Fishing Report September 20, 2023

Wading low tides around sunset is perfect combo for flats fishing hookups

With the temperatures still hovering in the mid 90s, Anna Maria Island are finding themselves fishing low-light conditions to beat the heat and enjoy shallow water action. 

Fishing low tides that bottom out just after sunset can be quite productive in the month of September, and your chance arrives during the week of September 25.

Tides corresponding with sunset present opportunities to encounter tailing redfish, schooley snook and maybe even a gator trout or two, if you’re lucky. 

Wading the flats and casting is essential — this means you’ll have to get out of the boat for hookups. 

Shallow flats adjacent to channel edges or deep sandy potholes are prime territory for predatory fish to lie in wait for a tasty morsel to unexpectedly drift by. 

And, speaking of morsels some select live shrimp can be great bait. Soft plastics on a jig head are quite deadly, if you know how to work them. 

The most important aspect to wade fishing is being quiet and watching the water around you.

It’s quite pleasing when you see that first redfish tail ever so slightly stick out of the glassy calm water silhouetted in the evening sun. 

And it’s even better when you make the right cast, and the water erupts as a redfish violently devours your bait. 

Or when you hear that distinct sound a snook makes when they eat a bait near the surface. You scan the surface of water until you discover the remnants of the swirl made by the snook. Another cast and the fight ensues as the snook travels out of its hole and into barely a foot of water which covers the shallow flat causing a wake. 

The blue herons and other wading birds spook from the excitement and fly further away to observe the excitement from a safe distance. 

And then it’s dark out. 

Blind casting is the only option now, so it’s time to go home. 

It’s time to enjoy the cool breeze, as it gently pours off the Gulf and into the backcountry, and you have the satisfaction of knowing you beat the heat and still caught fish.