Move offshore to deeper water for action during hot August days
By Capt. Danny Stasny
Just Reel Fishing Charters
Fishing the offshore waters west of Anna Maria Island is proving to remain consistent for yet another week. Anglers in search of a fish dinner are wise to venture into the depths in search of a bite.
American red snapper season is over for recreational anglers but commercial charter vessels have until August 15. So, if you haven’t gotten your fill you still have time to book a trip to catch some of the most fierce of snappers.
Other species such as red grouper and gag grouper are also being caught while offshore. Live pinfish or frozen sardines are working well for any of these fish. Mangrove and yellowtail snapper are apparent while fishing offshore and reefs, wrecks and ledges are good places to find these fish. Chumming isn’t a bad idea either once you’ve picked your fishing location.
Pelagics such as wahoo, kingfish and mahi are also being reported by captains working offshore. Trolling or freelining live baits are working for these high-speed fish.
Moving inshore, fishing is slightly more challenging. Spotted seatrout are apparent over some of the deeper grass flats in southern Tampa Bay. Freelining live shiners is working well to catch the trout, but finding keeper-size trout in the 15-19 inch slot-limit is proving to be difficult — even on mornings where 30 or 40 trout are caught.
You’ll also encounter some Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and mangrove snapper while freelining shiners over deep grass flats. On some days the mangrove snapper are quite abundant making catching multiple limits of them attainable for the boat. While inshore catch-and-release snook fishing is another option. Free-lining live shiners works well when fishing during swift moving tides over grass flats adjacent to mangroves or oyster bars. Targeting the linesiders during the early morning hours just after sunrise is also a good bet.
Lastly targeting shark along the beaches of Anna Maria Island, Passage and Egmont Keys is proving to be entertaining for anglers hoping to pull on a big fish.
On my own Just Reel charters I am seeing quite a few spotted seatrout being caught while free-lining live shiners over the deep grass flats. Keeper-size trout are a little sporadic but are being caught. Mixed in are some mangrove snapper, ladyfish and mackerel. On some days limits of snapper are being caught. Fishing shallow along the mangroves is proving to be good to catch a few snook although with the vast abundance of pinfish on the flats required accurate casting and a little luck to get hooked up.
Lastly, shark fishing along the beaches with fresh-cut mackerel is resulting in blacktip sharks measuring 4-6 feet.