Fishing Report April 13, 2022

Cold fronts bring windy days, cooler temps

Springtime fishing around Anna Maria Island is proving to be a windy affair as we move into the second week of April. 

Numerous cold fronts from the north are sweeping down to our area bringing windy days and some slightly milder temperatures than we are used to here in the south. 

Although the milder temperatures — ranging in the 70s — are quite welcome, the wind that accompanies them is not. At least from a fishers standpoint. 

But, don’t be discouraged as there are plenty of inshore waters in our area that are fishable on even the most windy of days.

Fishing close to mangrove shorelines in sheltered areas is working quite well to get a bite. Luckily for us, snook and redfish call these areas home, which make them targetable on the days when the wind is blowing. 

Getting to some of these areas in the boat may pose a challenge to some anglers, but for those willing to brave some rough water to get to these areas, the reward is plentiful. Many snook are being found throughout our local waters. In fact, the numbers of snook measuring 20-24 inches is quite encouraging for the future of our fishery.

Redfish are being found in decent numbers, although not anywhere near the abundant numbers of snook. Spotted seatrout, another popular backcountry fish, are also proving to be abundant. Fishing slightly deeper flats from the mangrove shorelines is proving to provide some excellent action on these fish. On some flats, the trout are being caught as fast as the angler can get a bait in the water. And, on the deeper grass flats, other species including Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle and ladyfish are being caught alongside the trout. These fish add a nice variety to the bite.

On calmer days, adventurous anglers are migrating offshore to target a variety of species. Although opportunities to fish offshore are slightly limited due to many windy days, those determined to go are being rewarded with catches of permit, snappers, kingfish and amberjack.

On my own Just Reel charters, I’m finding the flats fishing to be quite good despite the numerous windy days we are experiencing. Snook fishing is proving to be as good as it gets with many days resulting in 20-30 catch-and-release size snook on a morning charter. I’m also seeing some keeper-size fish being caught and released. These larger, slot-sized fish, measuring 28-33 inches, are always a thrill for anglers to catch on medium-light spinning gear. While targeting snook, I’m also seeing some redfish being caught. Most catches are in the upper-slot or over-slot range, measuring 25 to 35 inches. 

Lastly, the spotted seatrout bite is simply fantastic. Limits of these fish are attainable, although catch-and-release is encouraged. These fish do seem to reproduce quite rapidly so keeping a few for a meal is also an option. While targeting trout, I’m also seeing some large Spanish mackerel being caught as well as some jacks and ladyfish.