Fish morning, evening to stay out of the heat and get on the best bite

Fishing around Anna Maria Island is getting hot as we approach the middle of June. With temperatures reaching the mid 90s, fishing early morning or evening is in your best interest. 

Mid-day fishing is still productive if you’re willing to brave the heat, although the morning bite and evening bite are slightly better — and cooler. 

Fishing the flats for catch-and-release snook is getting better and better as these fish are massing in staging areas in preparation of their spawn — and they’re eating heavily, too. They need to pack on the pounds, so to speak, to have some energy reserves when it comes time to spawn. Free-lined shiners just about always work as bait, although live pinfish and even some cut baits are working on occasion. 

If you’re feeling sporty, try some artificials such as DOA Cal jigs or maybe a MirrOlure 84MR topwater plug and you just might get a surprise. There’s nothing better than seeing a big snook blast a top water lure. Pure adrenaline. 

Spotted seatrout are showing in good numbers throughout the grass flats of Tampa and Sarasota Bays. And the same scenario applies with these fish, too. Live shiners are great as bait but artificials will get the job done, too. And the trout are even more apt than the snook to bite a lure. So, the odds are in your favor. 

Those targeting tarpon are experiencing a slight lull in the action due to the combination of the full moon in June and the rough seas we experience last week from Tropical Storm Cristobal. Rain and rough seas has murked up the waters where the tarpon like to frolic. Plus, the full moon in June usually triggers a majority of these fish to head offshore and get down to business. After their spawn they will return and when they do, they’ll be hungry. So be ready for more sizzling tarpon action in the near future.

Lastly, the offshore species are cooperating nicely for those willing to venture into 100-plus feet of water. American red snapper are behaving true to form eating everything that crosses in front of their noses. Gag grouper are also biting as long as you can get past the American red snapper. Amberjack are enjoying the closure of their harvest but are still providing ample action on heavy spinning gear. 

And finally, venturing out to offshore wrecks is worthy of spotting a few permit sunning themselves on the surface. 

On my Southernaire charters I am enjoying a fantastic catch-and-release snook bite. In areas where tidal flow is swift these linesiders are hitting baits seconds after they hit the water. Most catches are falling 20-26 inches, although slot-sized fish seem to be more frequent than normal. Morning charters are tallying snook catches of 30-40 fish. 

Catch-and-release spotted seatrout are cooperating nicely for my clients. Deeper grass flats where clean, clear water exists seems to be the best. These fish seem to be ranging in all sizes this week. Some are big and some are not. 

Mixed in with the trout are jacks, bluefish, ladyfish and mackerel which adds a nice variety to the bite. It also keeps my anglers on their toes because they never know what to expect.

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