Strong winds, rain and red tide putting a damper on January fishing action
Fishing around Anna Maria Island is requiring some strategy as anglers are fleeing windy days and large areas of water affected by red tide.
With back-to-back cold fronts lowing through our area, fishing is challenging due to strong winds and rain. Although temperatures aren’t dropping much, the other factors can make it difficult to get out on the water. And, with patches of red tide sweeping through our waters, finding the right window of when and where to go fishing is proving to be difficult.
Many anglers are opting to venture into the Gulf of Mexico on days when the seas are calm and winds minimal. Getting out past the reaches of red tide is providing good fishing when targeting migratory and bottom species.
On the windier days, the key is to find areas that are sheltered as well as free of red tide. Fishing residential canals is producing action on a variety of species including redfish, sheepshead, snook and black drum. All are responding to live shrimp as bait.
Some areas of open water on the flats are holding fish as long as the areas have not been recently exposed to red tide. Spotted seatrout are the most apparent species and are responding to artificials such as soft plastics on a jig head.
So, to sum things up, Anna Maria anglers have their work cut out from the for the days to come. Finding clean water is key and picking days where the weather permits being on the water is also a factor. Lastly, you have to find the fish.
On my Just Reel charters, I’m finding myself venturing into the Gulf of Mexico on the calmer days between the fronts.
Finding clean water —free of red tide — is crucial on catching fish. Nearshore ledges and reefs are producing action on sheepshead, snapper, hogfish, porgies and Key West grunts. Live shrimp on a knocker rig is resulting in plenty of action.
On windier days, fishing canals works well for redfish, spotted seatrout and black drum with sheepshead mixed in.
Finally, jigging the flats and passes with shrimp-tipped jigs is leading to pompano.