With water temperatures back on the rise, Anna Maria Island angers are finding themselves unable to control the urge to get on the water and enjoy inshore and offshore fishing.
With the clear, emerald green waters of March finally reaching tolerable temperatures on the flats, fishing for snook, redfish and spotted seatrout is shaping up nicely. The same applies for anglers venturing offshore as they are enjoying a variety of species to target including permit, kingfish, blackfin tuna as well as bottom species such as grouper and snapper. Whether you’re in the back country or offshore in the Gulf, the fishing is fixing to get good so plan your schedule accordingly.
On the flats, a couple different techniques are proving successful. Drifting and jigging with soft plastics on a jighead is a great way to cover some water and locate schools of spotted seatrout. You can encounter ladyfish and jack crevalle in the mix which adds extra excitement and mystery to the bite. And, if you have some honey holes to go to, the fish are finally responding to live shiners as bait. Free-lining the baits is sufficient on most days. And, if you’re rigged to free-line shiners, don’t forget to venture onto some of the shallower flats. Both snook and redfish can be found in these areas during the right tides. Casting baits along mangrove shorelines or oyster bars can prove to be deadly for unsuspecting snook and reds creeping the flats in search of a meal.
Moving offshore, wreck fishing and reef fishing will be on the rise in the weeks to come as the Gulf water temps continue to rise. Pelagics such as blackfin tuna and kingfish will be noticeable in these areas. You can also expect to see amberjack and possibly some permit, too. As for bottom fishing red grouper will be a targeted species as well as numerous varieties of snapper.
On my Just Reel fishing charters, I’m seeing spotted seatrout and snook fishing beginning to shape up after the effects of the recent cold front wearing off. Both species are responding to live shiners as bait. On the colder days — just after the front — sheepshead were being caught on live shrimp. I also had redfish in the mix when casting shrimp around docks.