Fishing Report April 1, 2021

No April fools — Anna Maria Island fishers are preparing for some of the best fishing our local waters has to offer. 

As the cold fronts diminish along with the numerous windy days we experienced in March we can expect to see a more consistent weather pattern, warmer water temps and some great fishing. 

Fishing the flats for the catch-and-release trio — snook, redfish and trout — should bust wide open in the weeks to come. I’m already seeing a decent amount of all three species. And, as the water warms and the bait fish gather in the shallows, we should see more fish on the flats. 

Fishing slightly deeper in Tampa Bay and in the Gulf, will also prove to be good, especially for Spanish mackerel.  Along with that macks, ladyfish and jack crevalle are going to be swarming schools of bait fish, which makes them easily to target. 

Moving offshore, kingfish are already patrolling the wrecks, reefs and hard bottom areas. Black fin tuna, cobia and permit are frequently found around offshore wrecks. 

Lastly bottom fishing for snappers and groupers is proving to be quite good and should improve throughout the month of April.

On my Southernaire charters I’m fishing depending on what the weather offers. On calm days with no wind and calm seas, I’m venturing out in the Gulf of Mexico to target kingfish and Spanish mackerel. Both species are cooperating nicely for my clients. Bait offerings of live shiners are quickly being eaten by these high-speed fish. 

Other days, I’m fishing the flats of Tampa Bay for catch-and-release snook and trout. The bite is quite good for either species when the tides are swiftly moving and the water temps are above 70 degrees. There’s also a mix of Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and jack crevalle in Tampa Bay, which are providing good action. 

On the cooler windier days, using shrimp as bait is yielding some sheepshead for my anglers —although most are on the smaller side — as well as some black drum, pompano and catch-and-release redfish.