With mild temperatures and calm waters, Anna Maria Island fishers are out on the water in search of a bite and the beaches of Anna Maria are a great place to start.
Walking the beach in the morning and casting small jigs tipped with shrimp is a good way to find some action. Pompano, black drum and sheepshead are beginning to show along the sandy shorelines as they forage for small crustaceans. You may encounter some ladyfish and jack crevalle, which put up quite a fight when hooked on light spinning gear.
As you walk the beach, cast jigs into the trough between the shoreline and the outer bar. This is a highway for these fish which migrate up and down the shorelines.
If walking isn’t your forte, you can simply stay stationary and make some casts. You won’t cover as much area this way, but you will get casts as fish pass by your location.
Bottom fishing is effective when staying stationary on the beach. Instead of using a jig, simply tie on a fish finder rig consisting of an egg sinker, a swivel, some leader and a hook. This method — when using shrimp— can be quite effective for catching whiting. These fish average 10-15 inches and are considered excellent to eat by many surf casters.
When fishing either method — jigging or bottom fishing —it’s good to have an ample amount of shrimp. Live shrimp are always your best bet, but frozen will work if that’s all you can muster up. And, if you’re lucky enough to have both live and frozen, you might want take the frozen shrimp and break them up in little pieces, take these pieces and chum the water where you are fishing. If the tide is not too strong, the small pieces will get enough scent in the water in the vicinity, which will attract fish.
The best part about beach fishing is it’s quite simple and, at most it requires a casual walk on the beach carrying your rods, jigs, terminal tackle and a few dozen shrimp and a small bucket.
Remember, whether you’re a resident or non-resident you are required to carry a fishing license. And, if you plan on keeping some fish home for dinner make sure you bring a measuring stick to make sure your catch is of legal size.