May brings productive fishing for backwater and reef species
What does the month of May have in store for the ever-famous fishing destination of Anna Maria Island?
With water temps on the flats exceeding 80 degrees, fishing for backwater species — snook, redfish and spotted seatrout —should be consistently good. Keep in mind, as water temps are rising, its best to fish low light conditions, especially early morning. Live bait fishing with shiners is still the most productive method, although artificials such as topwater plugs and soft plastics are worthy of a bite. Try to plan accordingly to give yourself the best chances of a good fishing trip. Strong moving tides in the early morning hours are your best option. Also, try to pick calm days when the winds are down and navigating on the water is manageable.
Reef fishing in May can also be productive. Mangrove snapper and Spanish mackerel are abundant on nearshore structure. You may also find structure a host to other species including hogfish, cobia, permit and barracuda. Again, live shiners are the bait of choice unless you’re in search of the elusive permit — in which case you may want to have a couple of pass crabs handy.
Finally, around Anna Maria, the month of May brings tarpon to mind. You may want to start dusting off your tarpon gear in preparation for the day when tangible numbers of the silver king appear. Sooner than not, tarpon junkies from all over the world will be flocking to our sleepy little island in hopes of matching wits with a silver king.
Finally, don’t forget that snook fall out of season in May — also in June, July and August. Don’t be discouraged though, catch-and-release snook fishing is becoming more and more popular as the year progresses. Now is the time to search for your all-time biggest snook. Start checking the piers, bridges, beaches and passes, especially at night to find those fish exceeding 40 inches. Big baits such as ladyfish, mullet or pinfish might get you hooked up with more than you can handle.