Fishing in September around Anna Maria Island can be quite productive despite a variety of weather extremes. Anglers willing to toss the dice can be rewarded with some exceptional fishing.
It’s typically really hot and humid in September, and when it’s not, that means it’s raining. But, if you can find a window of opportunity you should try and seize the moment. In the extreme heat it’s best to fish early morning hours. Usually the fish react best right after the sunrise until about noon. If there is cloud cover, or even a light rain, you can stretch the bite a little longer. Water temps will remain cooler throughout the day, which may keep the fish motivated to eat. This scenario plays primarily for anglers fishing the flats. The offshore anglers don’t have to deal with this as much, as they have the luxury of finding deeper water where temperatures remain moderate which keeps fish comfortable and hungry.
If you’re on the flats, catch-and-release snook action remains good during the morning hours. While targeting the snook, you can also plan on seeing some catch-and-release redfish in the mix. And, there’s plenty of mangrove snapper present on the flats, which creates a great opportunity to put a few fish in the cooler for dinner.
As the morning progresses and the shallow flats begin to heat up, you may notice the bite slowing down. If this happens, try moving to some deeper grass flats, where a good tidal flow exists. These areas will remain slightly cooler, allowing you to find more action. Catch-and-release spotted seatrout will be the likely culprit on these deeper flats. You can find ladyfish, jack crevalle and even some Spanish mackerel in these areas. If you haven’t caught your limit of mangrove snapper yet you’ll probably achieve that here.
As the day progresses and gets hotter you can move deeper in the bay to the artificial reefs, wrecks and rock piles. In these areas, flounder, snapper and juvenile gag grouper should keep you busy until finally the heat is too much for you to stand. Then it’s time to get the boat moving, cool off in the breeze and drink some cold water as you head back to the dock to fillet some snapper and hopefully flounder, too.