Anna Maria Island’s inshore and nearshore waters are currently experiencing a delightful invasion of mangrove snapper. Anglers are taking full advantage of this opportunity, with many successfully filling their coolers with the flavorful catch.
To make the most of this influx, targeting mangrove snapper during slower tide stages in the passes has proven effective, allowing anglers to reach the daily limit of five fish per person.
Using live shiners on bottom rigs has emerged as a top strategy, with chumming also enhancing success. Chumming attracts not only mangrove snapper but also other species like Spanish mackerel, bonito, and ladyfish. It’s not uncommon to encounter curious cobia as well.
For those who achieve quick limits with snapper, shifting focus to spotted seatrout is a rewarding move. The deep grass flats in Tampa and Sarasota bays are hosting schools of trout, offering a mix of sizes depending on the location.
Furthermore, keep an eye out for schools of redfish gathering in the shallow grass flats. A cautious approach and the use of lures like gold spoons are recommended for these potentially spooky fish.
Capt. David White is taking advantage of the inshore waters during westerly winds, as offshore Gulf of Mexico fishing becomes challenging. Clients are finding success with mangrove snapper in the passes and around Tampa Bay structures, primarily using live shiners for bottom fishing.
Spotted seatrout are also a popular catch during morning fishing trips over deep grass flats, while catch-and-release snook provide action for those seeking larger fish.
Capt. Warren Girle is another angler benefiting from the mangrove snapper abundance. Whether on Gulf of Mexico reefs or select grass flats in Sarasota Bay, mangrove snapper are a constant presence. For reef fishing, bottom rigs are effective, yielding snapper in the 12-16 inch range. In shallower flats, free-lining shiners produces slightly smaller snappers.
Among the snapper, spotted seatrout and ladyfish are common encounters. Shallower Sarasota Bay flats offer redfish and catch-and-release snook opportunities.
At the Rod & Reel Pier, mangrove snapper continue to be the primary catch. Live shrimp as bait yields limits, with catches ranging from 1 to 12 inches, occasionally larger. Artificials like jigs and silver spoons are successful when bait schools are present, leading to mackerel, ladyfish, and jack crevalle catches. Larger live bait, such as pinfish or ladyfish, results in catch-and-release snook, requiring robust tackle due to the fish’s size.