Fishing Report April 19, 2023

Windy conditions and round seas puts a damper on hot April fishing near Anna Maria Island

With strong winds and rough seas, many anglers around Anna Maria Island are deciding to stay off the water until conditions improve.

In the back country, many areas of water are cloudy due to being stirred up with the intense winds, which can make fishing quite challenging. 

In areas that remain clear, species such as snook and redfish are being caught. Fishing sheltered areas out of the wind seem to produce the best action. 

Spotted seatrout are being caught on deeper flats that are sheltered. Many trout are large as we typically see in April. These large spawning fish are a great opportunity to achieve the goal of catching your all-time biggest trout. Just remember to let them go as they are the key to the future of our fishery. And with the slot being 15-19 inches, most of those larger fish will be saved.

Along with windy conditions, April is known for ushering in an abundance of migratory species — kingfish, Spanish mackerel, cobia and an assortment of sharks. Fishing along the beaches and out to around the 7-mile mark can be advantageous for anglers looking to hook into some strong fighting fish. All the species mentioned can put up quite a battle when hooked on the proper tackle. 

Anchoring and chumming with live baits is a great way to get in on the action. If you’re having trouble locating the fish, you can try slow-trolling live bait to cover more area and increase your chances of a hookup.

On my Just Reel fishing charters, I’m catching many large spotted seatrout while fishing deep grass flats. In fact, most trout are having to be released due to being over the maximum slot-size of 19 inches. You are allowed one over 19 inches on the boat, although I am encouraging anglers to release those fish so they can lay eggs and sure we have a trout fishery in the future. On shallower flats, I’m seeing some catches of snook and redfish. Both are being found around mangrove shorelines where oyster bars are present.