Anna Maria Island Fishing Report December 11, 2016

Winter is coming — time to bait with shrimp for a hookup

Using live shrimp while fishing with Just Reel fishing charters as bait is now becoming a reality due to falling water temperatures and recent cold fronts.

There are still shiners to be caught on the flats, but, in most instances a substitute of live shrimp may yield similar results.

I’m finding an abundance of redfish around residential docks and canals that are more than happy to eat my live shrimp offerings. In fact, I think they prefer them. In my travels while searching for redfish, I’m also catching increasing numbers of black drum and sheepshead. What a sure sign that winter is just around the corner.

Using shrimp as bait will also work for most other species you’ll encounter in the back country as well as around the nearshore reefs and ledges. Flounder, mangrove snapper and Key West grunts will readily take a well-placed shrimp on the reef. And don’t forget about the sheepshead — they love eating shrimp.

Fishing the flats can also be productive with shrimp. Deeper flats where spotted seatrout, bluefish and mackerel are present are a good place to take a cast. And don’t hesitate to cast a shrimp on a shallow flat to a snook. Most of the time that shrimp will get inhaled before you can close the bail.