Inconsistent weather results in consistent fishing action
Anna Maria Island fishing remains excellent for yet another week.
Despite numerous afternoon rain showers the waters remain clear and the fishing is good. Tarpon season is slowly improving, although the large numbers of fish have yet to show. Still, those eager to tangle with the “silver king” are finding success. Patrolling the Gulf beaches as well as the passes both north and south is a good bet.
On the flats, spotted seatrout are the most dominant bite. Most of the large, over-slot trout have moved out to the Gulf to spawn leaving numerous trout in the 12- to 18-inch range on the flats to be caught. Free-lining live shiners over deeper grass flats are yielding many trout, although if you’re looking for a limit of fish you’d better be determined. Somedays catching twenty trout will result in on a couple of keepers. Catch-and-release snook fishing is also good. Shallow flats near passes or areas of good tidal flow are holding good numbers of fish.
Moving offshore, permit seem to be the big highlight, although other species such as cobia, kingfish, amberjack and snapper are also present. Remember, gag grouper season opens June 1, so get your grouper tackle in order.
On my own Southernaire fishing charters, I’m targeting spotted seatrout on the flats of Tampa and Sarasota Bays. Free-lining live shiners over flats when good tidal flow exists is resulting in many catches. Keeper-size trout are present, although I’m seeing a lot of undersize fish, too. Mixed in with the trout are Spanish mackerel, bluefish and ladyfish.
Catch-and-release snook are a good bet during days of stronger tides — especially the outgoing ones. Casting free-lined live shiners is resulting in many explosive bites. In some areas, I’m finding snook in water as shallow as 2 feet. Most everything else is in waters of 3-4 feet.