The arrival of tarpon is creating quite a buzz among local and visiting anglers near Anna Maria Island.
Respectable numbers of silver kings are making a showing along the Gulf beaches of Anna Maria Island and Longboat and Egmont Keys.
Most anglers hunting tarpon are opting to use live crabs or threadfin herring as bait, although having a few hand-sized pinfish or large shiners in the bait well is a smart move. Tarpon can get finicky at times, so having a variety of baits is always advantageous. Reports coming in are of catches ranging 60 to 100 pounds, although fish in the 150-pound class are not unheard of.
Moving to the backcountry, targeting snook is going quite well. Many snook are staging on the flats in preparation to begin migrating to the beaches to spawn. In some of the staging areas for snook, I’m seeing respectable numbers of fish congregating. In these areas, you’ll find many snook measuring 20-26 inches. These snook are the most apt to take a bait. Larger fish are also present in these areas, although they are not as abundant as the smaller ones, and they’re also a lot smarter so don’t be discouraged if they snub their nose at your bait.
Patience and determination is a must when hunting big snook. With luck you may convince a large fish to eat your bait.
Also on the flats, redfish are being caught by casting baits up close to the mangrove shorelines. Lucky anglers are stumbling across schooling reds in open water on occasion. These fish are very apt to eat a bait as they become competitive when bunched together in large numbers. Just be careful not to spook them as they will quickly move off the flat and venture into deeper water where they are extremely hard to find again.
Moving offshore, wreck fishing is the highlight this past week. Blackfin tuna and amberjack are being caught frequently. Casting live shiners in these areas is resulting in great action on medium heavy spinning gear. And don’t forget to have a few live crabs in the bait well in the event that you come across some permit forging close to the surface over the wreck.
Bottom fishing around ledges is proving to be good especially for mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper and red grouper.
On my Just Reel charters, I am witnessing some of the best snook fishing I’ve seen all year. Mornings resulting in 30 to 40 snook are not uncommon. Casting live shiners along mangrove shorelines is working best for my clients. The higher the tide, the further back in the bushes you need to cast your bait. I’m also seeing redfish caught while targeting snook.
Lastly, spotted seatrout are being caught on the deeper grass flats.