Find your way out of the wind to find the fish
Despite having a string of windy days, fishing around Anna Maria Island remains consistent if you know what to look for.
Finding clean or semi-clear water is a good place to start. Typically, when we have strong winds they stir up the water with waves and current, which in turn brings sand and sediment from the bottom up in the water column,
The result of this is cloudy or muddy water. I find that fishing in these areas can be challenging, at best, and usually try to find cleaner water — and finding that cleaner water usually results in finding the fish.
This example is quite apparent, I’m finding, when targeting pompano along the beaches. Incoming tides and clean water are resulting in rallies of these tasty, hard-fighting fish. Waters that are cloudy and churned up are only producing a stray bite here and there. Small jigs tipped with shrimp or a shrimp on a 1/2-ounce knocker rig are resulting in bites. Also present in the rallies include numerous ladyfish, jack crevalle and blue runners. Less numerous but still present are flounder, sheepshead and permit.
Reef and wreck fishing is holding strong on days when the seas are calm. Venturing out to depths of 30-40 feet, I’m finding a consistent mangrove snapper bite. You can catch these snapper on shrimp or shiners as bait, but due to the abundances of spot tail pins and tomtates on the reefs I suggest using the shiners. The shrimp typically will get nibbled on by small “bait stealers,” before they even reach the bottom. The shiners seem to last a little longer which usually is just enough time for a mangrove snapper to discover them. Along with snapper, my clients are reeling up flounder, Key West grunts and juvenile grouper.