Unfavorable weather creates rough fishing conditions
Windy conditions and numerous cold fronts are causing fishing around Anna Maria Island to be hit or miss.
On the calm days in between fronts, fishing offshore around the artificial reefs is proving to be quite productive. Fishing in Tampa Bay and the rock piles and reefs can add up to a good day. But, on days when winds exceed 20 mph, fishing is becoming challenging at best. Dock fishing around the Intracoastal Waterway and on the local bays is producing some action but it’s definitely not “on fire.” The same applies to fishing the flats. Spotted seatrout are making a showing, although they are not abundant as of yet. And the trout that are being caught are on the smaller side.
I’m finding this to be true on my own experiences on the water. On those calm days when I can take my clients to offshore destinations the fishing is quite good. Mangrove snapper and sheepshead are readily taking live shrimp offered up on a knocker rig. Sheepies up to 7 pounds are being caught with most in the 2-pound range. As for the snapper, most are 12-16 inches.
Also on calm days I’m doing some drifting over deep grass flats in search of pompano. Tipping small jigs with fresh-cut pieces of live shrimp is attracting attention from not only pompano, but permit, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and ladyfish. When this bite is good it can be a great time while fishing with light tackle. On just about every cast we’re hooking up with one of the species mentioned. If you’re looking for sheer numbers of fish, plus a couple to throw in the cooler for dinner, this is a great opportunity.
On a final note, snook season reopened in Gulf waters as of March 1.