Windy days puts damper on holiday fishing

Windy days puts damper on holiday fishing

Although Anna Maria Island fishers are experiencing day after day of wind, those willing to persevere are finding a bite.

The most popular bite by far is the sheepshead bite. Casting live shrimp around structure — sea walls, piers, bridges and especially residential docks — is producing decent numbers of these delectable fish. They are also being found around artificial reefs and even on the grass flats, in some areas.

When targeting sheepies, you usually stand a chance of encountering other species that like structure, including redfish, black drum, flounder and mangrove snapper. Not a bad addition to any sheepshead excursion, as far as I’m concerned.

On my own fishing excursions with Southernaire, I’m following suit. And that suit is striped with black and white. That’s right, we’re catching sheepshead. Casting live shrimp under docks or around other structure in Tampa Bay is yielding pretty good numbers of these feisty fighting fish.

I’m also managing to pick up some catch-and-release redfish in the process. I’m also noticing quite a few jack crevalle in Tampa Bay as well as the Intracoastal Waterway south to Longboat Pass. Although these aren’t good eating, they sure entertain the angler with their hard-fighting antics that last until they are plucked from the water.

Fishing along the beaches is also proving to be good. I’m seeing a mix of pompano and whiting while casting jigs tipped with fresh-cut pieces of live shrimp.

On a serious note, don’t forget the harvest of gag grouper closed on Jan. 1, 2019. Also, keep in mind that the new bag limit of sheepshead is 8 fish per person per day.