Variety of bite keeps local fishers busy
Tarpon fishing remains the main attraction for yet another week on Anna Maria Island. Tarpon fishers from Tampa to Boca Grande — and beyond — are flocking to our little island to get a taste of what our local waters have to offer. Some say the tarpon fishing here is better than anywhere on the Gulf Coast. And by the numbers of boats I’m seeing out there hunting tarpon maybe that’s the case.
The fish are finally dispersing from the passes and beginning to roam the beaches of Anna Maria, Egmont and Longboat Key. Live crabs and threadfin herring as bait are top producers, although large shiners, pinfish and menhaden or “shad” are also attracting a bite.
For those choosing to fish the backcountry, spotted seatrout are proving to be the most consistent bite. Live shiners, free-lined or under a cork are producing good action during morning incoming tides. Deep grass areas in the 6-8 foot range are a good place to start.
On my own fishing trips on Southernaire Fishing charters, I’m flip flopping between tarpon and backwater trips. Both are productive right now with fish being caught fairly consistently. For the tarpon, I’m fishing pre-dawn until about 10 a.m., which seems to be working. Casting live crabs into schooling fish is producing multiple hookups especially right before sunrise.
As for the backwater trips, spotted seatrout are readily taking baits on the flats of Sarasota Bay. Limits of fish are attainable which is great for clients who would like to take a fish or two home for dinner. Plus, while targeting trout, we’re catching Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and bluefish, which add a nice variety to the bite.