April Fishing Captain Ryan Taylor captainryantaylor.com Fishing report April 1st -16th
April has been great, the weather has been beautiful a little windy most days but the snook, redfish, and trout have seemed to love it. The water temperature around Anna Maria island is in the mid 70’s. The bait has invaded Tampa bay gathering around every piece of structure and every grass flat surrounding Anna Maria Island. Spring fishing is one of my favorite times of the year.
April Fishing Captain Ryan Taylor
My clients always ask what are we fishing for here? My response, is we’re probably going to catch it all snook, redfish, trout, because they all hangout together this time of year. It’s always exciting never knowing what your going to have on the line.
With the comfortable water temperatures these fish are eating all day. On most half day trips this week clients were catching 20 to 30 snook with the biggest being 36″. We catch about 5 to 10 redfish and 10 to 20 trout. If you are looking for an excellent table fare the trout are 15″ to 20″.
Tarpon fishing is right around the corner I generally start fishing for them every morning in May June, and July. If you are looking for a place to stay on Anna Maria Island check out Island Real Estate.
Sightseeing Anna Maria Island Piers is a great activity during your visit. All located on the bay side of the island, there are three different piers to see.
Sightseeing Anna Maria Island Piers
Each of the three island piers has a little something different to offer, but all have beautiful views. Enjoy a peaceful stroll along with a respite from time on the beach.
Rod & Reel Pier
The Rod & Reel Pier is the northern most of the three. Here you’ll enjoy views of Tampa Bay and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. At the end of the pier you’ll find the Rod & Reel Restaurant. The small downstairs bar is a great stop for a beer. Grab a drink and sit down on one of the outdoor benches. Upstairs you’ll find the dining room with both indoor and outdoor seating.
For a small fee you can fish off the pier too! This is a great place for family fun with a view. If you are looking for a taste of old Florida, you’re sure to find it on this pier.
Anna Maria City Pier
The Anna Maria City Pier is located just a few blocks south of Rod & Reel pier. Here you’ll also enjoy views of Tampa Bay and the Sunshine Skyway. The city pier is a historical site with an important past. This is where boats would drop off “Day Trippers” from the mainland before a bridge was built.
At the end of the city pier is a restaurant and small gift shop. The menu here offers a little of something for everyone. Find the city pier at the end of Pine Avenue. There are also some bay beaches to visit around the base of the pier.
Bradenton Beach City Pier
On the south end of the island you’ll find The Bradenton Beach city pier at the end of Bridge Street. The pier is in the location of what was the first bridge connecting the island to the main land.
Here you’ll enjoy views of Sarasota Bay and the old fishing Village of Cortez directly across the Intracoastal Waterway.
At the base of the pier is the Anna Maria Oyster Bar restaurant. The menu has great seafood in addition to chicken and burgers. Anna Maria Oyster bar offers a full service bar along with both indoor and outdoor seating.
The Bradenton Beach City Pier is a popular spot for fishing too. Bring your own pole, or rent one from the bait shop. You can also catch a dolphin watching boat tour here.
Be sure to enjoy a walk on one of the three island piers on your next visit to Anna Maria Island.
Anna Maria Island beaches remains pristine during the Florida algae outbreak crisis. While no algae is reported in Manatee County, conditions remain beautiful.
Florida algae outbreak
Martin, St. Lucie, Palm Beach and Lee are suffering from the outbreak. All of these areas are south of Anna Maria Island. The majority of the blue-green algae is on the Atlantic coast of Florida, while little is on the Gulf coast.
The Blue-green algae in the four affected counties is described as a guacamole thick mat floating toward the waters surface. The algae has a putrid smell, and is also harmful to both people and wildlife.
A state of emergency is in affect in the four counties by Governor Rick Scott. High amounts of rainfall, high temperature, pollution and nutrient rich water cause the outbreak. The bloom originated in lake Okeechobee, and was spread to St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Estuaries that lead out to coastal areas. Lake Okeechobee water was released to mitigate flooding. Subsequently, as the water made its way through the estuaries it brought the algae with it.
What is causing it?
Historically water from Lake Okeechobee in the center of the state makes its way south through the Everglades watershed. This is where it goes through a more natural filtering process. This historic process reduces the amount of algae. Water is moved to coastal estuaries for flooding risks per water management decisions.
The Army corp of Engineers began reducing the amount of water released into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Estuaries as of July 1, 2016 to help reduce the effects of the blue-green algae on coastal areas. The full impact of the algae bloom is still playing out.
With the devastating impact on the south Florida coastlines, Anna Maria Island has remained unaffected. It is north of Lake Okeechobee and the south Florida watershed.
If you are planning or have planned an Anna Maria Island vacation you are safe to swim. No reports of algae are in effect. Red tide is not currently around Manatee County during the bloom.
While on Anna Maria Island enjoy a gorgeous day on the beach!
The Lionfish around Anna Maria Island are a non-native invasive species. Naturally occurring in Indo-Pacific waters, Lionfish came to the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic and Caribbean due to exotic pet owners releasing collections. The first Lionfish sighting happened in 1985 on the Atlantic coast at Dania Beach. Lionfish have also been spotted as far north as Rhode Island in the summer. However, they cannot survive North Atlantic winters. The population has really thrived in new waters.
Lionfish around Anna Maria Island
A very interesting fish, there are actually two species that are visually identical. Almost all Lionfish around Anna Maria Island are Red Lionfish. Also commonly known as Devil Firefish. They are a beautiful species with white, brown and red Zebra like stripes. They also have 18 venomous spines along the front of the dorsal, pelvic and anal fins. The meat and flesh of the Lionfish are not poisonous. In fact, its delicious!
Lionfish have an extreme impact on the Florida environment because they have no naturally occurring predators. They are reef dwellers that compete for food with species like Yellowtail Snapper. Lionfish will also stalk their prey. They use their long flowing spines to herd prey into corners of reef environments. Lionfish create an imbalance in the reef environment by harming species of organisms that keep algae in check.
FWC and other organizations encourage anglers to take as many of them from gulf and Atlantic waters as they can. There are no bag or size limits. The best way to control this species is through removal with FWC giving incentives for individuals who do so.
A fishing license is required for individuals using a hook and line method for catching Lionfish. It is not required for spearing devices exclusively for Lionfish such as a Hawaiian Sling, pole spear or handheld net. A license is required for commercial sales of Lionfish. There are spearfishing restrictions listed on the FWC website. FWC provides incentives such as a 2015 initiative allowing anglers one extra Spiny Lobster for each 10 Lionfish caught per person on July 29 and 30th.
In cooperation between FWC, The Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition and the Reef Rangers, in 2015 a new event was created. This event helps remove Lionfish and promote awareness of their invasion. The Second Annual Lionfish Awareness Day tournament will happen May 14-15, 2016. Hosted in Pensacola, FL the event is free to attend. Participating anglers can win awards. Patrons enjoy tastings, filet demonstrations and family activities. Awareness day kicks off a statewide program going through the end of September encouraging Lionfish harvesting. Find details here about the 2016 Lionfish Challenge and Panhandle Pilot Program. If you aren’t comfortable removing Lionfish you can also report a sighting here.
Typically Lionfish aren’t caught by hook and line, but by spear or handheld net. Local company Blue Water Explorer Dive Charters offers regularly scheduled spear fishing tours. They encourages patrons to take as many Lionfish as they can during a fishing session. Captain Bob Eskew says “We welcome certified divers to take as many lionfish as possible on any of our charters. I ask only that hunters have the proper collection equipment to avoid unnecessary injury from the lionfish spines”. While visiting Anna Maria Island Blue Water Explorer Dive Charters is your best bet for catching this species.
How to Fillet a Lionfish.
Below is a great youtube video from FWC on proper techniques to fillet a Lionfish. It is imperative to use caution when handling this species. They are venomous, and can inflict a very painful “sting”. Reports of Lionfish stings vary greatly depending on how many spines puncture the skin, and personal tolerance. Stings take a few minutes to feel painful as venom works its way into the body. You should seek medical attention as stings can cause extreme pain. In rare situations a sting can cause temporary paralysis, and can lead to infection.
Lionfish Recipes are simply delicious.
This fish offers a firm texture, and a flavor similar to Mahi Mahi. Lionfish is high in Omega 3’s and low in saturated fats and heavy metals. Lionfish can prepared in many ways making it a versatile addition to your diet. Check out the Pinterest Board “Anna Maria Island Local Seafood and Recipes” for dozens of suggested preparations. From fried to blackened and ceviche to sushi, you’ll find many great ways to eat this fish!
Enjoy Anna Maria Island just like the locals do, and try out some of our locally sourced seafood selections!
Anna Maria Island Accommodations and Vacation Rentals for your next visit.
When planning your Anna Maria Island fishing trip check out AnnaMariaIsland.com for a large selection of beach rentals!
Finding Manatees near Anna Maria Island is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have as a visting nature lover. These adorable herbivore creatures love warm water and if you are lucky, you can spend a wonderful day watching Manatees play in the warm coastal waters near Anna Maria Island.
Manatees are very impressive during mating season as they are prone to barrel rolling and thrashing around in the water.
Be Careful While Boating!
Be sure to be cautious with your power boats around Manatee areas. Boat motor propellers are the leading cause of death and injury to these gentle creatures. Take the time to patiently navigate the waters near the shore line and throughout the inter coastal. This is where you are most likely to find them. Make sure you are not accidentally intruding on their space!
Unfortunately, the number of Manatees is very limited and they are sometimes hard to find.
If you are really fortunate, you might also find yourself swimming with them off the northern end of the island. It is a wonderful experience!
Visiting the MOTE
If you are having trouble finding manatees in the wild near Anna Maria Island, then try your luck at the MOTE Marine Laboratory in Sarasota. It is a truly remarkable establishment devoted to understanding and supporting all marine wildlife, including Manatees!
It’s a great time to be fishing Anna Maria City Pier. The Mackerel Run is ON and they are showing up in spades.
Last evening we decided to take a quick ride up to the Anna Maria City Pier…our favorite college team Penn State was ahead at half time, and our dinner still had another 45 minutes to finish in the oven.
Fishing Anna Maria City Pier? Buckets of Fin!
As we walked down the recently re-built pier we were greeted by lots of anglers fishing in the beautiful blue-green waters of the Tampa Bay. The fisherman told us that the mackerel were biting and they were not kidding; there were buckets and buckets filled to the brim with fish.
It was such fun to see people of all ages, casting and catching fish… Then we enjoyed a guitarist playing great Neil Young songs, one of which my husband requested and enjoyed.
As we listened and looked out over the lovely Gulf Of Mexico waters and the silhouette of the outstanding Skyway Bridge, we were, once again, amazed at the glory of this unbelievable place in which we have the privilege to live.
We walked back down the pier to return to our car watching the setting sun highlight the clouds. It is far too often that we don’t take enough advantage of Anna Maria Island. We got back home and ate a great dinner while we watched our team win the game in FOUR overtimes!
An Anna Maria Island Florida Sunset in Autumn is Something Truly Spectacular!
Most of us, at one time or another, has been up north to see the “colors,” but none of us seems to think about Florida as a place to enjoy the beauty of fall, do we? Yet we’ve been on Anna Maria Island for the past 3 weeks and have enjoyed all of that the Gulf Coast has to offer this time of year!
Beautiful Weather, Beautiful Sunsets!
The weather is absolutely fabulous, not often annually does this sub tropic climate feel so welcoming. It is a wonder that this is not the most popular time of year to visit Anna Maria Island; the water is still warm from the hot summer and the humidity starts to lift off the beaches, just perfect. We go to the beach and often talk about how it seems like we have this magnificent place almost all to ourselves (except for the pelicans and sandpipers). Then, we visit our favorite beach front restaurants, and no longer have to worry about when we go, for the crowds are gone waiting for tables (amazing, since the hospitality, the food, and the drinks are still outstanding!).
Finally, we go to the beach at sunset (something that is a bit of ritual among true islanders)! It’s time to see the magnificent colors of fall.
The scene catches our breath as the oranges, red-pinks, and golds blend together and change as each minute passes. Our turning leaves are the sun and sky every day. Again, we wonder at the gift of this special place. It is enjoyed by so many and yet often overlooked at this time of year. THINK AGAIN!