Fishing Report November 22, 2015

Strong breezes, red tide puts a damper on fishing action

Strong breezes from the south are still managing to allow traces of red tide to linger in our local waters.

Despite this occurrence, fishing remains consistent, especially in waters north of the Anna Maria Bridge on Manatee Avenue. As long as you can find that magic combination of clean water and fish, you should find the fish fairly responsive.

On recent Just Reel fishing charters, I’ve been doing one of those two things. On days when winds are out of the east and the Gulf waters are semi-calm, I’m venturing along beaches in search of kingfish, Spanish mackerel and shark. To find these fish, I’m looking for gulls and terns diving on bait schools.

Generally, if you can find the birds, you’ll find the fish. After catching macks and kings, I migrate to nearshore structure to put my clients on mangrove snapper and flounder.

On days when strong winds make it impossible to fish in the Gulf of Mexico, I’m fishing the flats of Anna Maria Sound and southern Tampa Bay. On deeper flats and around the edges of sandbars, I’m finding good concentrations of spotted seatrout. Free-lined shiners aren’t long lasting as a few moments after being cast out, they’re inhaled by hungry trout. Sizes of the trout leave a little to be desired, but I’m still managing to get my clients limits of slot-size fish in the cooler.

As the tide moves in, I’m moving closer to shore in search of snook and redfish. Finding snook is proving fairly easy, although the redfish are a challenge. For either of these fish, I’m instructing my clients to cast live free-lined shiners to attract a bite.