Mangrove snapper invade inshore, offshore waters
With hordes of mangrove snapper invading the inshore and nearshore waters surrounding Anna Maria Island, you can bet most anglers are bringing home limits of the tasty fish.
Fishing in the passes during the slower stages of the tide works well to achieve your limit of 5 fish per person per day.
Bottom rigs baited with live shiners seems to be the most effective method of attack, although chumming also works. Chumming the waters not only works to attract the mangrove snapper to the boat, other species such as Spanish mackerel, bonito and ladyfish fall victim to the chum and are susceptible to being caught on a free-lined bait. And don’t be surprised to encounter a cobia while chumming as their curiosity always gets the best of them.
With the snapper fishing being so good, you may find yourself limiting out quickly which leaves you wondering what else to do for the morning of fishing you had planned.
Spotted seatrout are your next best bet. Many of the deep grass flats of Tampa and Sarasota Bays are holding schools of trout. The size of the trout will depend on what flats you fish and what schools of fish are gathered there. You may find certain flats are loaded with trout 15-16 inches, while other flats are holding fish in the 12-inch range.
That being said, some perseverance is required to find the bigger fish unless of course, you just luck into the right school.
Lastly, it’s time to start keeping your eyes peeled for schools of redfish gathering on the shallow grass flats. Once spotted, these fish can be quite spooky so be gentle in your approach.
Using artificials such as gold spoons can be a great option as these lures can be cast quite a distance enabling anglers to stay away from fish and not potentially spook the whole school. These schools have potential to hold some large fish in the upper-slot range as well as over-slot fish so be prepared for a battle.