Crystal clear waters replaced by sweet water, fish don’t seem to mind
If you’re looking to go fish the crystal-clear waters surrounding Anna Maria Island, it’s not going to happen this week.
Of course, you can go fishing, but as for the clear water, you may have to wait a little while for Lake Manatee to stop draining all of the black “sweet water” into Tampa Bay via the Manatee River.
Although all of this fresh water is present, don’t think it has curtailed the fishing — it hasn’t. There are still plenty of snook, trout and redfish to keep you entertained. And, if nothing else, it’s just cool to be out on the water when such a change is occurring. I can’t help but look behind the boat as I’m running the flat to see the reddish gold tinge to the water as it is churned up and displaced by the boat and engine. I swear it look like you’re running in fresh water at Lake Manatee.
Now, the water being this dark does compromise your visibility as for a spotting fish goes, but that’s what “chummers” are for. You’re going to have to put your “fishy sense” to the test.
On my Southernaire charters I’m seeing numerous spotted seatrout being reeled up to the boat. On some mornings 50-60 trout is not unheard of. Now, that being said, out of those, you might catch 40 in the 14-inch range. Yeah, just under slot again — throw them back. But for action purposes the bite is nothing less than excellent.
I’m skipping a few pompano here and there. This is usually occurring right when I’m bringing the boat down off of plane to approach a flat to start fishing. To catch these golden nuggets, I’m keeping a rod rigged and ready with a small hot pink jig. The pompano seem to love it as within seconds they are hitting the jig and screaming out the drag.
Lastly, snook are abundant around mangrove shorelines and oyster bars. I’m not seeing a lot of keeper-fish yet, but I’m seeing a few. Free-lining shiners is proving to be most productive. Redfish are present in these areas, too, although they are not as apparent as the snook.
And speaking of snook, don’t forget that snook season is now open as of Sept. 1 and will run through Nov. 30. The slot remains the same at 28-33 inches and you’re allowed to harvest one fish per day per person. And remember, you’re going to need a fishing license and a snook stamp to do so.