Keep your eye on the sky, radar for days of safe, dry fishing
If you are going to fish around Anna Maria Island in September, make sure you bring a raincoat.
Numerous pop-up thunderstorms are the norm, and at times, can be quite intense so being prepared and knowledgeable about the weather is key when attempting to get out on the water for a day of fishing.
Checking the local radar is always helpful, although with storms that develop quickly, your best bet is keeping a watchful eye on the skies.
Heavy rain, strong winds and lightning can sure take a good day of fishing and turn it into a bad experience if you get stuck in a squall while out on open water.
Many times these thunderstorms are brief so it’s as easy as getting somewhere where there is shelter, and taking a break from fishing for 15-20 minutes. Usually by then the storm has passed and you can commence to fishing. Water spouts are frequent in September, so watch out for those developing, too.
Speaking of fishing keep in mind the temporary ban on the harvest of snook and redfish — south of State Road 64 — has been lifted. Also, the vessel limit of six trout has been lifted and will resume to its normal limit of three trout per person per day measuring 15-19 inches, with one trout in the boat over 20 inches.
Snook are now in season and the size and bag limit remains the same.
A modification has been made for the regulations for redfish. The size is still 18-27 inches with a bag limit of one per person per day. The change in the law is the implementation of a two fish boat limit. That means only two redfish can be in possession on the boat at any one time.
For more information on these regulations you can visit myfwc.com.
On my Just Reel fishing charters, I am seeing plenty of mangrove snapper being caught while fishing structure in Tampa Bay. Most catches are 12-14 inches, although some are being caught up to 18 inches.
In the same areas as the snapper are Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and some jack crevalle, which adds variety to the bite. On the flats, I’m finding snook to be most accommodating for my clients. Fishing mangroves shorelines is best for the linesiders and I am seeing a few reds mixed in on this bite. Spotted sea trout are cooperating on the deeper flats during swift tides. They seem to be moving around a lot so locating them can be tricky.
Lastly, shark fishing in the mouth of Tampa Bay is proving to be productive.