Anna Maria Island Fishing Report – July 23, 2017

Hot weather, fishing requires preparation for a successful outing

Fishing with Just Reel fishing charters around Anna Maria Island remains hot for yet another week.

If you’re planning on spending time on the water this month, plan accordingly. First, be ready to catch fish. Second, make sure you protect yourself from the sweltering conditions that are in store for you. Stock up on plenty of water and ice as ell as the other accouterments such as hats, sunglasses and sunscreen. There’s nothing worse than having to come in early from a fishing trip because you’re suffering from heat stroke or just plain old heat exhaustion. Stay in the shade and stay hydrated.

On my recent trips with Just Reel fishing charters, I’m finding numerous blacktip sharks in Tampa Bay. Most of these sharks are 3-4 feet, which makes them great to target with medium-heavy spinning gear. Most of them we are sight-casting to, which makes the hunt really exciting. For bait, cut mackerel, ladyfish or pinfish will suffice. When targeting these smaller sharks, a rig consisting of 8 inches of wire connected to a 4/0 circle hook will do the trick. What’s nice about a circle hook is most of the time they hook the fish somewhere on the outer edge of the jaw where the hook is visible. This makes it easy to remove it and release the shark without too much hassle.

When I’m not targeting sharks, I’m finding mangrove snapper in abundance around rocks and docks. And for that matter, even on some of the deeper grass flats. Most catches are 12-15 inches, although every once in a while I’m seeing fish up to 18 inches.

Finally, fishing deep grass flats for spotted seatrout is providing action. Mixed in with the trout are ladyfish, Spanish mackerel, snapper and small sharks.