Spring time fishing around Anna Maria Island is in full swing.
Catch-and-release species such a snook and spotted sea trout are really making their presence known throughout the clear waters of Tampa Bay and its surrounding bodies of water. Mangrove shorelines are showing healthy populations of snook as the three-year closure due to red tide is nearing its end, which should occur in May. The same goes for a spotted seatrout. Respectable numbers of these toothy fish are inhabiting the deeper grass flats in the bay and Intracoastal Waterway. Also, encouraging, is the number of large breeder size trout that are being caught-and-released.
Moving offshore, kingfish are the highlight of the week. Kings 10-30 pounds are being found in depths starting at 30 feet. Free-lining live shiners on a long shank hook is resulting in numerous kingfish bites. Slow trolling with threadfin herring on a stringer rig are also working and are especially effective when trying to cover a large area or trying to locate the school
On my Southernaire charters, I am finding a good pattern by targeting catch-and-release trout and snook on the flats. For the trout, deeper areas of 4-6 feet are yielding many trout 15-20 inches. I am also seeing quite a few exceeding 20 inches, which is promising for future stocks of fish.
As for the snook, casting baits as close to the mangroves as possible, is luring these fish to bite. Most catches are 20-28 inches.
Lastly on cool calmer days, venturing into the Gulf of Mexico is providing some action for my clients on migratory fish such as Spanish mackerel and kingfish.