Whats Biting Calendar
The Fish Calendar For The Anna Maria Island Area
During the month of January Captain Kyle commercially fishes for Mullet during the world famous Mullet Roe Season on the west coast of Florida. He commercially fishes from Clearwater to Boca Grande. During this month Captain Kyle mostly does commercial Mullet fishing.
During the month of February we normally just start to see bait (Threadfins and Pilchards) show up in numbers near the deeper waters of Tampa Bay. During the years we have colder winters we would usually be using live shrimp, artificial jigs, but sometimes we can be fishing with live pilchards, if available. During the years when we have warmer winters we can sometimes see the fishing bite really turn on towards the end of this month and on warmer days. During February we mostly target Sheepshead, Spotted Seatrout, and Redfish on a typical fishing charter. Most of the Sheepshead we catch are around the docks and structure roughly near the mouth of the Manatee River, Longboat Pass, Anna Maria Sound, and New Pass in Sarasota. The Trout and Redfish, on warmer days, can be found on or near the shallow waters of Terra Ceia Bay and lower Tampa Bay. The Snook (depending on the year) normally don’t show much interest until the water warms up in March. This month can be challenging, as sometimes the water temperature is low and late season cold fronts bring a strong north wind. Fishing in February in is normally productive but late season cold fronts can hamper the bite and normally shuts the fish down for a couple of days after a front passes.
March is one of the hottest fishing months in our area of Anna Maria Island. In March, spring normally rears its head and warmer waters really wakes up the fish from a long winter of hibernation and being lethargic. We live and fish in tropical waters and most of the fish we target really turn on when the water starts to warm up. Snook start to migrate from the creeks and rivers where they spent most of the winter and start moving towards the flats and shallow waters of Lower Tampa Bay, Anna Maria Island, and Sarasota Bay. We really start to see the Snook turn on during March and most days you can’t keep them off your hook on a typical fishing charter. During March there are normally smaller schools of Redfish that are around the lower part of Tampa Bay and some days the Redfish bite is on! Toward the later part of March going into April we start to see King Mackerel, Mackerel, Bluefish, Ladyfish, and Cobia show up. The start of the bait/ fish migration normally coincides with the last part of March. We will start to catch some Tarpon during March, but most of the Tarpon are “resident” fish that did not make the south migration. The “resident” Tarpon start to show up around the lower part of Tampa Bay and if targeted can produce some big fish.
April is another hot fishing month and a carry over from March. A lot of the same fish we catch in March are just as hungry this month during fishing charters. Depending on the year and if we don’t have late season cold fronts that push through the area April is usually just a productive as March. The type of fishing we have as an option is endless. We can either fish the shallow waters near Anna Maria Island for Snook, Redfish, and Trout or head to deeper waters in Tampa Bay for Tarpon, Cobia, Grouper, and Kingfish. This time of the year I go as far south as Sarasota Bay and as far north as Port Manatee looking for the best bite. The Tarpon bite starts to get into full swing around the end of April and with the Tarpon we start to see most of the other migratory fish with them such as Cobia and Kingfish. Normally, if we a specifically targeting Tarpon we usually catch quality fish as by-catch. The by-catch can be Sharks, Grouper, Cobia, and Kingfish. The inshore bite with the Snook, Redfish, and Trout still can be epic as the water warms. The Snook are usually still in feeding mode and are getting ready to start the migration to spawn. The Redfish start to thin out but there are normally plenty of fish around to get during a fishing charter.
In May the Tarpon bite is normally in full swing. The Tarpon are usually found near Bean Point at the northern tip of Anna Maria Island, off of Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach, as well as Longboat Pass and the Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay. May and June are usually are best months for book a fishing charter for Tarpon as the most of the fish make their way up the beach to stage at passes and bridges to feed prior to spawning. The Snook bite still is good and most of the fish have made their way near passes and moving water in preparation for spawning. During May we can see Snook eat anything in sight prior to and after the full moon. Trout in May also are pretty plentiful and are a good alternative inshore when other fish don’t seem to want to bite. The Redfish can still be picked up in Tampa Bay and most of the Redfish start to work the deeper edges of mangrove lines.
In June the Tarpon bite is still normally going on, depending on the year. The Tarpon are usually found near Bean Point at the northern tip of Anna Maria Island, off of Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach, as well as Longboat Pass and the Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay. In June we start to see a lot of Mangrove Snapper move into the shallow waters of Tampa Bay. The Snapper can be found near navigation markers and shallow grass flats in Sarasota Bay and in Tampa Bay near deeper structure. Mangrove Snapper is some excellent table fair and normally when we are on the fish we can limit out with them on a typical fishing charter. The deeper water of Tampa Bay also provides us with quality grouper this time of the year. The Snook bite is still really good this month as we will start to see some of the fish that went to the passes, like Longboat Pass, to spawn head back to the shallow waters of the flats near Anna Maria Island. There are some Redfish around in June but sometimes they can be pretty tough to get to eat, but most of the time on fishing charters we mange to bring a couple home for the clients. The Trout bite is normally pretty productive this time of the year. The large masses of Trout start to make a return to the bay on the edges of deeper grass flats. The best trout bite can be found in Sarasota Bay as well as the bays near Anna Maria Island. We also start to see a lot of sharks move into the parts of Tampa Bay and near Anna Maria Island in this part of the year.
In July we still have some Tarpon around and normally see a good push of fish from the north heading back south for their migration. We also have Tarpon that stay here in Tampa Bay and call it home for the year. If you are looking to go a Tarpon fishing charter in July there is still fish to be had most of the time. July can be challenging inshore with the heat of the summer. The bite on the flats starts to slow down as the water temperature rises to the upper 80’s. The fish are still biting but it is not as wild as the spring and fall bite in our area. The Snook can be found on the deeper edges of the mouth of bays near Terra Ceia Bay, Sarasota Bay, along with the western side of Anna Maria Island. We start to see some schools of Redfish (Bull Reds) show up and if they are hungry the catches can be epic fishing charter. We are still typically catching quality Mangrove Snapper in the upper part of Sarasota Bay, near Longboat Pass, and the lower part of Tampa Bay. The Trout are normally in full effect in July with most fishing hanging in 3’-6’ of water near moving water and grass edges. The Trout and Snapper bite is normally the most consistent and the most productive during the dog days of summer.
We can still catch some Tarpon during the month of August but prepare to work for them and wait in between hook ups. During this month we start to see more and more schools of Redfish showing up in the bay. Typically during the last part of August we will start to see the Redfish go into full effect and the bite will remain strong through September and October. Depending on the year, the Snook bite can start to get going again once the water temperature starts to stabilize for the summer and reach it max. On most fishing charters there are normally Snapper to be had in the bay near Anna Maria Island. The Trout bite is still going to be the most productive and most consistent bite in the first part of August.
In September we start to see some relief from the summer heat as temperatures start to rescind. We really start to see the Redfish bite take off this month and as large schools of fish make their way to invade the flats of lower Tampa Bay, Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key, and Sarasota Bay. In September, it is not uncommon to catch as many Redfish as you can handle on a fishing charter. Many times clients tell me “we need a break” and “my arm hurts from reeling in so many fish”… no joke, when they are biting, it is epic. I love fishing, but I especially love Red fishing this time of the year and typically it is fast paced with non-stop action. The Snook bite starts to come on as we began to see a decline in water temperature. The Trout bite remains strong in September and we can still manage to pick up Snapper in the bay.
October is usually still great Redfish action and a carry over from September. It is not uncommon to be in the middle of a school of 300+ Redfish and every one on the boat hooked up at one time. These are the days when we have multiple double, triple, and quadruple hook ups on a fishing charter. As fast as I can bait a hook and get it in the water you can usually count down 5-4-3-2-1 and yell “Fish On”. The Snook bite can also really turn on this month as the water temperature starts to decline the fish know they better start gorging on food and getting ready for winter. We also start see the migration from the fish heading south such as King Mackerel and Mackerel showing up off the beach from Longboat Pass to the northern tip of Anna Maria Island.
Depending on the year, the bite all around remains strong during this month. If we start to see some early cold fronts it can hamper the bite the days after a front passes but in general the Snook, Redfish, Trout bite are productive. In the later part of this month I start prepping for the world famous Mullet Roe Season on the west coast of Florida. I usually start getting my commercial boat ready for the long winter of commercial fishing 18+ hours a day of non-stop fishing.
During the month of December Captain Kyle commercially fishes for Mullet during the world famous Mullet Roe Season on the west coast of Florida. He commercially fishes from Clearwater to Boca Grande. During this month Captain Kyle mostly does commercial Mullet fishing.