Fall is Here! October Fishing Report
Anna Maria Island fishing in the fall is almost as legendary as the spring: redfish are stacked up in large schools as they get ready to spawn, snook are eager to eat along the mangroves and beaches, juvenile tarpon are rolling consistently at sunset in canals, mangrove snapper are readily available, and bonito are exploding on top water.
It doesn't get much better, really--especially when you take into account that your fishing rigs can be left relatively universal.
When fishing with live bait (which can be found near the beaches with ease), I am using the largest shiners I can find--and chumming as much as possible. Use 20 lb. fluorocarbon leader (I prefer about 5-6 feet on the length), with smaller long-shank hooks. This will prevent you from getting sawed off by some of the toothier species without having to beef up your leader.
When fishing for bonito (which are an absolute blast on light tackle or on the fly) with artificial lures, a silver spoon is the ticket. The more erratic and shiny the lure, the better your chances are. For reds I have been using a gold spoon or soft plastic jigs to get the job done. Once they get riled up, you're in for a treat!
But, my favorite part about this time of year is the fly fishing. Dock lights are stacked up with snook at night, bonito will nearly spool you and are not very picky (every fly fisherman's dream), and redfish are easy to target with the schools being so large. I have been using an 8 weight with a 20 lb. fluorocarbon leader to cover all of these species (including juvenile tarpon in canals) with success. You can use either a crab or shiner pattern for the redfish, and a small white/chartreuse minnow pattern for the snook, bonito, and small tarpon.
Fishing on Anna Maria Island is firing on all cylinders right now and it's not showing any signs of slowing down soon so get out there and have some fun.