Tarpon remain center stage for yet another week around Anna Maria Island
Schools of fish are being reported from as far south as New Pass in Sarasota all the way north to Egmont Key. Preferred baits are crabs, threadfin herring or live shiners.
Targeting fish around the passes before sunrise is a sure fire way to get hooked up. As the morning settles in, so do the fish. The trend is to then anchor up and chum with dead threadies until you have fish feeding behind the boat.
Tarpon fishers opting not to use this method are migrating to the beaches to find free-swimming schools of fish on the move. These fish can be less spooky due to the fact that there are not a lot of boats around them. This being said, they’ll usually respond to live threadfins or shiners that are cast out just ahead of the school.
Spotted seatrout are in abundance once again. If you noticed, about a month ago, catches of upper-slot and over-slot trout were in great quantity. Those were pre-spawn females. Now, most of the trout we are catching are 13- to 15-inch fish. these are the post-spawn males. Still fun to catch, just not as big. Live shiners will take these fish all day long as long as they are feeding.
Finally, mangrove snapper are filling the void in the fish box this week. If you’re heading in from tarpon fishing and would like some fish for dinner, try anchoring on one of the artificial reefs in the gulf and catch some mangoes. Fresh-cut shiners — either free-lined or on a knocker rig — are resulting in snapper up to 18 inches. What better way to end a day of tarpon fishing than with a little snapper ceviche?