There are a lot of variables when it comes to catching fish. Even when it comes to fishing specifically in the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay. The time of year, the time of day, weather, bait, tackle, technique, and of course location (and all the various features of any specific fishing hole) all factor into what we catch.
And if we’re not catching what we want to catch, then we make adjustments to those variables. That’s the fun of fishing!
Well, that challenge to make adjustments is what should make fishing fun—but those same variables can also make fishing frustrating. That’s why you need a fishing captain who not only knows fish in general, but how to fish in this specific area.
In the waters around Anna Maria Island we’ve got so many tremendous environments that span deep water to estuary, sandy beach to dense mangrove, swift tidal passes to still, overlooked inlets. The things that make southwest Florida waters so much fun for fishing are also what make them challenging.
That’s why you need an expert fishing captain who’s an expert in Manatee County fishing.
Fishing the Waters Off AMI
AMI waters are like a fish playground. So many different species of fish find exactly what they’re looking for here. (Just like people!)
Of course, to find exactly the fish you’re looking for, you need an expert. This can go a couple of ways: When you plan an AMI fishing charter, you might have a certain fish in mind already. (Florida Fish and Wildlife seasonal and permit regulations can help guide this decision.)
Or—and we recommend this way—you can simply turn to your expert fishing captain and say, “What kind of fishing would you recommend we do? How/where/when do you want to fish?” Captain Nate knows what will be fun.
Here’s a quick general summary of some of the Bradenton waters we might try, depending on what kind of fishing we all want to do:
- Fast-moving passes
- Sandy and/or grass shallows
- Docks and seawalls
- We even have shipwrecks!
Selecting the Right Bait, Tackle and Technique for AMI Fishing
Knowing the right spot is only one part of the expert fishing guide’s arsenal. Once you get there, you want to know what you’re casting out and how.
Again, it all comes down to all of those variables we listed at the top of this article. One thing leads to another leads to another, and that’s how your captain will help you select the right size and type of hook, and the right size and type of bait (live, frozen or lure), to go on the right weight line with the right weight sinkers.
Then your captain can guide you on how and where to cast and what to do if you get it just right—how quickly to reel verses how to hold and move the rod. What to do if you feel a nibble and what to do when you know you’ve got one on.
The point is, a great fishing guide knows what to do so that you get the fish in the boat—and have a great time doing it.
An Expert Fishing Captain Handles the Unexpected
Perhaps most importantly, an expert captain makes sure your fishing excursion goes smoothly. That means having a smart plan to begin with, and then making those little adjustments to keep things as good as they can be.
Yes, our waters in and around Manatee County are pretty idyllic—often very calm and warm, to match the weather above the surface, too. But your captain still needs exceptional boating skills to navigate all of these different waters safely, legally, and efficiently.
Once they get you to the spot, they need to know how to fish in such a way that you’re getting the kind of fishing day that you asked for.
And on top of everything else, an incredible fishing captain needs to be able to navigate the other people on his boat. He needs to know when to jump in and when to let families and loved ones enjoy their special day out together.
Making sure everyone has a blast while staying safe at the same time requires a good deal of experience, training and overall talent. With a great captain and fishing guide, you probably won’t even register just how skilled they are. You’ll be too wrapped up in enjoying your time out on the water. And that’s exactly what a great day of fishing should feel like.