Despite a couple of recent cold fronts, fishing around Anna Maria Island is holding fast.
With shiners still available to be caught and used for bait, many anglers are finding success both in the back country and out in the Gulf of Mexico. Fishing the flats for snook and trout is still going strong. I’m finding the snook fishing is proving to be better during the afternoon tides when the water temps are reaching their peak. Remember, snook season closed on Dec. 1 so all catches are catch-and-release. As for trout fishing, both deep and shallower flats are producing a bite. I suggest using a popping cork or a reasonable facsimile while using the shiners as bait as most I’m seeing and catching are on the small side. When using these smaller bait, you’ll find it a lot easier to cast when you add that weighted cork to your rig.
While fishing offshore, the shiners are working well for Spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper and even bottom dwelling cobia. For the macks a free-lined shiner on a long shank hook will get you connected. As for the snapper, a circle hook and egg sinker made into a knocker rig will get your bait down where the snapper are feeding. And while you’re doing this, don’t be surprised to hook into an occasional cobia. They’re down there and aren’t picky about how big or small your bait is.