Anna Maria Island Winter Fishing Report: January/February 2019
Anna Maria Island water temperatures have been warmer this year than last year; and I think the cold that we did experience, is finished (fingers crossed for this Florida-soft captain). Over the past month we have been targeting sheepshead, mangrove snapper, lane snapper, pompano, grunts, and redfish at a mix of both nearshore reefs and inshore structure/flats. But, as these water temps start rising, we will be chasing snook, bonita, kingfish, and other species as white bait becomes easier to find and fish start to move.
We have been catching sheepshead both inshore and at the nearshore reefs on the same rigs with the only difference being how much weight we are using. My preferred method is 15-20# fluorocarbon leaders with size 2 circle hooks and half a shrimp and split shot placed just above the hook. I use the exact same rig and bait for the snapper, and grunts, and inshore redfish.
For pompano look on sand flats located near grass flats. I like to use a pink or green pompano jig or banana jig. You can tip them with shrimp if you like, but I have caught plenty on the jig itself. Play with the retrieve and see what is working best of the day as it will change, but I find that I find more success using a consistent retrieve as opposed to a sporadic one.
With the coming months things will really start heating up so get out there and take advantage of the mild temps while you can!