Winds slow Gulf fishing adventures, but inshore fishing around Anna Maria remains hot

With water temperatures in the mid-to-upper 80s, the summertime bite is settling in nicely around Anna Maria Island. 

Early morning catch-and-release snook fishing is worthy of attempting, as many schooley-size males are on the flats, feeding before they begin migrating towards the beaches and passes to spawn. 

Catch-and-release spotted seatrout action is maintaining as the water temps rise. Fishing deeper grass flats in 6-10 feet of water is producing decent action on fish 12-18 inches. Larger trout exceeding 20 inches are being found on the shallower flats. A lot of times they are actually mixed in with the catch-and-release snook bite. 

As for the redfish, I’m not seeing many caught. And I’m not hearing about many either. I am picking up an occasional red while snook fishing, although specifically targeting reds is proving to be unsuccessful —at least by our standards of what we are used to seeing in these waters.

Moving out to the beaches, tarpon are being caught when the winds are light. Light winds and calms seas are imperative when fishing the beach. When these condition exist, tarpon fishing can be at its finest. Live crabs or threadfin herring are producing a bite. 

Moving offshore, recreational anglers are heading out deep to target American red snapper. As of June 11, American reds are open for recreational harvest. The season will close July 12, so hope for good weather. So far, fish are being reported in abundance, in fact, folks can’t catch anything else when the snapper are present. 

Moving away from red snapper-infested areas while offshore, is yielding mangrove and yellowtail snapper, as well as gag and red grouper.

On my Southernaire charters, I’m spending time on catch-and-release snook and trout. Both are being caught in good numbers while fishing the vast expanse of grass flats that exist in Tampa Bay and its surrounding waters.

Most snook catches are 20-30 inches with a few larger fish mixed in. As for the trout, I’m seeing a lot in the 16- to 22-inch range. 

Fishing structure in Tampa Bay is proving to be OK for Spanish mackerel. Some days the fish are in abundance, while others are sporadic. Structure fishing is yielding some mangrove snapper. These tasty fish are ranging 10-20 inches. Most are falling between 12-14 inches. 

Lastly, targeting gag grouper on shallow water structure is resulting in some keeper-size fish as well as numerous juveniles.