Anna Maria IslandFishing Report January 3, 2018

Mild winter temps produce stellar fishing action

For yet another week, mild temperatures and stellar fishing conditions make the little paradise we call Anna Maria Island attractive to visiting and local anglers alike.

Fishing nearshore and offshore is producing a variety of species, ranging from bottom dwellers — grouper, snapper and hogfish — to migratory fish — cobia, amberjack, kings and tuna.

Things are sure to change soon when old man winter blows the cold weather down from the north. But until they do, it’s time to celebrate where we live and our easy access to the beautiful emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

On my Just Reel fishing charters, I’m cashing in on the light winds and calm seas. Venturing out to the 40-50 foot depths is resulting in numerous catches fit for a fish fry. Key West grunts — the most abundant — are readily taking shrimp. Mangrove and lane snapper, gag grouper and hogfish are being reeled up with the same frequency. And when we get tired of bottom fishing, there is an abundance or kingfish on the surface to keep us occupied. There’s great action for wintertime fishing in west-central Florida.

Moving inshore, I’m finding pompano and permit along channel edges and deeper grass flats and fresh-cut shrimp added to a pink jig is like candy for both species. The hardest part is finding these fish but, once you do, it’s game on.

Have a happy new year and keep your lines tight!