Fish early morning for cooler air, water temps
Springtime fishing is going strong as Anna Maria Island fishers prepare for fishing in May.
We should start seeing water temperatures climb into the lower 80s as the month progresses which can affect the fishing — especially in the backcountry.
Fishing low-light conditions during morning tides to seize the moment before water temps climb too high will be advantageous. Species such as snook and redfish will be on the prowl during the early morning hours just before and after sunrise.
With water temps slightly cooler in the morning versus the warmer mid-day tides will motivate the shallow-water species to feed. And, as the morning progresses and the sun gets higher in the sky, you may find the need to switch tactics by fishing areas slightly deeper where cooler water temps remain consistent.
In the deeper areas such as deep grass flats, you can find spotted seatrout, Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle and ladyfish.
If you decide to go even deeper you may try the reefs, wrecks and ledges that are present in the nearshore and offshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In these areas, grouper and snapper will be your targeted species.
Bottom fishing around the nearshore reefs and wrecks can produce excellent action on mangrove snapper and you may find migratory species such as Spanish mackerel, kingfish and cobia.
As for the grouper, you’ll probably want to venture further to the reefs. Depths around 100 feet are a good place to start. Both red and gag grouper frequent these depths during the warmer months.
On my Just Reel fishing charters, I’m finding spotted seatrout while fishing the deeper grass flats of Tampa Bay south to Sarasota Bay. Mixed in with the trout are a variety of other fish including Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle, ladyfish and bluefish.
Moving to the shallower flats, I’m seeing a decent number of snook being caught. While casting baits along the mangrove shorelines, hungry snook are darting out from under the branches to attack out baits. While targeting snook I’m also seeing redfish in the mix.