Don’t miss your window of opportunity for good fishing
With recent cold front sweeping across Anna Maria Island, fishing patterns are all over the boards. Not for better, and not for worse, these changes are triggering backwater fish to again head deeper into the bays, the Manatee River and Intracoastal Waterway.
So you’ve done your homework. You’ve followed the fish as they moved from one feeding spot to the next before settling down in their wintertime haunts. Now the question is getting them to bite. You may experience “sitting on the fish” without getting a bite, especially on those colder days. If so, look at the time wen you’re trying to catch these fish. Early in the morning often is proving prosperous in cooler water temps. Wait until the sun is straight up and try to target your fish during the warmest parts of the day. If you can plan this time of day to coincide with the perfect tide and no wind, you’re golden. Then it’s just up to you.
If you’re targeting reds and snook, live and artificial baits are getting action. Live shiners weighted with a small split shot to slow them down will produce a bite. For artificials, soft plastics, especially the scented ones on a jig head will get you connected. Don’t forget when working jigs in cooler water temps, its best to slow down your retrieve. Let that jig just sit in front of a snook’s nose until he finally can’t stand it any longer and eats it.
Lastly, although there are still a lot of pinfish in the grass flats and around docks there are also sheepshead and black drum making a showing. It wouldn’t hurt to put a flow troll with a couple dozen shrimp inside in your bait well full of shiners if the opportunity to target these fish presents itself.