The return of the king — tarpon being hooked in local waters
Anna Maria fishing is host to a new arrival this week. That’s right. The silver kinds have returned. Although the quantity of fish is still in its infantile stages, small groups of fish are being found along the beaches as well as in the passes from Egmont Key to New Pass.
On my own charters with Southernaire fishing charters, I’m finding success with tarpon in the 80-120 pound range. Most are being taken on pass crabs although threadfin herring are working, too. For me, the early morning bite is producing the best action. After 9 a.m. the fish are getting finicky. When this occurs I’m migrating up and down the beaches of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key to find schools of happy fish. And by happy I mean undisturbed. These fish generally tend to bite a little better than the ones in the passes that are constantly being run over by boats.
On days when non-tarpon fishers are on the boat, I’m fishing the flats of Anna Maria Sound and southern Tampa Bay for catch-and-release snook. Live shiners are attracting a bite from fish in the 20-36 inch range during morning tides. On lower tides I’m fishing outside edges of the flat. As the tide comes in I’m moving closer to the bushes were the snook are lounging in the shade.
Other fish producing action this week include numerous spotted seatrout and limits of mangrove snapper. Deeper grass flats where a slight current is present are home to spotted seatrout 12-24 inches. As doe the snapper, artificial reefs and rock piles in depths of 20-30 feet are producing limits of fish 12-18 inches.