Just Reel Fishing Charters: Anna Maria Island Fishing Report November 22, 2023

Anna Maria anglers thankful for fall bite


With the fall bite in full swing, Anna Maria Island anglers are enjoying getting out into the water to target migratory fish such as Spanish mackerel, kingfish and bonito.

Although experiencing a string of windy days, most anglers are determined to get out there despite moderately rough seas and a few rainstorms. 

Anchoring and chumming with live shiners is proving to be effective, although some anglers are opting to slow troll with live threadfin herring or artificial baits such as spoons and lipped plugs. 

Kings in the 20-pound range are being reported as well as many in to 10-15 inch range. As for the mackerel and bonito they are ranging averaging sizes. 

Be prepared for shark encounters while targeting the kings, macks and bonito as they are a favorite meal for blacktip and spinner sharks.

Moving inshore, snook, redfish and spotted seatrout are being found throughout the backcountry. Live shiners as bait while working the flats is your best bet. If you’re fishing docks and canals, try live shrimp. The reds go crazy for a live fat shrimp dropped in front of their noses.

Finally, fishing offshore ledges and reefs is yielding plenty of species including Key West grunts, mangrove snapper and a few hogfish. Live shrimp is the bait of choice for most anglers as the shrimp will attract the hogfish to the hook.

Jim Malfese at the Rod & Reel Pier says he’s seeing good action on migratory fish such as Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle and ladyfish. The best bite is occurring when large bait schools gather around the pier. Pier fishers casting silver spoons, speck rigs or Gotcha plugs are getting the best results. 

Switching over to live shrimp as bait also is producing action. Anglers casting shrimp under the pier around the pilings are hooking into several species including black drum, redfish and sheepshead. Anglers wishing to take home a fish dinner are quite happy to see any of these fish on the end of the line as all of them are quite good on the plate. 

Lastly, reports of keeper snook being caught on the pier are popping up here and there. Anglers using larger baits such as pinfish or small ladyfish are getting the best action.