April fishing inshore and offshore starts off hot

Despite the great cloud of COVID-19 looming over our heads, fishing around Anna Maria Island is proving to be quite good. 

Reports from offshore fishers include a wide variety of species ranging from migratory fish to bottom dwellers. As for the migratory fish, kingfish action has been quite good as well as reports of amberjack and blackfin tuna. All three species are eagerly taking offerings of live sardines or shiners. 

Sharks and barracuda are present in these areas which poses a threat when reeling in a fish. Many catches are being lost to the sharks and barracudas which can be aggravating. 

Bottom fishing around offshore wrecks is proving to be to be rewarding, but again you have to avoid the sharks and barracudas. 

Mangrove and yellowtail snapper are being caught frequently and most are 18 inches or bigger, which provides for some nice fillets for dinner. 

Moving inshore, catch-and-release snook and spotted seatrout are dominating the shallow water action. Freelining live shiners over shallow grass flats around mangrove shorelines is working best for the snook. Strong moving tides around the full moon really have these snook fired up. As for the trout, deep grass areas are holding impressive numbers of fish. Most are arranging 16-22 inches and live shiners as bait or artificials, such as soft plastics are working well. 

If flats fishing isn’t your fancy, try fishing the artificial reefs and other structure in Tampa Bay. Spanish mackerel, jacks, blue runners and ladyfish can be found in these areas and all three species provide excellent action on light tackle and typically will take a bait or artificial offering such as a small jig or silver spoon. 

And while you’re fishing over structure, don’t forget to drop a bait down toward the bottom to see if the mangrove snapper are cooperating. Small live shiners or even shrimp will work for these tasty little fish. 

On a final note, if you’re out in the boat, remember to follow the guidelines that are in place — observe proper distancing from other boats and remember to be safe on the water.