Fishing Report – April 20, 2022

Springtime fishing around Anna Maria Island settles in to be exceptional

With the last of the cold fronts behind us, springtime fishing around Anna Maria Island is settling in to be exceptional. 

The waters are warming and the winds subsiding which is creating the perfect recipe to get out and fish.

Those who fish offshore in the Gulf of Mexico are getting the chance to venture out deep, without contending with rough seas and strong winds. Hopefully anglers have a larger window of opportunity opposed to previous weeks, when only one or two days a week were good for going offshore.

As for inshore fishing, we’ve had many more days to be on the water despite the winds. And now getting around should be more tolerable and the fishing more consistent. With no sudden drops in water temperature and a lack of windy days, the fish should hold in their springtime spots. 

Targeting snook, redfish and trout on the flats should be shaping up to its full potential as we finish out the last weeks of April. Water temps in the mid to upper 70s are ideal for flats species, and they should last until we see the heat of May settles in. 

Other species — mackerel and mangrove snapper — are starting to show up, providing some variety for fishers wishing to give the backcountry fish a break. 

April can be a good month for cobia. So keep your eyes peeled as you travel from one spot to the next. You never know when you might see one of these brown bombers cruising along the surface of the water. Checking inshore structure such as reefs, wrecks and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is wise if you fancy finding a cobia.

Lastly, just get out and enjoy the water while the temperatures are mild and pleasant. Scorching heat is around the corner. So now is the time to get out and enjoy some of the bet fishing our area has to offer.

On my Just Reel charters, I’m spending many days on the lush grass flats of Tampa Bay. Snook fishing is productive on the higher stages of the tide. Live shiners as bait are resulting in many hookups on these popular flats fish. I’m seeing some keeper-size snook being caught and released, although most snook are 20-26 inches. 

Spotted seatrout are following suit, with many catches in a morning charter. A lot of trout are measuring 14-18 inches, with a few over 20 inches for lucky anglers.

I’m seeing redfish here and there, usually being caught while we’re targeting snook along the mangroves.

Lastly, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and jack crevalle are present on the deeper flats, which is adding some variety to the bite. They are very entertaining when caught on medium light spinning gear.