2016) April is one of my favorite months to fish. Many species are chewing hard. Bait has been easy to get for a couple of months. Snook, trout and redfish are my main targets. Some very big ones have been landed. Mackeral have invaded Anna Maria, providing for some exciting fishing opportunities.
2013Fishing this past week out of Island Discount Tackle at Keyes Marina on beautiful Anna Maria island has finally seen the Spring time pattern blossom with many signs of spectacular fishing ahead.
The number one indicator of Spring is the arrival of shiners on the flats . On my recent charters we have been having exciting rallies snook and redfish . The Brown family had a Wednesday afternoon charter and brought home 4 nice slot sized redfish for the dinner table and also battled many catch and release snook. The key to our success was having enough shiners to chum with and fire up the bite.
Tortilla Bay owner Perry Pittman, fishing Tuesday with friends also had a exciting day catching on the water. The group landed snook redfish, speckled trout and mackerel .Their fillets wound up as fish tacos for the group to enjoy.
On the near shore scene the fish have moved in with ferocious appetites and aggressive feedings. Kingfish, Spanish mackerel ,big sharks and cobia are being caught at the the 1 mile reef.Have a shark rig ready for some drag screaming action on the many 6ft sharks swimming with the bait schools. Gag grouper are being caught in water as shallow as 15ft and 100yards off the beach . Looking forward the Spring time fishing pattern will only get better as more and more baits flood our area waters.
2012Fishing out of Anna Maria island on my 23 foot HydraSport, the springtime fishing pattern has reached its apex with many fish catching opportunities available. On the inshore scene, the speckled trout bite has been red hot. Moving water is the key to successful fishing. We have been limiting out of trout on my charters the last few weeks .Redfish have been feeding aggressively on the moving tides especially the incoming tides around the full moon that we just had. The reds have been chewing on big shiners tossed into the potholes and along the mangroves . A tactic I use to keep the birds from attacking the chummers is to give the chummers a squeeze and release the baits right next to the boat and not to toss them high in the air. It will take a few minutes to get the chum baits away from your boat and draw the predators close to your boat. Snook have been around but not in the numbers of years past. My charters have been catching bigger snook and a releasing them after a picture or 2.
Fishing off the beach and the near shore reefs has been exciting and action packed when the wind cooperates and blows from the east. Oversized Spanish mackerel have been burning up reels with non stop action. Kingfish are mixed in with the Spanish mackerel . Filling your live well with lots of shiners and using them to chum will get the party started. Cobia have made a nice showing around the artificial reefs too. Have a heavy rod ready to toss a nice lively bait and hold on as a battle with a brown bomber will ensue .
Looking forward ,the tides will be ok next week as we will have an incoming tide to fish in the mornings. The spring bite is on fire and now is the time to get you a nice mess of fish for the dinner table .
2011On the inshore scene, the speckled trout bite has been red hot. Moving water is the key to successful fishing. We have been limiting out of trout on my charters this week. Redfish and snook have been scattered. Fish the potholes close to the mangroves to get these elusive fish. Near shore fishing off the beach has been exciting and action packed when the wind cooperates and blows from the east. Oversized Spanish mackerel have been burning up reels with non stop action. Kingfish are mixed in with the Spanish mackerel tight to the beach. Filling your livewell with lots of shiners and using them to chum will get the party started. Now is the best time of year for fishing in Manatee County 2010)Finally Spring is coming to Anna Maria with warmer weather and different fishing choices. Mackerel, Trout, and Redfish have been feeding heavily as the warm weather moderates temperatures.Shiners have finally made it to the flats. Cobia have made a showing off the beaches.
Mr.Gilchrist with a Whopper Sheep Head
2016) This has been a great month so far. Bait has been easy to get and the fish are cooperating. The trout bite has been extra hot this year, with plenty over 20 inches. Redfish has picked up with 10+ pound fish being landed this month. Snook are a lot of fun to catch because of the way they jump out of the water when they fight. Tarpon are beginning to show up and sharks have been chewing hard!
2013)The inshore trinity ,snook,speckled trout, and redfish have been very active on the moving water ,providing for some drag screaming action and some nice bags of fillets for the dinner table.
Speckled trout schooled up around the full moon and were very cooperative feeding on shiners . We have had no trouble getting enough slot fish to chew and provide for some steady action and tasty fillets. "Gator" trout were mixed in with the schoolies . Speckled trout are all over the bay in a variety of water depths. If you are looking for some easy dinner fillets ,go chase speckled trout.
Redfish have been cooperating with some big over slot fish landed. Mike Osborn of Essex England hooked a 32" redfish after the redfish inhaled a large shiner rigged on a 1/0 owner circle hook under a popping cork while fishing in 3ft of water .After taking a few photos ,his biggest fish landed in his lifetime was released to fight another day . Finding redfish that have not been worked over by other fisherman has been the key to finding the big ones.
Snook are one a tear and feeding heavily as they slowly move out of the backwaters and toward the passes to begin their spawning .The long closure on harvesting snook has resulted in a lot more big ones on the flats .Hopefully we can look for the FWC to open the season this Fall.
May is one of my favorite times of the year to fish there are so many choices of fish to catch.
2012The Fishing out of Anna Maria on my 23ft tower boat this past week has been steady and exciting with some nice catches landed by my clients. The Spring to Summer transition has hit its apex with many opportunities for catching a nice creel on the water.
Speckled trout are feeding heavily in the shallow waters of Tampa bay. A nice lively shiner rigged on a 2/0 hook with 3 ft of 25-30lb fluorocarbon leader is my rig of choice for these fine tasting fish. The speckled trout have been in 1-6ft of water. I like to concentrate my fishing on the edges of drop offs and in the potholes along the flats.Use a dehooker to release the fish and protect the slime coat.
Redfish are on the flats, in potholes ,and in the bushes at high tide. Use a popping cork to draw attention to your lively shiner. Some big schools of redfish are feeding when the tide is on the move.
Snook are starting to feed heavily as they prepare to migrate to the beaches in preparation of their spawning season. Although snook numbers are down ,my clients have been landing some nice snook 30" long. Shiners work fine for these linesiders. For a trophy snook switch to dead bait like threadfin ,ladyfish, mullet or a shiner and mash the bait so the smell spreads . Use a circle hook and leave the rigged pole in the pole holder . Big snook are lazy and will readily hit dead bait thrown into a white sand pothole.
Looking forward the tarpon are invading our waters and will only increase in numbers as the summer progresses. Mullet,pinfish,big shiners,threadfins, and crabs are some of the baits the Silver King will chew on . Patience and a lot of luck will hook you up to these formable foes. The new moon will bring big tidal movements and stimulate the fishing action .Until next week , tight lines and fair breezes.
2011The heat of Summer , the white butterflies , and the Silver King , tarpon, have arrived on the waters of Anna Maria Island and Tampa bay. June is prime Tarpon time and the schools of fish have made a strong showing around our waters. On the backwater scene , speckled trout are still biting and continue to be the go to fish for fun ,action,and dinner. Fish the drop offs along grassy areas and in 5-8 ft of water using shiners to entice these beautiful fish to chew. .
Shark fishing is also kicking into high gear. Blacktips ,lemons ,spinners bonnet heads and bull sharks are coming to the party . Use a couple of chum blocks hung over the side to draw these apex predators to your lines. Cut up ladyfish, mullet and other fish will be to the sharks liking. Be careful when landing these bruisers and use a long handle release tool to keep your fingers and hands safe 2010)
The Summer time fishing pattern is in full swing with Megalops Alanticus (Tarpon) taking the Main Stage. The Tarpon have shown up strong off the beaches, in the passes, and the Skyway bridge. For the beaches a quiet approach to the pods of fish is imperative. Use a trolling motor and use the wind and current to get into position to get present a bait to the fish. Pulling up to the fish with the outboard running will shut the bite down. This weekend ,strong outgoing tides will mean the tarpon are loading up in the passes. On Wednesday ,we jumped 6 fish on a strong outgoing . The bait of choice was crabs and threadfins .
Speckled trout continue to bite feverously on moving water . Shiners hooked in the pectoral area have triggered the most strikes. Fish the drop-off of flats and the intercostals waterway for some fun and lively action.Big over slot redfish have moved into Tampa bay . Follow the schools from the flats into the mangroves as the tide is incoming and then vice versa as the tide drops.
A Father and Son Fun Day
2016) The snook bite this year has been phenomenal. Two hours of non stop action with over-slot fish mixed in with the schoolies has been the norm. Tarpon have invaded the area and are providing lots of opportunities to catch these big fish. Chumming for tarpon provides site fishing opportunities as they school behind the boat to feed on the chum.
2014) Fishing this past week out of Island Discount Tackle at Keyes Marina on Anna Maria island has been steady with some red hot action mixed in. Speckled trout ,redfish and snook have been feeding when the current has been moving .
Speckled trout have been the go to fish for some fillets for the dinner table and exciting action on the flats of Tampa bay . Many gator trout were landed this past week on my recent charters. A lively shiner rigged on a 1/0 hook with 30lb fluorocarbon leader under a popping cork has drawn many of these snaggle toothed predators to the dinner table. Make the old school bobbers pop and gurgle and the bait to flash to draw the strikes .
Redfish have been in smaller schools and cruising the the edges of flats and in the potholes. Chumming with shiners will draw strikes from these copper belly bruisers and fire up the bite. Look for the redfish to follow the tide up into the bushes as the tide works towards high water and conversely as the tide drops the fish will stage on the drop offs of the flats. Snook have been off the beaches and close to passes as they spawned this past full moon .Look for the snook to be in pods just off the beach shoreline in the first trough .
Looking forward the tide will be high in the early afternoon and should provide for some excellent fishing next week . Tarpon are making a strong showing off the beaches and in Tampa bay. Look for the tarpon bite to explode in the coming weeks as more of the schools silver kings invade our waters. Until next week , keep the slack out of your line and learn to feel the thump of the predator inhaling your bait.
2012)This past week fishing out of Anna Maria island had been good and steady with a variety of fish landed on my 23ft tower boat. The wind played a major role in dictating what and where I took my charters this past week.
Due to the high winds on Tuesday and Wednesday I fished the inshore areas of Tampa Bay and had success with speckled trout and some slot sized snook . Shiners were the bait of choice . The heat of the Summer has driven the Speckled trout out of the shallow water and into water 4-10ft deep. Look for the grass beds in 4-10 ft of water to find the schools of these tasty treats . Snook are making their move to the beaches and passes getting ready to spawn .My clients were able to land 2 fish in the 30+inch club. Strong West winds played havoc with the beach effectively shutting down tarpon fishing due to the rough seas for the first part of the week.
On Thursday as the winds died down , I was able to take my daughter Sarah Howard and my sister, Cindy McClure out for a morning of tarpon fishing . The fish were on a chew and we were able to put 7 Silver Kings in the air and released 3. The megalops atlanticus is one of the strongest and powerful fish that swims the ocean. I like to use a 5/0 or 6/0 owner circle hook rigged on 60lb or 80lb fluorocarbon leader with 50lb power pro for my main line. A long spinning rod with plenty of back bone will help subdue these shiny apex predators in a timely manner. Remember to put maximum pressure on these fish with your rod and reel combo to ensure a quick battle and successful release.
Looking forward the upcoming full moon will cause big swings in the tides with exceptionally strong current movement. This will cause the fish to feed heavily on the fast moving water. Inshore, near shore or offshore the next week will provide many opportunities to put a bend in the pole and some fillets on the table .
2011Summer time has arrived on the waters around Anna Maria island and the fishing has heated up as well. On my recent charters we have been targeting tarpon off the beaches and in the passes. Tarpon fishing is unique in that one day you can hook 10 fish ,and then next time out you score a goose egg. Having a variety of baits and a quite approach is key to successful catching of these hard fighters.
Speckled trout have moved into deeper water, 5-8ft over grass beds. My clients have been landing fish over 20" last week. Lacie Chapman,15, of GA landed a 26" gator trout on a recent charter as well as many more in the slot fish. Chum with shiners to get the bite going.
2010)The waters of Anna Maria Island remain oil free and crystal clear. Fishing is as hot as the weather. Tarpon fishing has been excellent with many boats hooking up with some monster size Tarpon in the 150lb range. Islander Tommy Price had the drag on his reel literally melt due to a huge tarpon pulling off 200 yards of line . Crabs , shiners , pinfish , and thread finns have been the bait of choice.
Shark fishing has been good inside the bay with Black Tips , Lemons, and Spinner sharks taking the main stage. Hang a chum block hung over the side of the boat and mix in some cut up shiners into the slick . I also like to dole out some Purina Tropical fish food into the slick to "Sweetin" the chum slick. A chunk of ladyfish , Bluefish or Blue Runners rigged on some wire or cable leader will get the job done.Use caution as the sharks are very agile and will try and swing around take a bite out of you . A long handled release tool will help with the safe release of these apex predators.
Inside the bay , the Speckled trout fishing has been excellent . A limit of keeper sized fish is easily available over the grass flats . Englander Ian Gihlcrist and daughter Vicki had non stop action on a 1/2 day charter with me and took home some very nice Spekled trout.