As we approach the full moon fishing around Anna Maria Island is expected to heat up. Light winds in the east combined with some stellar tides should be the perfect recipe for a great day on the water.
Whether you’re fishing offshore or inshore, you should be in store for some excitement. Fishing offshore is yielding many species from bottom dwellers such as groupers and snappers to migratory species such as cobia, blackfin tuna and amberjack. And, to top it off, there have been several whale shark sightings 15-20 miles offshore, so keep your eyes peeled. Generally, if you can find those graceful giants you will likely find some cobia swimming around them.
Moving in shore catch-and-release snook fishing is quite good. You can find these fish on the flats and along the beaches. On the flats, mangrove shorelines — where turtle and eelgrass exist — are producing good action. Look for good tidal flow and water free of Lyngbya, or gumbo, to increase your chances. If you’re targeting snook along the beaches, you should be able to sight cast to them. Live shiners work best for these fish although artificials such as DOA TerrorEyz or a YoZuri pins minnow will attract some attention.
Catch-and-release spotted seatrout are abundant, especially in the deeper grass flats of Tampa and Sarasota Bays. Again, areas with a good tidal flow and free of gumbo are great places to get started. Early morning fishing with a top water plug is productive. As the sun gets higher, switching to live bait is a good bet.
Lastly, patrolling the beaches for schools of tarpon is getting better. Large numbers of fish have yet to arrive, although determined anglers are finding a bite here and there. For bait, live threadfin herring seem to be getting the most action, although live crabs are working in the passes during the outgoing tide.
On my Southernaire charters, I spent the majority of last week trying to hide from the wind. I found plenty of action along the mangrove shorelines of southern Tampa Bay. The most predominant bite has been catch-and-release spotted seatrout. I’m seeing between 20-40 trout a day coming to the boat.
Catch-and-release snook are cooperating, with fish being caught measuring 20-30 inches.
Lastly, catch-and-release redfish are becoming more frequent. The biggest this week was 30 inches.