Inshore trio — snook, redfish and trout — bite heat up as tarpon arrive

Inshore fishing for the inshore trio — snook, redfish and trout — is in full swing around Anna Maria Island as we near summertime. Fishing the flats in Tampa Bay is producing good catch-and-release action for snook and spotted seatrout. Catch-and-release redfish are also available, although their numbers don’t equal the amount of snook and trout being caught. Fishing morning incoming tides is proving to work well, as long as the tides are swift. Slower tides and a half moon phases are not quite as good, although catching fish is still attainable. 

If targeting this inshore trio, be sure to know the new regulations for snook, redfish and spotted seatrout. Starting June 1, the following changes will take place. For Tampa Bay and any waters north of Manatee Avenue, normal regulations will resume for snook and redfish. As for the spotted seatrout the regulations are as follows. The daily bag limit is three trout per person and the slot is 15-19 inches. For waters south of State Road 64 or Manatee Avenue, snook and redfish will remain closed to harvest through May 31, 2022. Spotted seatrout harvest will resume with a six fish recreational vessel limit. These fish must fall 15-19 inches. For more information on these updates, visit http://myfwc.com.

The hot topic though — the most anticipated bite in May is finally occurring. 

Yes, you guessed it. 

It’s Tarpon season again. 

These numbers of fish are being reported along the beaches of Egmont Key, Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. Numerous schools are fish are being sighted within a mile of the beaches. In fact, I’m seeing quite a few fish in the flats of Tampa Bay in the Manatee River. Keep in mind, the river fish tend to be smaller juveniles. If your intent is to catch a monster, you should be patrolling those beach fish in the Gulf of Mexico.

On my Southernaire charters, catch-and-release fishing for snook and trout is quite productive. Most trout catches are 14-22 inches. As for the snook, I’d say 18-30 inches is the size range being hooked. I am also seeing some catch-and-release redfish mixed in as I am targeting the snook. Morning incoming tides are producing the best action. Finding areas free of Lyngbya —or gumbo as we call it— is imperative on finding a good bite. The cleaner the water, the better.

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