Fishing Report February 7, 2018

Winter might last another six weeks, but fishing is heating up

Fishing around Anna Maria Island is providing some good wintertime action, especially between cold fronts.

Most everyone is using live shrimp as bait as it seems to be the top ticket for a variety of species. Casting shrimp under docks and residential canals is attracting sheepshead, black drum and redfish. The small crustaceans are working well around the ledges and artificial reefs for sheepshead, grunts, snapper and hogfish. And finally, casting shrimp along the beaches is resulting in pompano, permit and plenty of whiting.

On my Just Reel fishing charters, I’m opting for the beach bite. Catching pompano and permit along the shorelines in the Gulf is one of my favorite pass times. And I think my clients enjoy it, too. Using small jigs tipped with shrimp or just simply casting shrimp out on a small knocker rig is sufficient to catch either species. The key is finding them — and that’s not always easy.

I’m noticing an abundance of whiting mixed in on the bite. Whiting up to 16 inches are, on somedays, more apt to take the hook than the pompano. Sheepshead, black drum and redfish are included in the “shoreline shrimp bite,” although they are a little random compared to the other species.