Fishing this past week out of Island Discount tackle on Anna Maria island has been productive with the wintertime pattern finally turning on. As each cold front passes our area, shiners will be less productive, and shrimp will become the bait of choice. On my recent charters, a multitude of species have been landed, including sheepshead, pompano, speckled trout, redfish and flounder.
On my recent charters, we have been concentrating on fishing deep-water docks, resulting in some excellent catches of redfish and sheepshead. The rig of choice is a size 1 hook pegged with a split shot weight on a 30-pound fluorocarbon leader baited with a live shrimp. The key to successful presentation has been to toss the bait way under the dock using a sidearm casting motion and keeping the bait under the dock. Do not be afraid to put the muscle on the bigger redfish to get them out from the pilings.
On the deep-water flats, the speckled trout have been biting on either a soft plastic or live shrimp rigged on a1/4-ounce jig under a popping cork set to just above the grass line. Pompano and flounder also have been hitting this setup for a nice change of pace.
Looking forward, the low winter tides in the morning hours will provide for some excellent fishing opportunities as the fish will be trapped in the low-water potholes. Look for the deep holes on the edges of flats to find the fish-staging areas, and you will be rewarded with non-stop action and some tasty fillets for the dinner table.
Until next week, keep the slack out of your line to feel the thump of the predator inhaling your bait.
Capt. Mark Howard
SumoTime Fishing Charters