Just Reel Fishing Charters: Anna Maria Island Fishing Report February 1, 2022

Find shelter to avoid wind, catch fish

With winds of 13-20 m.p.h. seem to be the “new norm” fishers around Anna Maria Island are trying to find sheltered areas to fish.

Fishing around mangrove islands in the back bays works to get out of the wind and catch fish.

Fishing in canals and marinas also is an option to escape the wind although this generally requires a smaller boat as the navigable waters can be confined. 

Casting live shrimp — free-lined or on a weighted rig — is leading to most of the action. You can expect to catch black drum, redfish and sheepshead — and possibly snook on the warmer days. 

Using artificials isn’t out of the question either. Lures such as soft plastics on a jig head tend to work well during the cooler months. Just remember to work your lure slowly.

On calmer days, venturing into the Gulf of Mexico is still a good bet. Fishing reefs, wrecks and ledges can yield a plethora of species including hogfish, sheepshead, mangrove snapper and Key West grunts. Add a few porgies and triggerfish to the mix and you have quite a fish fry in your immediate future. 

And travelling offshore in excess of 20 miles or more is resulting in amberjack, red grouper and African pompano. All of these species will test the stamina of even the most seasoned angler.

On my Just Reel charters, I’m battling with the wind just like everyone else on the water. Fishing canals is working well for a variety of fish including sheepshead, mangrove snapper, redfish and black drum. Live shrimp on a 1/2-ounce knocker rig is attracting these fish to bite. 

In sheltered areas of Sarasota Bay where the water is clear and tidal flow is good, I’m catching many spotted seatrout on DOA CAL jigs. Drifting and jigging is leading to concentrations of these fish at which point the anchor is dropped so we can catch a bunch. Once the bite is over it time to commence to drifting again until the next school of trout are found.