Mild cold fronts interrupt hot fishing action 

Fishing inshore on the lush grass flats surrounding Anna Maria Island is proving to be good for yet another week. Small interruptions of mild cold fronts are causing some off days — which usually occur the day after the front — but consistent fishing is recurring quickly. 

Targeting snook throughout our waters both to the north and south is proving to be as good as it gets. Respectable numbers of under-slot fish can be found along mangrove shorelines, which shows good promise of a future populations of fish. Slot-size snook — those ranging 28 to 33 inches — are also around, although they shadow in comparison to the vast numbers of smaller snook. And, speaking of vast numbers of fish, spotted seatrout are definitely making their presence known. Deeper grass flats where good tidal flow exists are holding encouraging numbers of this popular buck-toothed species. Sizes vary depending on what school you’re on. Many under-sized and slot-size trout—15 to19 inch fish — are available to be caught. Larger fish are being caught frequently, but it’s encouraged to release those big breeder trout so we have ample numbers in the future.

Don’t forget about redfish. Although these fish are slightly more elusive than snook and trout, they are being caught. The elusiveness makes the catch that much more rewarding. Most fish being caught are upper-slot size and over-slot size. The fish ranging 24 to 34 inches put up a fierce battle. Remember to handle these over-slot fish with care and revive them before release.

Moving offshore, the anticipation of the arrival of kingfish is heavy in the air. With numerous windy days and rough seas, getting a true report on kings is tough, but the conditions are right. Captain Jason Stock is finding some well offshore, although the true numbers of fish have yet to arrive. We should see this bite in the very near future so have your wire rigs ready to go as the bite could be any day now. Just pray for some light wind and calm seas.

On my Just Reel charters I am having some great luck fishing the flats of Tampa Bay. Targeting snook is most pleasurable as I’m seeing an abundance of fish. Most are ranging 20 to 26 inches, although some days I’m seeing some slot-size fish, too. While targeting snook, I’m running into some redfish action which is always a welcome sight. Most reds being caught are 25 to 35 inches. 

Lastly, spotted seatrout are rounding out the bite.These fish are voraciously taking baits as fast as I can get them on the hook on some particular flats. Many catches are falling in the slot limit while a few over-slot fish are being located.