Weather, fishing remains hot around Anna Maria Island

Weather, fishing remains hot around Anna Maria Island

With red tide becoming less apparent in waters around Anna Maria Island, local and visiting anglers are venturing out on the water once again.

Inshore fishing around Anna Maria Island and its waters to the east is gradually heating up in anticipation of the fall bite. Catch-and-release snook fishing is at its finest right now. Don’t be surprised to find some catch-and-release redfish in the mix, too.

Just about every piece of structure is littered with mangrove snapper. Seeing schools of 30-40 fish rise up in the chum is not unheard of — especially around reefs and wrecks.

Spanish mackerel are being found in decent numbers, especially out around the Sunshine State Skyway Bridge. While targeting macks, you can expect to encounter jack crevalle, ladyfish and bluefish.

Lastly, spotted seatrout are abundant on the deeper grass flats. Most are falling just short of keeper-size, but if you’re determined, you can scrape up a limit of four fish in the 15- to 20-inch range.

On my Southernaire charters, I’m targeting mangrove snapper. Fishing reefs and wrecks for these tasty fish is proving to be rewarding. A little chumming goes a long way. With schools of snapper happily feeding in the chum I’m casting free-lined baits into the mix to get hooked up. Limits are soon to be had when these fish are biting.

On other days, I’m finding snapper to be a little leader shy. As a result, I’m scaling down my leader from 20-pound to 15-pound fluorocarbon — then it’s game on.

Moving to the flats, catch-and-release snook fishing is at its best. Catching 30-40 snook in a morning is not unheard of. Most are 20-26 inches, although lucky anglers are hooking into an occasional larger fish.

I’m also finding an occasional redfish mixed in with the snook bite, which is always a welcome sight.

Lastly, spotted seatrout are abundant on certain grass flats. Most are undersized, but with a little persistence, I’m managing to put a few slot-size fish in the cooler.

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