Persistence, faith and a little luck key to hooking up
With winds persistently blowing 10-20 m.p.h. for what seems like an eternity, fishing around Anna Maria Island still manages to put smiles on the faces of local and visiting fishers alike. Especially the visiting anglers because they don’t know any better.
Whether fishing the flats throughout the local bays and Intracoastal Waterway or fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, a bite exists. Other factors such red tide exist, but still the bite endures and, therefore, so do the fishers.
In these conditions, I think persistence, faith in your angling stills and a little luck all play a role in your fishing experience. I’m finding many instances where I’m catching rallies of fish in an area only to find that upon returning the following day that I can’t buy a bite. First of all, this tells me that the fish are on the move. Secondly, its making me cover more water to eventually find where they went. That famous line always comes to me — you should have been here yesterday. Well, that’s where the persistence pays off. Keep looking.
Then there are days when the fish are present but it’s as if they’ve been sitting there laughing at me and they won’t bite. Then, for some reason, they’ll turn on. Maybe a change in tide, the wind laying down or even a pressure change triggers this. This is where the faith in angling skills falls into play. You know you’re fishing correctly but ultimately it’s up to the fish to determine the outcome.
Lastly, a little good old fashion luck is a welcome sight. I don’t know how many times the bite has been tough and then sometimes towards the end of the fishing trip a client will catch a trophy fish or a species they’ve always wanted to catch but have since been eluded until that unforgettable moment. That’s when it becomes safe for the captain to climb back down from hiding in the tower knowing they can show face proudly and not in shame.
Ultimately, fishing is good. I’m fishing in areas where mangroves are sheltering me from the wind. Rallies of schooley snook are occurring during morning incoming tides. Chumming with live shiners is definitely helping the bite. Seeing and hearing snook boiling on chummers is music to my ears and on recent trips it sounds like a symphony. Keeper-size snook are a little hard to come by but lucky anglers are getting one here and there.
Around structure in Tampa Bay and out in the Gulf, I’m finding some good Spanish mackerel action. These macks are big, too, with some measuring 26 inches to the fork. Long shank hooks combined with medium to small size shiners are quickly being sliced and diced by the razor-sharp teeth of the Spanish mackerel. Rod-bending, drag-screaming runs quickly bring an heir of excitement throughout the bite as my clients rally on these high-speed fish.
Lastly, there’s a pile of crab trap buoys out there again to make the traps to catch those tastiest of crabs — the stone crab. It’s time to start keeping your eyes peeled for trigger fish. And, it’s also time to call your local crabber and buy 5-pounds of claws and a 12-pack of beer on ice and have a feast.