Fishing Report August 17, 2014

Despite rain, snapper fishing remains hot

Despite numerous rainstorms, fishing around Anna Maria Island remains bright. Whether fishing inshore or nearshore, most days are resulting in enjoyable days on the water and keeper fish for the cooler.

Mangrove snapper are still top of the list. Limits of these tasty fish are being caught around reefs, wrecks and docks. Most of the fish are 12-14 inches, although fish up to 18 inches are seeing the inside of my cooler. And for a bonus, I’m catching flounder mixed in with the snapper.

You should see the flounder bite increase in the weeks to come so be prepared. Have the landing net ready when these fish get boat side. They are notorious for spitting the hook at the last second.

Spanish mackerel are being found in Tampa Bay all the way out to the nearshore reefs. The biggest Spanish mackerel to come aboard my boat this week topped out at 28 inches to the fork of the tail. Anyone who targets macks knows that’s a good size one. And if you’re not targeting them to eat, they make great shark bait.

While fishing the mouth of Tampa Bay, I’m seeing good numbers of blacktip sharks on the end of the time. Anchoring up and drifting fresh-cut chunks of mackerel behind the boat is resulting in blacktips up to and exceeding 6 feet in length. These fish put up a great fight and are hearty enough to survive when released, which makes them a great adversary for catch-and-release fishers.

Finally, spotted seatrout and catch-and-release snook are being found in the passes and along the beaches. For either species, freelined live shiners are producing a bite.