One of my favorite times of the year to take people fishing here on Anna Maria Island is in the winter time, for numerous reasons. Winter time is a very short and sweet period where the water temperatures drop into the low 60 degrees and sometimes get down into the 50’s. This drop in water temperature causes different species of fish to behave differently.
Inshore Fishing: A Lethargic Adventure
During the colder months, inshore species like snook, redfish, tarpon, jack crevalle, and others migrate up the river and become more lethargic than usual. Speckled sea trout fishing becomes highly rewarding in the colder seasons as the big fish can typically be found up in the shallow grass flats. Utilizing lures such as topwater plugs, jigs, and soft plastic lures proves to be an effective way to target these fish around Anna Maria Island.
Bottom Fishing Adventures
On most of my fishing charters during the colder months, we engage in bottom fishing. This involves dropping baitfish, shrimp, crab, or a chunk of something to the bottom using a weight. This method targets species such as sheepshead, hogfish, snapper, and more. Sheepshead fishing, in particular, is a significant fishery in the winter time, as they move into our bays to breed. The productive fishing charters during these months result in bringing home a substantial catch for dinner.
Nearshore Bounty: Up to 9 Miles Offshore
Beyond the beaches, nearshore fishing (up to 9 miles off the beach) is even more productive than inshore fishing. The drastic drop in water temperatures causes some of the tastiest fish in our gulf waters to move into shallower waters, easily targeted and caught. One such delicious fish is the hogfish, a bright orange species with stunning colors and patterns. The months of November, December, January, and early February mark the spawning period for hogfish, making them super hungry and curious. Nearshore fishing charters during this time typically focus on depths ranging from 10 to 40 feet, targeting mainly sheepshead and hogfish.
Enjoying the Outdoors with AMI Excursions
It is a great time of the year to enjoy some cool weather and get outside with the family. Over the last few years of charter fishing full time, I have found it is very difficult to have a bad time out on the water, whether the fish are biting or not. At AMI Excursions, we have the tricks, tools, and equipment to make them bite regardless of the time of the year. Fishing from a brand new 2023 T Craft boatworks vessel enhances your fishing experience on Anna Maria Island.
Choosing AMI Excursions for Your Winter Fishing
I know there are many charter fishing companies to choose from on your winter fishing excursion down here on Anna Maria Island. I hope you give me the opportunity to show you why we are different from the rest! There is nothing that makes me happier than seeing that bright orange Hogfish getting reeled up to the surface. I will be looking forward to fishing with you and your family this year on the beautiful Anna Maria Island!