandparents Les and Mona McGrath of Mt. Vernon condos in Cortez, attracted two sheepshead to her hook Sept. 1 with live shrimp while fishing the canal that leads to Sarasota Bay.

Fishing around anna maria island remains consis- tently good to the north. fishing tampa Bay and the Manatee River is yielding many species of fish — most of them readily taking the bait offered. Some likely fleeing red tide.

Speaking of red tide, i am hear- ing that things are clearing up. areas around Longboat pass and coquina Beach are showing signs of life again. as the red tide bloom dimin- ishes, we should see things return to normal in the weeks to come.

Thanks to gordon for a big blow in the Gulf. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Reports of ample bait fish in Longboat Pass is encouraging. i’m also hearing about snook in the surf at coquina and Whitney beaches.

Back to fishing in Tampa Bay. Numerous species of fish are being caught — Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper are taking the hook in good num- bers, especially around the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. You’ll likely encounter bluefish, ladyfish and jack crevalle in these areas as well.

Fishing shallower water around the flats of Terra Ceia and miguel bays is proving to be good. Snook and redfish — both catch-and-release for the time being — are being fairly cooperative. Spotted seatrout are taking the hook, too, but in the deeper grass areas. You can count on catching mangrove snapper on the deep grass, too.

Capt. Jason Stock is working charters inshore throughout the flats of southern Tampa Bay. Target- ing redfish is proving to be good during morning low tides for his sportfishers. Casting live bait or artifi- cials into schooling reds is yielding a good fight with slot-size and over-slot size fish. Fishing mangrove edges or sandbars on the edge of the flat is a good way to locate these fish.

While targeting reds, Stock is hooking into numerous snook. Also, fishing deeper water in the bay — deep grass or over structure — is resulting in Spanish mackerel, bluefish and sharks.

Moving offshore, Stock is hooking into large permit around reefs and wrecks in the gulf of mexico.

Capt. Aaron Lowman is catching his share of fish while in Tampa Bay. While dock fishing, Lowman is finding a variety of species, including redfish, snook, mangrove snapper and flounder.

Jack crevalle and ladyfish are in these areas, too, especially where large schools of glass minnows exist. free-lining live shiners or adding a split shot to the rig is proving to be successful.

Lowman says fishing structure in Tampa Bay is producing Spanish mackerel for his anglers.

Jim Malfese at the Rod & Reel Pier is seeing clean water and no dead fish which means it’s time to venture out to the R&R and fish.

Pier fishers using live shrimp as bait are hooking into mangrove snapper, flounder and an occasional redfish. Using larger baits — ladyfish or pinfish — is resulting in some over-slot snook.

Finally, Spanish mackerel are being caught on small silver spoons or white jigs.

Capt. Warren girle is working inshore with good results. fishing structure in tampa Bay is yielding Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper, which are being taken with live shiners as bait.

Fishing deep grass areas in tampa Bay is produc- ing spotted seatrout and bluefish. On shallower flats, Girle is leading his sportfishing clients to some lively hookups on snook and redfish.

Send high-resolution photos and fishing reports to fish@islander.org.

Move north to Tampa Bay to find clean water, feisty fish

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Trevor Asche and Matt Salyer of Versailles, Indiana, show off a pair of 24-inch gator trout they caught simultaneously Aug. 31 while fishing with Capt. Danny Stasny of Southernaire Fishing Charters.
Jim Butler of Anna Maria and the United Kingdom shows off one of numerous catch/release gag and red grouper caught Aug. 27 on live shiners while on a charter fishing trip with his family and Capt. Warren Girle.

The stench of red tide still looms in some backwater areas around Anna Maria Island, but fishing remains consistently good in southern Tampa Bay.

Spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper, redfish, pompano, spotted seatrout and snook can be found in their refuge from red tide in southern Tampa Bay at the north end of Anna Maria Island.

Red tide can ruin a day of fishing if you don’t look ahead, but it also can trigger some of the best fishing of the season. The fish fleeing red tide are packing into areas where the water is fresh and clean. And the more fish in the area, the better your chances of catching one. It just makes good sense.

Another thing about the fishing during an outbreak of red tide is you never know what to expect. I’m finding fish where I would never expect them. Random schools of pompano and schools of redfish are popping up from nowhere. I’ve stumbled across a grass flat loaded with trout, where normally I’d only catch a couple. What I’m getting at is: Although there is red tide, don’t be discouraged. Find clean water, think outside the box and there’s a good chance you’ll be rewarded.

Also, as of Aug. 30, the FWC had called timeout on snook and redfish. Catch-and-release will be practiced from the waters south of Bean Point and Emerson Point south to Collier County. And, as far as I can tell from the maps, this includes the Manatee River. The order made necessary by the deadly effect of red tide will be revisited Sept. 26.

Lastly, my excursions on the water with Southernaire are proving to be quite good. I’m finding redfish around docks and sandbars in decent numbers. Most catches are slot-size fish. Catch-and-release snook are being found in these areas, as well as along the mangrove edges. Most of the snook are 22-26 inches.

Mangrove snapper are readily coming to the hook, a bite that’s handy for folks who want to catch fish for dinner. Again, docks and deeper flats are producing good numbers.

Spanish mackerel are rounding out the bite for my clients. Fishing structure is producing epic mackerel sessions. On some days, its every bait, every cast.

Capt. Rick Gross of Fishy Business Charters is working on the flats of southern Tampa Bay to avoid red tide. In areas where the water is clean, Gross is putting clients on redfish, trout and catch-and-release snook. According to Gross, fishing live shiners under a Cajun Thunder popping cork is providing nonstop action. He’s finding large concentrations of fish gathering in areas where water is clean. Slot redfish — now catch-and-release — and trout are the norm. Sport fishers are being rewarded with snook up to 28 inches on the hook.

Capt. David White of Anna Maria Charters is fishing offshore for a variety of species. Finding clean water is a must and, once found, fishing is quite good. Mangrove snapper, hogfish, Key West grunts and groupers are being taken with ease. Spanish mackerel also are in the mix.

Moving inshore, White is targeting redfish, trout and snook throughout the flats of southern Tampa Bay. Fishing structure in the bay is resulting in mackerel bites.

Capt. Jason Stock is working offshore in depths of 40-60 feet where no red tide is found. In these areas, where ledges and reefs exist, Stock is finding permit, cobia and mangrove snapper, as well as goliath grouper and barracuda.

Moving inshore, Stock is in pursuit of the tarpon that have taken up residence in southern Tampa Bay. Stock says they’re taking living offerings and artificials.

Capt. Aaron Lowman is running offshore to the ledges and artificial reefs with depths of 35-50 feet of water, where he’s putting clients on mangrove snapper, hogfish, porgies and gag grouper. He said mackerel also are present, especially around the reefs.

Moving inshore, Lowman is finding spotted seatrout, redfish and snook where water is clean. Fishing grass flats and docks is yielding a good bite for his anglers.

Jim Malfese at the Rod & Reel Pier says fishing is “day-to-day.” There are days when patches of red tide move into the area, which spoils the bite for the day. On days when the water is clean, catch-and-release snook are being observed — and some are being caught, too.

Mangrove snapper are a favorite at the R&R, where they are being hooked with regularity. Flounder and Key West grunts also are going in the coolers.

Capt. Warren Girle is fishing clean water offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. In depths of 40-55 feet, Girle is putting clients on juvenile red and gag grouper. Fishing over the ledges is producing mangrove snapper, Key West grunts and porgies for his anglers.

Moving inshore, Girle is working the flats of Tampa Bay with good results. Spotted seatrout and catch-and-release redfish and snook are being caught with regularity in the shallow waters, while fishing structure in Tampa Bay is yielding macks and mangrove snapper for Girle’s clients.

            Send high-resolution photos and fishing reports to fish@islander.org.

Find clear, clean water to beat red tide, catch fresh fish

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Chris Moore of Mississippi shows off a red grouper caught Aug. 21 about 7 miles offshore using shiners for bait while on a charter with Capt. Warren Girle.
Lewis Whitfield, visiting from Widnes, England, shows off his Aug. 25 catch — a nice gag grouper. Lewis used a live grunt as bait in about 30 feet of water west of Anna Maria Island. He and his family also were guided by Capt. Aaron Lowman to catches of mangrove snapper, spanish mackerel, grunts and tons of under-sized grouper. Lowman reports the “action nearshore is still real good.” He’s also been working inside Tampa Bay “plenty over the past couple weeks, and there is still plenty of clean water and fish in there.”

Fishing around Anna Maria Island remains good despite red tide.

There are plenty of fish to be caught in areas where red tide doesn’t exist. In these areas, I’m noticing the water is clean, clear and holding plenty of fish. Whether fishing inshore or slightly offshore, the key is getting to your spot without running through patches of red tide. Avoiding these patches of bad water helps your bait stay alive until you reach your fishing destination. If you’re successful at this, you should be successful catching some fish.

On my excursions with Southernaire, I’m fishing inshore, where areas of clean water are yielding a variety of species. Mangrove snapper seems to be the best-seller around docks. To find these tasty little fish, I’m looking for one clue — glass minnows. Finding dense schools of bait fish is a sure sign of snapper.

And, to tell you the truth, the glass minnows don’t only attract snapper. I’m also putting clients on redfish, large jack crevalle, catch-and-release snook and an occasional flounder.

Fishing other structure — artificial reefs, wrecks and rock piles — also is yielding good action. While in Tampa Bay, I’m catching Spanish mackerel and snapper. Blue runners and numerous juvenile grouper also are present.

So, once again, don’t be discouraged by the current situation with red tide. In areas where there is clean water, the fishing is quite good — you just have to be willing to search for good water.

That’s when a scouting trip comes in handy. A quick, early run to your favorite spots will guide you on your fishing trip.

Capt. Warren Girle is evading the red tide by working charters offshore. Artificial reefs and ledges in 30-50 feet of water are producing a variety of species on live shiners and pinfish as bait. Dropping baits to the bottom on a weighted rig is yielding mangrove snapper, Key West grunts and even keeper-size red grouper. Fishing baits on the surface on a free-line is attracting macks and blue runners.

Capt. Aaron Lowman is doing his best to avoid red tide, which is leading him to a wide-ranging variety of spots. On some days, Lowman is fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Finding ledge and artificial reefs is producing good action for the captain and his anglers. Bottom fishing with live shiners is yielding mangrove snapper, porgies, flounder and a few grouper. An occasional cobia is being hooked, too.

Fishing inshore on other days also is producing a bite. In areas less than five minutes from Anna Maria Island, Lowman is targeting catch-and-release snook, spotted seatrout and even a few redfish.

Capt. David White of Anna Maria Charters is catering to the sport fishers on catch-and-release snook along the beaches where there is no red tide. He is finding black drum in these areas, too.

Moving into the Gulf of Mexico, White is targeting Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper around the artificial reefs.

Finally, moving to depths of 50 feet and fishing around ledges is producing some action for his anglers on hogfish.

Capt. Jason Stock is running offshore to fish his charters around reefs and wrecks. Casting live pass crabs over these areas is attracting some permit weighing 10-15 pounds. Also in these areas are numerous macks, sharks and goliath grouper.

Moving inshore, Stock is targeting redfish around clear mangrove shorelines and docks.

Lastly, Stock is locating late-season schools of tarpon in Tampa Bay.

Jim Malfese at the Rod & Reel Pier says fishing is a daily occurrence, but catching fish is sporadic.

On days with the right winds — when there is no red tide around the pier — fishers are having some success. On one such day, a large school of pompano took residence around the pier to escape red tide. Pier fishers lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time enjoyed a couple of hours of nonstop action. They even found a few permit mixed in with the pomps.

On other days where there is clean water near the R&R, catch-and-release snook fishing is satisfying sport fishers, while flounder, mangrove snapper and redfish are going in the cooler.

Still there are the days when red tide is apparent. These days, it’s best to just walk up the stairs to the restaurant and have a cold beer and a cheeseburger. Neither the toxin nor the smell rise to the upper level.

            Send high-resolution photos and fishing reports to fish@islander.org.

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.

            Send high-resolution photos and fishing reports to fish@islander.org..

Be in the know — avoid red tide to find the fish

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Skip Tubbs, visiting from Montana, holds onto his catch, a kingfish caught July 16 on white bait 7 miles offshore while on a charter fishing trip with Capt. Warren Girle.

Despite being overrun with dead fish on the shore and marinelife that is overstressed by red tide, Anna Maria Island fishing can be productive. Fishing the outer boundaries of the red tide or traveling north to areas where the water is not contaminated is key to finding the bite.

The highest levels of red tide this past week seemed to be from the Anna Maria Island Bridge south through Sarasota Bay and along the beaches of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key.

Fishing north in Tampa Bay, as well as its connecting waters — the Manatee River, Tera Ceia Bay and Miguel Bay — is productive for anglers who just have to be on the water.

For visiting fishers only here for a short time, these areas are providing enough action to bend a rod in the morning and possibly enjoy a fish dinner back at the vacation home. Although this outlook is promising, remember fishing in these conditions is day to day. You might do well in an area one day, but if red tide sweeps through the next day, you may not catch a thing.

Ultimately, the key to producing a bite during a red tide bloom is being flexible and willing to travel. You may end up in waters you’ve never fished as you run from the red tide, but that’s a good excuse to do a little scouting in some new waters. You never know, maybe you’ll learn something.

On my excursions with Southernaire, I’m staying north of the toxic bloom by fishing Tampa Bay. Mangrove snapper action around rocks and docks is exceptional. Limits of snapper are being caught, usually within an hour of hitting your target. The key is to find the fry bait. Where this bait is present, you should find a mangrove snapper bite.

I’m also finding a decent redfish bite. Due to the vast amounts of fresh water flowing out of the Manatee River, I’m starting to see many fish enter Tampa Bay. And for the sport fisher, mixed in with the reds are catch-and-release snook. Fishing deeper grass areas is yielding a plethora of spotted seatrout. Most are just short of being keepers, but if you’re persistent, limits of trout are attainable. You just might have to catch 20 or 30 to get a keeper fish.

Lastly, fishing around wrecks and rock piles in depths of 10-20 feet is producing excellent action on Spanish mackerel. Chumming heavily with live shiners is key to keeping these fish in the mood.

Jim Malfese at the Rod & Reel Pier says despite the red tide, fishing is good. Waves of red tide are moving in and out of the bay, so picking your times to fish is key. On days when the red tide is mild or missing, pier fishers are catching plenty of mangrove snapper. Redfish are being caught using the same bait — live shrimp.

A few catch-and-release snook are being hooked using larger baits, such as pinfish.

Lastly, sheepshead and black drum are being caught on shrimp at the R&R.

Capt. Aaron Lowman is working north of the Anna Maria Island Bridge to avoid red tide. By fishing southern Tampa Bay and its adjacent waters, Lowman is finding an abundance of spotted seatrout. These trout are being found over deep grass areas. While targeting trout, Lowman is catching numerous mangrove snapper, as well as a few mackerel. Fishing structure in Tampa Bay is yielding macks and mangrove snapper. This bite is more consistent than on the deep flats.

Lastly, catch-and-release snook are showing up for sport fishers along mangrove shorelines.

Capt. Warren Girle is catching fish, despite the red tide. He’s traveling beyond the red tide to offshore areas to produce action for his clients on mangrove snapper and grouper, while bottom fishing around ledges and reefs is producing mangrove snapper 14-18 inches. The same applies for the groupers, although juvenile sizes are most apparent. Also, while traveling from spot to spot, Girle is keeping an eye open for floating debris. When lucky enough to see this, Girle is putting clients on triple tail.

Capt. Jason Stock also is working clear of the red tide by fishing north of the Anna Maria Island Bridge. While in Tampa Bay, Stock is finding action for clients by anchoring around structure for mangrove snapper and Spanish mackerel. Both are being caught on small live shiners.

Blacktip sharks are present in Tampa Bay, which is good action for those who want to hook up something big.

Moving offshore, Stock is running into the Gulf of Mexico past the red tide to find a variety of fish, including large mangrove snapper and almaco jacks that can be found past 8 miles. Also, many large sharks — blacktips and bulls — are present offshore.

            Send high-resolution photos and fishing reports to fish@islander.org.