Dodge the storms to pinpoint fish, there’s plenty to catch

Dodging the wet weather is becoming a trend this week while fishing around Anna Maria Island. With deep moisture moving in from the south, pop-up thunderstorms are frequent and can be quite violent for a brief moment while on the water. With thunder and lightning in these storms, it’s best to keep a watchful eye on the sky and radar to prevent any incidents. 

Those willing to wait out the storms are finding good numbers of tarpon along the beaches and passes of Anna Maria Island and Egmont Key. Casting live baits such as pinfish, threadfin herring or pass crabs is working to get a bite. Many varieties of sharks are present along the beaches too and are being targeted when spotted. Casting large live baits — jack crevalle or mackerel — is working to hook these predators. Cut baits are ideal too especially for shark 4-6 feet. 

Fishing inshore is providing good action on catch-and-release snook and catch-and-release trout. Both are responding to live shiners as bait.

Gag grouper season is now open, and anglers are targeting shallow-water structure in Tampa Bay to find these fish. Reefs wrecks and bridges are prime spots to start fishing for gags. 

As for offshore fishing, weather has been a factor, although those willing to chance it are being rewarded with American red snapper, red grouper, gag grouper and snappers including mangrove and yellowtail. 

On my Southernaire charters I’m enjoying some good action on catch-and-release snook and trout. For the snook, mangroves shorelines where oyster bars and lush grass exist is proving to be good. Strong tides are also a key factor. As for the trout, deeper grass flats in 6-10 feet of water are the ticket. Most catch-and-release trout catches are 18-22 inches, with some smaller ones mixed in. Mackerel and jack crevalle are in these areas, which provides a good mix of action. Blacktip sharks are around also around and are being caught on chunks of fresh-cut macks. The black tips are measuring 4-6 feet.

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