Summertime fishing is in full swing on Anna Maria Island. The mornings are calm and hot which makes for some pop-up thunderstorm activity in the afternoon. And while it is important to keep your eye on the sky, don't forget what's going on in the water: sharks, goliath grouper, large redfish, jack crevalle, mangrove snapper, and snook cruising along the beach are all in full swing!
For our shark activity on charters around Anna Maria Island we have been targeting the nearshore reefs and sandbars using cut-bait with steel leaders and size 7/0 circle hooks. If you are chumming heavy with whitebait over the nearshore reefs, don't be surprised if you hook a few small blacknose on light tackle and be sure to enjoy the fight while it lasts--you'll be surprised how many you can land on 30 lb. fluorocarbon leader with size 1/0 circle hooks.
For Goliath Grouper I like to use a size 12/0 heavy duty circle hook with steel leader attached to 100 lb. braided line with a whole bonita, jack crevalle, or Spanish mackerel as bait. If you know a spot where a Goliath is holding, don't be surprised if you get a back-breaking bite within minutes and sometimes even seconds!
Large redfish and jack crevalle have been in deep channels and around near-shore reefs where we've had success catching them on live or cut pilchards either freelined or on the bottom with size 1/0 circle hooks and 30 lb. fluorocarbon leader. The key when hooking these near reefs is to keep them off the bottom as much as possible to avoid line from fraying off on the structure below. Our average redfish size has been running anywhere from 32-41".
Inshore on our charters around Anna Maria Island, we have been primarily targeting snook, Spanish mackerel, and mangrove snapper. For the snook, look along beaches for some fun sight fishing or in along mangroves--we've been having success with 15-20 lb. leaders and size 2 circle hooks, which can also be used as your snapper rig around inshore structure. For the Spanish mackerel I have been keeping my leader size the same as for the snook and snapper with the only difference being the hook: I prefer a size 1/0 long shank J-hook to prevent cut-offs due to their razor sharp teeth.
Regardless what you're targeting you're bound to have some fun fishing with around Anna Maria Island so get out there and wet-A-line.