With the waters of Tampa Bay starting to be clear of red tide, most anglers from Anna Maria Island are venturing to the north in search of some action.
Unfortunately, the waters of Sarasota Bay are not proving to be as fortunate. Red tide blooms from the south are slowly creeping up the Intracoastal Waterway into Palma Sola Bay, therefore any productive fishing is occurring from the Manatee River north to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. In these areas, catch-and-release species — snook, redfish and spotted seatrout — are finding refuge from the toxic waters to the south. This scenario is providing some great fishing despite the circumstances.
Mangrove snapper are flourishing in this clean red tide free water. In certain areas, limits of these tasty fish are being caught just while fishing the flats.
Moving offshore, red grouper are to be the most apparent catch. In fact, limits of these fish are being reported on most offshore fishing excursions. Yellowtail snapper are worth mentioning as they are being caught quite frequently as well. And since amberjack are now back in season, as of August 1, they are being targeted once again. These fish are entertaining on heavy spinning gear as they are known for their unrelenting strength once hooked.
On my own charters, I’m finding plenty of catch-and-release action on snook and spotted seatrout. While targeting the snook against the mangroves, I am seeing some catch-and-release reds being caught.
Fishing areas of slightly deeper grass is yielding many mangrove snapper, which are a welcome sight for clients who wish to have a fish dinner. Limits of the snapper are being caught as a bycatch.