If you’re planning a backcountry fishing trip in the waters surrounding Anna Maria Island during the month of September, you’ll probably want to bring a raincoat. In fact, some slickers might come in handy, too.
With frequent pop-up thunderstorms you never know when you’re going to get wet. And, they will most likely occur right when the bite is getting good. Most of the showers are brief with some only lasting 10-15 minutes. As long as there’s no lightning, and your bilge pumps are functioning properly, it’s probably wise to wait the storm out.
Those who are willing to wait out the rain are being rewarded with a respectable numbers of catch-and-release snook, redfish and spotted seatrout. Early morning tides seem to be working best, especially when fishing the shallow waters around mangroves and oyster bars. Free-lining live shiners or pinfish in these areas works well.
For those who like slightly more of a challenge, top-water plugs and soft plastics will attract some attention from these fish. If you’re carrying a few top-water plugs in your tacklebox, don’t hesitate to take a few casts over some deeper grass flats for the spotted seatrout. Trout love to blast baits on the surface and if you’re skilled at “walking the dog” you might trick one of them to have a taste. There’s also variety of other species on the deeper grass flats such as ladyfish and jack crevalle. Both of these will gladly crash a top water lure.
Live bait fishing over the deep grass will most likely result in a more consistent hook-up to cast ratio, and if you’re lucky, you might catch a limit of mangrove snapper in between trout bites.
Fishing structure is usually the best plan when searching for the snapper, but when they are on the deep grass they tend to take baits fairly frequently as they are there to feed.
Lastly, speaking of structure, the snapper are available for the taking in these areas. Mixed in are Spanish mackerel and many jack crevalle. Artificial reefs, wrecks and rock piles should hold these fish until the next moon.
On my Southernaire charters, I’m seeing numerous catch-and-release spotted seatrout coming to the hook. Mornings of 30-40 trout are occurring — keeping my anglers busy. Mixed in are ladyfish, jack crevalle, bluefish and Spanish mackerel.
Catch-and-release snook fishing is still quite good. Fishing swift moving tides is key to getting on a good bite. I’m also seeing a few redfish mixed in while targeting the snook.