Cooler weather brings kingfish near
Kingfish are finally making a showing just off the beaches of Anna Maria Island out to 5-6 miles off shore. Look for diving birds to find the bait schools, which in turn will lead you to the kings. While targeting kings, expect to experience Spanish mackerel, bonito and even cobia. Black tip sharks are also abundant in these feeding frenzies so always have a shark rod rigged and ready.
In the backcountry, flats fishing is still highly productive. Fishing shallow flats with live shiners is proving prosperous for snook and redfish. Shallow flats peppered with sandy potholes are a great place to start looking.
On deeper grass flats, spotted seatrout are becoming more and more abundant. Artificials such as topwater plugs or soft plastics work great if you’re drifting the flat. If you’re anchored up, try using live shiners to get a bite. Shrimp under a popping corks will work too, although beware of the numerous pinfish throughout the flat as they will nibble every shrimp you throw out.