Fishing as good as it gets if you can get out on the water

With the stay at home order in place for the state of Florida, fishing and boating around Anna Maria Island is minimal to say the least.
The closure of all county boat ramps, fishing piers and most parks has made accessibility to the water challenging to most, except for those who are lucky enough to keep their boats in the water.
Most fishing charter activity has all but ceased, except for a few diehard captains who still have clients wanting to go out.
It seems as fishing for the moment is taking a backseat to remaining home and trying to help slow down the spread of this impending threat.
Unfortunately, the timing of this couldn’t be any worse. After all, April is one of the best months for fishing in our local waters. It’s the time when our waters are clear and emerald green due to the limited amount of rain.
Perfect weather and calm waters are perfect recipe to be out on the water. And with the fish basically eating anything you put in front of them, it is nothing short of frustrating to be home day in and day out instead of being out on the water. But I guess there are more important things to think about.
Now is the time to adhere to the guideline of what we are being told to do to minimize the impact of this pandemic. For those who do plan to venture out to go boating in Manatee County, my best advice is to visit the county website at My to assess what regulations need to be observed. You may also want to visit my for information on this as well.
And remember, show some respect for law-enforcement and marine rescue agents as they already have enough going on in dealing with this pandemic.
As far as the bite is concerned, reports are as follows. Fishing inshore for catch-and-release snook and trout is possibly as good as it gets. Freelining live shiners is providing the best action for the snook. For the trout, try drifting over deep grass flats and casting soft plastics combined with a 1/4-ounce jig head. I have found the soft plastics with a curly tail are working best.
Fishing the inshore reefs is also quite good. Kingfish have infested the waters in depths of 30 to 40 feet and are being coaxed to bite by anglers using a large live shiner fished on a long shank hook or on a stinger rig.
While fishing these inshore reefs, you may also encounter cobia, big jacks and plenty of sharks. Leaving the inshore stuff behind and venturing out to depths of 80 feet or more, anglers are enjoying action on blackfin tuna. In the mix with the tunas are amberjack and kingfish. On the bottom at these depths, grouper and snapper are being accommodating.