Fast-action species keep Anna Maria Island anglers busy
Fall fishing around Anna Maria Island is host to some fast-action species that are sure to keep local and visiting anglers occupied.
While patrolling the beaches, I’m seeing schools of Spanish mackerel as close as 100 yards from the shore to about a mile of the beach. Looking for the feeding shorebirds — seagulls and terns — is key to locating these fish.
Mixed in with the macks are king mackerel — the Spanish mackerel’s larger cousin. And, of course, whenever large quantities of mackerel are around, you’re bound to see sharks.
Blacktip and spinner sharks are the most apparent species, but don’t be surprised to see an occasional bull shark or even the elusive hammerhead cruise by the boat.
Flats fishing is also heating up with the cooler autumn weather. The recent drop in water temps has triggered the snook to start moving from the beaches and passes to the grass flats in the bays. And you know when the snook are on the grass flats, they are there for one reason — to feed. High tides are favorable to target these linesiders on the flats and especially around mangrove shorelines and oyster bars. Casting live shiners right up against the edge of the bushes — or if you’re good, under the bushes —is a sure-fire way to catch numerous schooley-sized snook. You may also hook into some redfish while doing this, which is always a welcome sight.
On my Southernaire charters, I’m starting the morning by fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Numerous Spanish mackerel and shark catches are a great way to start off the day. Throw in a couple late-season tarpon and you’re golden. This bite seems to be working during the morning incoming tide. Plus, with the low tide in the morning, it’s tough to get on the flats to target snook and redfish. So after you get in some beach action, the tide will have had a chance to rise. Then it’s time to hit the flats, where snook in the range of 20-26 inches are abundant. Free-lined shiners are quickly being devoured by these hungry fish. And to add to the fun, I’m seeing redfish mixed in with the snook bite.