Tampa Bay to Sarasota Fishing Report
Hello from chilly Anna Maria Island. It's kind of cold out there this morning. I guess I can't complain too much, the afternoon high is supposed to be 65 and tomorrow 70. I know I probably sound like a cry baby to you northerners reading this. I actually enjoy fishing in the cool winter mornings, it's refreshing and when dressed properly it's not cold at all. Most importantly the fish bite really well under these conditions. Cold water and low tides cause the fish to bunch all up into the deep holes making for some really fast action. Many times it's as fast as you can put a shrimp on the hook.
This past week has been much of the same, lots of Redfish, some days as many as 50 a day. This week coming up should be even better for them with the water cooling down. The Sheepshead has been progressively getting better as we head into peek spawn. We are starting to get a lot of nice big keepers. Sheepshead is so good to eat one of my favorite fish. We are still also getting some nice Black Drum mixed in; almost all of them are keeper size.
Now that Trout season is open I spent a lot more time last week chasing Trout on the flats. The action has been really good. Many days we have limited out on trout from 16 to 21 inches, the largest a little over 24 inches. When they are biting it's an easy way to get some fish for the box. If they are slow I just go back to the Redfish, Sheepshead, and Black Drum because they have been consistent pretty much all day.
Offshore the Grouper bite is still really hot. You have to pick your day though. The good news is the days that the wind blows out of the north and I can't get offshore are the very best days to fish inshore. Most of my Grouper have been caught in the 35ft to 55 ft range so it's a quick run out there when the weathers nice. A good percentage of the Grouper are keepers so filling the cooler with some tasty fillets has been no problem. The largest have been a little over 30 inches.
Well other than a few bonus Flounder that pretty much sums it up for our winter time fishing. The weather looks perfect all week coming up. I am filling my spring and summer Tarpon schedule so for those of you planning some future dates it's time to get the ball rolling, I am running out of openings fast.
I hope you have enjoyed my report, like I said; the forecast is looking great this week so get out there and enjoy this beautiful Florida weather.
About The Author: Captain Matt Ercoli
Company: Florida Sport Fishing Outfitters
Area Reporting: Tampa Bay to Sarasota Florida
Bio: Capt. Matt Ercoli is a premier Florida Gulf coast fishing guide and 1999 Saltwater Flats National Champion. He has assisted clients to five IGFA world records. Capt. Matt's experience and knowledge of local waters assures a successful day of fishing. Whether you prefer light tackle fishing or you're a fly-fishing purist, Capt. Matt can accommodate you. Fishing possibilities include the clear saltwater flats and mangrove backcountry from Tampa Bay & St. Petersburg to Sarasota; fishing for tarpon, snook, redfish and trout. If your preference is offshore fishing, there is permit, kingfish, grouper, little tunny, shark and more.