Anna Maria Island’s reputation of great fishing holds strong

Fishing the waters surrounding Anna Maria Island is proving to live up to the reputation of excellent fishing.

Fishing inshore is providing action on catch-and-release species such as snook, redfish and spotted seatrout. The snook bite by far outweighs the redfish and trout bite, but that seems to be typical for our area. We just have some great snook fishing here.

Other species being caught while inshore fishing include Spanish mackerel, blacktip sharks and some mangrove snapper.

Moving offshore, blackfin tuna are an option if you know what wrecks to fish. Also present around these wrecks are amberjack and kingfish. Permit and numerous bull sharks and goliath grouper are being reported around the wrecks as well.

Fishing ledges and hard bottom is resulting in mangrove and yellowtail snapper. And, speaking of snapper, don’t forget that American reds open June 1 for federally permitted charter boats and June 11 for recreational anglers.

On my Southernaire charters, I’ve been hiding along the mangrove shorelines of Tampa Bay and its adjacent waters hunting catch-and-release snook. This bite has been phenomenal. Catches of 30-50 feet in a morning are not unheard of. Most of these catches are 22-26 inches, although a few 30-inchers are mixed in. Free-lining live shiners to these fish is proving to be effective especially during swift moving tides around mangroves and oyster bars. I’m also seeing some catch-and-release redfish mixed in with the snook bite. The redfish I’m seeing are more random than consistent, although most fish are falling in the slot of 18-27 inches. The catch-and-release spotted seatrout bite is also happening right now. I’m catching a lot of smaller trout — 12-16 inches — with a few bigger ones mixed in.