Spotted seatrout highlight catch this week
Anglers are flocking to the emerald green waters surrounding Anna Maria Island in hopes of enjoying mild temperatures and some excellent fishing.
In the back country, spotted seatrout are making their present known as large schools are taking up residence on the deeper flats as they prepare to spawn. This is your opportunity to hook into some trophy-sized fish as the large females are lurking amongst the smaller males in their reproductive ritual.
Trout in the 24-inch range are being caught as well as a many measuring 18-20 inches. If you’re catching trout for dinner, try to refrain from keeping the big ones as we are in dire need of a boost in numbers of the popular flats fish.
On the shallower flats, snook and redfish are also on the prowl. Fishing the higher tides along mangrove shorelines is advantageous and the addition of oyster bars is always a plus, especially if you’re hoping to find redfish.
Moving off the flats — out to deeper areas where structure such as reefs or wrecks exists — is producing action on Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and jack crevalle.
Finally, anglers fishing nearshore and offshore are seeing larger numbers of kingfish. The large mackerels are proven drag-burners as they can dump 50 yards of line before an angler has a chance to even know what’s happening. Other migratory species, such as cobia and blackfin tuna are being found while offshore — both considered excellent table fair.
On my Just Reel charters, I am frequenting any springtime trout spot, which is paying off well for my clients. Many trout — 18-20 inches — are being caught while free-lining live shiners. In some areas, it’s getting hard to keep bait on the hook — the bite is so frequent.
Random Spanish mackerel are being caught, adding some variety to the bite. Fishing shallow flats is yielding snook and redfish, which are a nice addition after targeting spotted seatrout.