Fishing Report March 12, 2017

Warm weather produces early spring fishing bounty

With such a mild Florida winter, springtime fishing around Anna Maria Island with Just Reel fishing charters is shaping up to provide some of the best bounty our waters have to offer. Snook fishing is already proving to be red hot and we haven’t even seen it at its best yet.

Spotted seatrout are making a good showing on the deeper grass flats throughout our region. Other species being found on the flats are redfish, pompano, jack crevalle and ladyfish.

Fishing structure in Tampa Bay and in the Gulf of Mexico is providing action on sheepshead. Artificial reefs, wrecks, residential docks and the local fishing piers are producing respectable catches of these most popular zebra-striped fish. Mangrove snapper, flounder and juvenile grouper are beginning to make a showing in these same areas.

Fishing offshore is beginning to heat up with catches of amberjack, kingfish and cobia being reported. Wrecks and reefs are superb habitat to find these species and, in our region, we have an abundance of such areas. The permit bite is being found around some of the wrecks, which should get better as the water temp rises.

On my own fishing adventures with Just Reel fishing charters, I’m finding the snook bite most entertaining. Rallies of schooley-sized fish — ranging from 20-26 inches — are providing great action for both skilled and not-so-skilled anglers. Rallies of 20-30 fish in a morning session are becoming common place.

With the sheepshead bite still going strong, I’m taking my time at the local reefs and wrecks. Live shrimp on a knocker rig is resulting in sheepies up to 6 pounds for my clients. While an occasional flounder or mangrove snapper is in the mix.