Just Reel Fishing Charters: Anna Maria Island Fishing Report March 22, 2023

Wild weather in March creates inconsistent bite

After experiencing a warm February, Anna Maria Island anglers are receiving a reality check for the last two weeks as sudden cold fronts bringing strong winds and chilly waters are settling in.

With water temps dropping more than 10 degrees in a matter of a couple days, the consistency of the bite is suffering to say the least.

But don’t worry, warm weather and better fishing is inevitable as we approach April. Things will get right again as along as we can dodge red tide and any other water quality hazards.

As for fishing in the wind and cooler weather, just keep in mind during these conditions the fish may be harder to find and the ones you do find may not be as aggressive as normal. But that’s O.K. Just be patient and willing to accept the cards you’re dealt.

Spotted seatrout are the most consistent bite if you can find the right flats to fish. If you’re free-lining shiners for the trout on deep flats and not getting bit, try adding a split shot to the rig to get your bait closer to the bottom. Sometime during sudden temperature drops, trout become lazy and won’t chase a bait unless it’s right in front of their face.

As for snook, you may want to wait until later in the day when the waters on the shallow flats have had ample time to reach their highest water temp for the day. Typically, that’s when you’ll find your best snook bite. 

For redfish, fishing around docks and seawalls as well as mangrove edges with oysters is a good bet. Live shrimp or shiners will work as bait for these fish.

On less windy days, venturing offshore is advantageous. Reports of many species are coming in, including yellowtail snapper, red grouper, amberjack, permit and African pompano. The offshore bite can be quite good in March, so if you find some calmer days, you need to seize the moment and get out there.

On my own Just Reel fishing charters, I’m finding the most action while targeting spotted seatrout. Deep grass flats where clean water and swift tides are present is producing the best action. Free-lining live shiners or adding a split shot to the rig is yielding days of 20 or more trout being caught. 

Snook fishing on the flats is going well too, although finding large groups of fish is slightly challenging. Moving the boat frequently is helping to attain an acceptable number of hookups. 

Lastly, I’m finding redfish around docks and on shallow flats while targeting snook.