Anna Maria Island

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Fishing in Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island fishing charters have easy access to some of the most diverse fisheries in this part of Florida. Capped by the Gulf of Mexico to the west, Longboat Pass to the south, Anna Maria Sound to the east, and Tampa Bay to the north, Anna Maria Island is far more than just a beautiful summer resort. It’s one of the top inshore fisheries in the States, where anglers can sample the finest of marine life, including Tarpon, Redfish, Snook, Trout, Pompano, and Snapper. Move further out towards the Gulf, and a sea of possibilities opens up where you can land Amberjack, Grouper, Snapper, Hogfish, Mackerel, and if you’re persistent enough - trophy game fish.

Anna Maria Island fishing spots

Lying just a quick car ride from popular summer places such as Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach, the island of Anna Maria is a seven mile stretch of sandy white beaches. This barrier island looks out on the fisheries of the Gulf of Mexico, but is also within a stone’s throw of the flats, skinny waters, and mangroves of peninsular Florida. No matter how skilled you are, these waters have honey holes filled with fish that will make your fishing trip well worth the effort.

Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay is a well of prosperity for many fishing charters that are lucky enough to be fishing in these waters. The network of mangroves, grassy areas, and shallow flats makes it perfect for landing an impressive Tarpon, just at the tip of Anna Maria Island. Migrating Tarpon pass right by the island, and there’s no need for a long ride to fish for these brutes.

If you’re up for some more shallow water fishing, you can take your family on a Snook fishing trip. Snook love playing hide and seek and will often seek shelter in backwaters too. Make sure to double check the areas around bridges - you will likely find some inshore critters scurrying around. Find yourself a seasoned Anna Maria fishing guide and you won’t miss the good spots.

The old familiar faces - Redfish, Black Drum, and Speckled Trout - are also bountiful here. Check anywhere from shallow flats and skinny waters to deeper bay fisheries. Again, looking for man-made structures can be a day-saver.

Palma Sola Bay

Just south of the island, Palma Sola Bay also has a solid offering of saltwater species, including Black Drum, Redfish, Snook, and Sheepshead, all available for the better part of the year. The numerous boat launches make it a great option for anglers who have little time but still want to get a good look at what Florida inshore fishing has to offer. More adventurous anglers can also try some kayak or wade fishing.

Sarasota Bay

Sarasota Bay is another body of water that rarely disappoints. You can get some pretty heavy Redfish here, as well as Black Drum, Trout, Flounder, and Mackerel. These fish put even more experienced anglers to the test, so make sure you’re fishing with someone who’s caught them before. Fishing the Sarasota Bay is packed with excitement but is also a good choice for having a relaxing day on the water - the tree-lined shores, murky moving waters, and sunny days make it a great intro to fishing.

Gulf of Mexico

If you’re up for a boat ride, then you should consider exploring the Gulf of Mexico’s fisheries. It’s a different story altogether, but is just as rewarding. You can still stay relatively close to the shore and get some nice Snapper and Grouper in summertime. Really good fishing takes place between five and ten miles offshore, just past Bean Point Beach.

This part of the Gulf also boasts Triggerfish and Red Grouper, and the ultimate acrobat among the local fish - King Mackerel. They can leap incredibly high and are a good middle ground between tablefare and serious game fish.

Anglers looking for more intense fishing will need to make it past the 25-mile line to have a go at Amberjack, King Mackerel, Cobia, and some Tuna from spring to summer. Go further out and you can even get Mahi, Wahoo, and Sailfish, as well as Triggerfish, Amberjack, and more delicious Grouper and Snapper.

Manatee River

If you’re more of a freshwater angler, fishing charters in Anna Maria Island have just what you need. Stretching for 30+ miles and boasting a great stock of Bass, Catfish, Gar, Bluegill, Bream, and Crappie, the river is a definite must if you want to try the other side of Florida fishing. Occasionally, you will also find some Jacks and Redfish moving around, and a good number of Snook once the cold front kicks in.

Fishing Techniques

A really nice thing about fishing from Anna Maria Island charters is that you will see a variety of fish and terrains. Whether it’s bottom fishing, fly fishing, wade fishing, light tackle, heavy tackle, trolling offshore, or fishing from one of many piers -- you name it, it’s most likely possible and on the table.


Let’s start with the basics. If you want to get Redfish, Black Drum, and Trout, you’ll want to head to grassy areas, bridge pylons, and mangrove cuts. You will have good chances of landing Reds and Black Drum by using either shrimp or soft plastics. Light tackle usually does the trick.

Anglers fishing around the flats can try sight casting for Redfish, as well as fly fishing for Tarpon. Silver King - a moniker widely used for Tarpon around here - love live mullet and pinfish, but aren’t fussy about spoons either.

Snook like to hide around secluded waters but also go after feather jigs. If you’re fishing deeper bay waters, trolling should yield pretty good Mackerel. They like live sardines and threadfin.

Bottom fishing for Snapper and Grouper is an essential part of Florida fishing, so when you decide to go on such a trip, pack squid and lobster to entice these bottom fish.

Once you have explored the rich inshore fisheries of Anna Maria Island, you can head out far offshore to do some trolling with live bait for Wahoo, Tuna, and Mahi. Kite fishing works nicely for Sailfish.


Freshwater fishing can be super exciting in its own right. Though fly fishing around the Manatee River and some of its tributaries might be suitable for more experienced anglers, you can still learn a lot from local guides. You will need spinning and fly fishing equipment, as well as popping bugs, spinner baits, and plastic worms to take on the local fish.

Bass can be caught on live shiners, bluegill, and cut mullet, while Crappie will jump at live minnows. Fishing for Bream is productive if you use ultra light spin.

Need to know

Anglers who are fishing aboard a licensed charter don’t need a saltwater fishing license. If you want to explore the freshwater fisheries, you’ll want to know if the body of water you’re planning to fish around requires possessing a license. It’s best to consult the Florida Fish and Wildlife to get the updated info on current regulations and limits.

If you’re fishing for the very first time, you should consult with the captain about where your trip will take you and what you can expect in terms of the weather and the tide. However, no matter where you are going and what you are fishing for, you will want to bring sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, enough water to stay hydrated, and possibly medications against sea sickness, depending on how far offshore you will be going.

Plus, you will also want to bring some food and beverages, and a camera. If you’re planning on fishing with your kids, you should check with the captain if he provides life jackets, though this is the case most of the time.

Anna Maria Island
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Anna Maria Island Fishing Seasons

Snook, Trout, and Tripletail are around in good numbers. Inshore action is warm but can turn into a super productive day on the water. You can also check out the rivers and nearby lakes.

Fishing is getting better. Besides Tripletail, Snook, and Trout, you can now get brutish Redfish as well as some Kingish around the bay waters. Black Drum is another option. Offshore you might get some Wahoo, but it’s tough.

As spring slowly approaches, there are more fish to sample. You can get Redfish, Black Drum, Snook, and Kingfish. Go trolling for Spanish Mackerel and look for Cobia. Amberjacks are around in high numbers.

Inshore fisheries are lit up with Trout, Flounder, some Snook, and of course, Tarpon. The action is super hot near the northern tip of the island where the Silver Kings pass. Offshore you can get Wahoo and Mahi.

You can enjoy great trolling offshore, catching Mahi and Wahoo. Bottom fishing can be super productive and can yield pretty impressive Amberjack. Tarpon are still abundant inshore, so it’s the right time for fly fishing.

More and more game fish start biting hard out there. Kingfish, Mahi, Sailfish, and some Tuna are on the run. You can also get Snapper and Grouper. It’s a perfect way to start the summer.

Bottom fishing is a really productive way to spend a day on the water. Check out the reefs and pull up Amberjack, Grouper, Snapper, and Triggerfish. Trolling can get you Mahi, Wahoo, and Mackerel.

The bite is on fire, with Amberjack, Cobia, Snapper, Grouper, Mackerel, and Wahoo all out there in the open. Whether it’s trolling or bottom fishing, you’re most likely coming home with a big catch.

If you’re up for some fine offshore fishing, go after King Mackerel, Amberjacks, and Wahoo. Inshore saltwater is still good, but you can also try freshwater for Bass, Bream, and Crappie.

Wahoo make their second run of the year, as ferocious and hard-hitting as their spring streak. Inshore waters are growing rich with Redfish and Black Drum.

Inshore, Redfish are all over the place, followed by their cousins, Black Drum. It’s inshore fishing at its finest, with some of these creatures also requiring solid skills and almost heavy tackle. You can get some Tuna offshore.

It’s getting colder, but not so much for fishing. On an average day you’ll be coming back home with bags of Redfish, some Trout, Flounder, as well as Bream. If you head offshore, you can target Sailfish, Wahoo, and Tuna.

Anna Maria Island Fishing Calendar

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Top Fishing Techniques in Anna Maria Island

  1. Deep Sea Fishing

Top Targeted Species in Anna Maria Island









King Mackerel (Kingfish)

King Mackerel (Kingfish)

Spanish Mackerel

Spanish Mackerel

Grouper (Gag)

Grouper (Gag)

Spotted Seatrout

Spotted Seatrout