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.
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!
Anna Maria Island, Florida, is said to be the recreational fishing capital of the world. With 1300 miles of coastline, 7,700 lakes, 10,550 miles of rivers, and 2,276 miles of tidal coastline Florida is a natural choice for avid anglers.
Over 2 million individuals fish in Florida waters each year. And the industry generates an economic impact for the state in the range of 7 billion dollars.
Florida offers a diverse array of sports fish species along with responsible management of the population allowing state fishing to thrive.
Below is the Island Real Estate top ten list of things to know about Anna Maria Island fishing to assist you in making the most of your angling experience on island time.
1. Why Fish Anna Maria Island?
Nestled just off the Gulf coast of central Florida in Manatee county, Anna Maria Island is an amazing fishing destination for both sport, commercial or recreational fishing.
Anna Maria Island is situated near many different fishing environments from grass flats to deep sea, and even brakkish waters there are opportunities for any type of Florida fishing on and around Anna Maria Island.
Local bodies of water near Anna Maria Island include the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay, Intracoastal waterways of Anna Maria sound, Palma Sola Bay and Sarasota Bay, and the Manatee River.
Pier fishing is a popular pass time on Anna Maria Island, and does not require any sort of fishing license as long as the pier offers a blanket license.
There are three piers to fish off of on Anna Maria Island including the Rod and Reel pier, Anna Maria city pier and the Bradenton Beach city pier. Rod and Reel and the Anna Maria city pier are located on north end and stretch out over Tampa Bay waters offering gorgeous views of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
The Bradenton Beach city pier overlooks Sarasota Bay, Cortez Fishing Village, and the Bradenton Beach Anchorage where long term boats may reside.
Anna Maria Island is a seven mile long barrier island offering plenty of powder sand beaches for casting a line. During the busy high season times of year beaches may become crowded in popular spots like the Manatee Public beach making fishing a bit difficult.
Many anglers have success fishing off the beaches especially during the summer months in areas with less individuals in the water. Fishing from the beach does require a fishing license for most, but there are a few exceptions to the rule.
You may fish off the beach if you are a:
– resident fishing with a pole or line without a line retrieval device
– resident over the age of 65
– Florida resident and a member of the U.S. Armed Forces not stationed in Florida and are here on leave for 30 days or less.
– Anyone eligible for food stamps, temporary cash assistance or medicaid. or under 16 years of age from any state may fish off of beaches.
4. Respect Wildlife While Fishing
Anna Maria Island is home to a gorgeous array of wildlife from mammals to birds and sea critters. When fishing it is extremely important to mind the wildlife that locals hold so dear.
Be sure to mind boating rules in Manatee zones as this sea relative of the elephant is slowly making a comeback in Florida waterways. Never feed birds fish bones or scraps when cleaning fish, and if you snag a pelican with a hook slowly reel it in, and follow the guidelines of how to remove the hooks and monofilament line.
Anna Maria Island offers many different type of fishing charters from inshore to deep sea. There are several different companies offering charters like Anna Maria Island Inshore Fishing Charters. Find a few additional charters here.
6. Inshore Fishing
Fishing along the intracoastal waterway can be a fun and relaxing day spent between Anna Maria Island and the mainland. With fabulous mangrove environments there are many species of fish found inshore.
7. Tampa Bay Fishing
Fishing in Tampa Bay produces great catches like Tarpon. Head out into the bay, and enjoy fishing around the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
8. Gulf of Mexico Fishing
If you are looking to schedule a deep sea fishing trip the Gulf of Mexico will be your best bet. Charters will take you miles off shore to find the prize catch you’ve had on your bucket list.
9. Cortez Fishing Village
One of the oldest in the country, Cortez Fishing Village offers old Florida charm, endless character and the area’s freshest seafood. In Cortez you’ll find the Florida Maritime Museum. Great charters, amazing seafood restaurants and markets too!
10. Popular Fishing Seasons
Anna Maria Island offers year round fishing with many different open seasons available. In additional to line fishing Florida Spiny Lobster Season and Stone Crab season are highly anticipated on Anna Maria Island.
Fishing on Anna Maria Island? Obey the fishing laws. Employ safe boating and angling practices. Respect the wildlife and have a great time!