August fishing pattern in full swing, variety being caught.
Fishing around Anna Maria Island is settling into a typical August patter. Mangrove snapper can be found throughout our waters around any structure — including reefs, rock piles, bridges and docks. Even on the flats keeper-size mangoes are being caught.
Spotted seatrout are also in abundance. Most trout being caught are under 15 inches, but the sheer numbers of fish gives us hope of a great bite for the fall. Catch-and-release snook fishing is as good as it gets, especially along the Gulf beaches. Sight-casting to 30-plus inch linesiders is always worthy of attracting both novice and seasoned anglers to take a walk along the shore.
Finally, the arrival of the long-awaited redfish is occurring. Small groups of fish are being seen around oyster bars and mangrove shorelines. As for the large schools of fish, there are a couple around, although the ever-relentless pressure of multiple boats stalking them tends to make them quite spooky.
On my own trips with Southernaire Fishing Charters I’m cashing in on the abundance of mangrove snapper. Limits of tasty little fish are attainable both on the artificial reefs around docks and bridges. Not only do these snapper put up a good fight on light tackle, but they are superb on the plate. This gives visiting anglers a chance to sample some great fishing action as well as the reward of a fish dinner later that evening.
Spotted seatrout are next on the list. Free-lining live shiners over deep grass flats is producing some sizzling action for visiting and local anglers alike. In some instances, we’re catching 20 or 30 trout without even having to pull anchor and move. Getting keeper-size fish is a little challenging, although we are managing to put enough in the cooler for dinner. Also, add some Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and jack crevalle to the mix and things can shape up for a great hour of fishing.
Finally, the arrival of redfish is a welcome sight. Schools of fish can be found on shallow grass flats and even on some deeper flats. These schools are no secret so the fishing pressure on them has made them quite shy. I’m resorting to using gold spoons to get a bite. The advantage of using the spoon is in the range of castability. With a 1/2-ounce gold spoon you can cast very far which enables you to keep them in a better mood which makes them easier to follow. This theory holds true until you hook a red and the school follows it as you feel the fish to the boat. When this occurs I’m having to quietly wait until the school regroups and settles down. Them I’m repeating the process all over again.