Just Reel Fishing Charters: Anna Maria Island Fishing Report May 23, 2023

Silver kings arrive, other catches still taking the bait

Fishing around Anna Maria Island is proving to be quite good especially with the much anticipated arrival of tarpon as they migrate along the coast in preparation to spawn. Many anglers are dedicating all of their fishing time to target these elusive fish. 

Patrolling the beaches and passes is most favorable when hoping to encounter these prehistoric monsters although many fish can be found in Tampa Bay as well as its smaller neighbor to the south, Sarasota Bay. 

A variety of baits are being used to hook the silver kings including pass crabs, threadfin herring, large shiners, pinfish and shad. And, although live bait is always preferred, don’t be astonished to see anglers using dead baits too, as tarpon can be scavengers if the opportunity presents itself. 

For gear, oversized spinning tackle is the most popular. The largest spinning reel packed with a few hundred yards of heavy braided line combined with a 8- or 9-foot heavy-action spinning rod is ideal. Add eight feet of some 60-pound fluorocarbon with a 6/0 circle hook at the terminal end and you’re in business.

As it is early in the season, large numbers of fish have yet to appear although reports of fish ranging from New Pass to Egmont Key are coming in. These numbers should increase as we approach the full moon in June, which usually is the time when the most fish are present in our local waters.

So, if you haven’t dusted off your tarpon gear, now is the time. Put some fresh line on the spool and make sure your reels are functioning properly as very soon they will be put to the ultimate test of fighting the silver king.

On my Just Reel fishing charters, I’m seeing impressive snook fishing occurring. Morning tallies among anglers are ranging from 20-30 fish being caught and released. 

I’m also seeing redfish in the mix when targeting snook which adds a little variety to the bite. 

Lastly, spotted seatrout are being added to the cooler by anglers wishing to have a fish dinner.