Heavy rains, windy conditions put damper on fishing – The Anna Maria Islander

Well, it looks like it’s back to the drawing board this week for anglers who plan to fish around Anna Maria Island.

After numerous days of long-lasting thunderstorms and strong winds, fishing our local waters became challenging. Murky water is making it difficult to fish the flats, as well as along the beaches. On days when the winds are calm, fishing nearshore structure for mangrove snapper, juvenile grouper and flounder is proving to be the best option.

This being said, conditions are improving daily. Fishing prior to the stormy weather was nothing less than stellar and I see it quickly returning. Getting back into our normal summertime pattern of calm east breezes during the day and thunderstorms in the evening is pertinent. And it will come. When the waters clear from all of the stirred up sand and stormwater runoff, we will see fishing as good as it ever was.

Capt. Warren Girle is targeting tarpon throughout the coastal waters of our region. Fishing the passes of Longboat Key and Bean Point and around Egmont Key are producing good action during the morning hours. Later in the day, patrolling the beaches in search of schooling silver kings is proving effective. Catches are 80-120 pounds.

On days when he’s not chasing tarpon, Girle is fishing the nearshore reefs for a variety of species, including cobia, mangrove snapper, permit and shark. The most predominant bite is the mangrove snapper. Girle’s clients are hooking up with limits of these fish.

Jim Malfese at the Rod & Reel Pier is seeing an assortment of fish species on the hooks at the pier. Fishers using artificials such as jigs and spoons are catching Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle and ladyfish. Pompano are in the mix for lucky anglers casting shrimp-tipped jigs. Redfish and snook are being caught by live bait fishers with shiners and pinfish the baits of choice. Lastly, an occasional flounder is being caught by casting live shrimp under the pier.

Capt. Aaron Lowman is targeting tarpon throughout southern Tampa Bay. Live pass crabs are working as bait in the passes while the fish along the beaches prefer threadfin herring.

Lowman suggests fishing either early morning or late evening to produce the best action.

On the flats, Lowman is catching numerous spotted seatrout. Mixed in with the trout are Spanish mackerel, bluefish and ladyfish.

Capt. Rick Gross of Fishy Business Charters is working the nearshore structure for mangrove snapper. Limits of these tasty fish are being caught while bottom fishing around artificial reefs, wrecks and ledges. Live shiners are the bait of choice for Gross.

Also, while fishing structure in the Gulf, Gross was targeting cobia, Spanish mackerel and shark, and came upon an unexpected catch — a 30-inch snook.

On the flats, trout are plentiful in depths of 6-8 feet. Live, free-lined shiners are producing the bite. Snook and redfish are being caught on the flats, in areas where the depth is 2-4 feet.

Capt. Jason Stock is hunting tarpon along the beaches and passes of Longboat Key, Egmont Key and Anna Maria Island. For bait, live crabs, threadfin herring, shiners and pinfish are producing a bite. Most catches are occurring during the morning or evening. Sizes are 60-140 pounds.

Moving offshore, Stock is catching permit, gag grouper, yellowtail and mangrove snapper. Goliath grouper are in the same areas as the snapper, which for Stock is an opportunity to reel up some huge fish. After taking pictures of these massive grouper, they are released back to the depths.

Lastly, great hammerhead sharks are patrolling the beaches in search of a meal — unsuspecting tarpon. When one is spotted, Stock instructs clients to cast a large jack crevalle, mackerel or other whole fish to intrigue the large shark to bite.

Capt. David White of Anna Maria Charters is running offshore, where American red snapper, red grouper, blackfin tuna and African pompano are being caught around offshore wrecks. Also in these areas are yellowtail and mangrove snapper. For bait, shiners, pinfish or cut-bait will produce a bite.

Moving inshore, White is targeting catch-and-release snook and spotted seatrout. Snook are being found along mangrove shorelines and in the passes along the beaches. As for the trout, deep grass flats in Sarasota Bay are holding good numbers of fish.

Send high-resolution photos and fishing reports to fish@islander.org.