Fishing Report March 1, 2017


Fishing action shaping up to be great as spring approaches

Fishing around Anna Maria Island is constantly improving as we approach springtime and with snook season opening in March 1, in Florida’s Gulf of Mexico state and adjacent federal waters, and remaining open through April 30, it’s only going to get better.

With the weather already feeling like spring, the flats fishing is falling right into place and looks to shape up for an exceptional year. Catch-and-release snook fishing is heating up with reports of 50 or more fish are being brought to the side of the boat in a morning session. Spotted seatrout are also making a good showing on the flats of Anna Maria Sound and beyond.

Finally, the sheepshead are in full feeding mode as they are fattening up for their ongoing spawn over the next few weeks.

On my own trips with Southernaire fishing charters, I’m concentrating on sheepshead fishing. Fishing inshore and nearshore structure is proving to be nothing less than exceptional. Sheepies up to 5 pounds are finding their way into the cooler with most catches falling between 2-3 pounds. Mixed in with the sheepies bite are many white grunts as well as an occasional mangrove snapper or flounder.

Moving onto the flats, I’m finding many spotted seatrout willing to take a bait. Free-lining select shrimp on deeper grass flats or along channel edges is yielding limits of slot-size fish. Moving tides are a must though. As the tide slows down, so does the bite. Slot-size fish are being taken with regularity while over-slot fish are being released to be able to spawn this year.