Action inshore, offshore as summer officially begins

Amongst the rumors of red tide and large masses of Lyngbya in the waters surrounding Anna Maria Island, local and visiting anglers are managing to catch some fish. In fact, the fishing is quite good.
Offshore fishing remains on center stage, with numerous reports of gag grouper being caught. American red snapper are taking the hook with limits being brought back to the docks daily. Other snappers — mangroves and yellowtail — are being accommodating, quickly eating baits as they reach the bottom. Red grouper are being found while bottom fishing, as well as some true black grouper.
Moving inshore, catch-and-release snook fishing is dominating the flats bite. Casting baits around mangroves and oyster bars is working great. Also, sight casting to fish along the gulf beaches is providing some enjoyable fishing.
Catching fish for dinner is occurring while fishing deeper grass flats in Tampa Bay. Spotted seatrout are the most apparent, although mangrove snapper are just beginning to make a showing on the flats.
Redfish are being caught in the same areas as the catch-and-release snook when fishing the flats. You can also expect these reds while fishing structures such as piers and docks. Using live shrimp as bait at the Rod & Reel Pier is a good place to start.
Lastly, fishing structure such as wrecks and reefs in Tampa Bay is resulting in some Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper.
On my own charters, I am enjoying the catch-and-release action on snook in Tampa Bay. Using live shiners as bait is resulting in many snook measuring 20-26 inches. Larger fish in the slot are being caught frequently by lucky anglers. Spotted seatrout are rounding out the bite with most catches falling in the slot of 15-19 inches. Limits of these fish are attainable.
I’m also seeing some mangrove snapper showing up on the flats which is encouraging. When these fish get on the flats it’s rewarding to add them to the cooler. And when these snapper get on the flats you know what time it is — time to start using hatch bait.
Lastly, I’m picking up some redfish along the mangroves, but the bite is sporadic. They mainly are being caught while targeting snook.

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