Fishing Report May 23, 2018

Rainy conditions put damper on tarpon fishing

With the arrival of tarpon, fishing around Anna Maria Island has just about all it can offer when it comes to fishing in west central Florida.

The inshore bite is still going strong for spotted seatrout and catch-and-release snook. Other inshore species include Spanish mackerel, big jack crevalle and a few redfish.

Moving offshore, permit are still the highlight, although many other species are being caught including snappers, grouper, cobia, kingfish and amberjack.

And then there’s tarpon. With all of the rain this week and windy conditions, the tarpon experienced a slight break from the anglers. As soon as conditions improve, the tarpon will be back on the menu. And most likely they should be here in greater numbers.

On my own Southernaire fishing charters, clients are experiencing an exceptional trout bite, especially on large, over-slot fish. Spotted sea trout up to 25 inches are being caught with regularity, although most are 18-22 inches. Live, free-lined shiners are working best as bait.

Catch-and-release snook fishing is also fairly good right now. I’m finding the best action is occurring during swift moving tides. The greatest numbers of fish are being found around the passes.

Lastly, I’m seeing a few redfish being caught, but not as many as there could be. Most of these bites are occurring around oyster bars or mangrove shorelines.