Fishing around Anna Maria Island is holding strong in both the backcountry and offshore
Flats fishing for catch-and-release snook is pretty darn good as long as the tide is moving. The same applies for spotted seatrout. Live shiners cast into sandy potholes on deep grass areas are a surefire way to get onto these fish. Redfish are also being caught although not with the same frequency as the snook or trout.
Offshore fishing for migratory fish — amberjack, kingfish and cobia — is occurring, although you may have to travel some distance to get to the bite. In the 8- to 10-mile range is a good place to start looking. Black fin tuna are being found around wrecks in the 15-20 mile range.
On my own fishing excursions with Southernaire fishing charters, I’m staying in the backcountry to target catch-and-release snook as well as spotted seatrout and redfish. I’m seeing an occasional flounder as well as numerous bluefish, jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel and ladyfish.
For bait, live shiners are my go-to. Pretty much everything we target this time of year will eat them.
I’m also using crabs for bait when I come across a finicky redfish that won’t take a shiner. Redfish up to 34 inches are being caught in this manner.
Lastly, although it’s a little early, I’m starting to see rogue tarpon milling around on the deeper grass flats of both Tampa and Sarasota Bays. Most sightings are singles or doubles, which could be targetable to those ever-patient tarpon fishers in the flats boats who will sit all morning at anchor just to get a shot at one fish.