Anna Maria Island (AMI) is just 474 acres of dry land alongside 83 acres of island waters. At the same time, it is one of the best places to fish, with the widest variety of opportunities, in Florida. It has direct ocean access, flats and backcountry fishing, and even freshwater fishing opportunities. All of this nestled at the mouth of the state’s largest open-water estuary system, Tampa bay. With over 200 species of fish and year-round fishing, let’s take a deeper look at what Anna Maria Island fishing has to offer.
AMI Ocean Access Beachside Fishing
Anna Maria Island’s west side faces directly into the Gulf of Mexico with an expansive coastal beach system. Along this coast there are opportunities, seasonally and year-round, to target several species of gamefish. This includes everything from monsters in the surf to many of Florida’s favorite deeper water species.
On the ocean access side of AMI, anglers can expect to target spanish mackerel and kingfish quite regularly. Alongside, grouper and snapper fishing is on par with the state’s best gulf side fisheries. In the fall you can target large cobia, while amberjack can be targeted all year long.
In the surf, some favorites include snook, pompano, and seasonal tarpon (especially during the yearly migration).
AMI Flats Fishing
On the east side of the island, AMI has direct access to its own system of grass flats and mangrove-lined shores. It’s here that there are opportunities to target Florida’s most sought-after shallow water gamefish species.
The mainstays of the area are snook, redfish, seatrout, and tarpon. Since AMI is located at the opening of Tampa Bay and backed by river-fed flats systems, all of these species can be found here most of the year. Alongside, flounder and several other popular shallow-water species can also be found.
AMI Backcountry Fishing
Located on the same side as the flats, across Anna Maria Sound are expansive backcountry systems. These are areas strewn with mangrove mazes, grass flats, oyster bars, channels, and multiple access points that many types of species use to access this area from all angles.
Much like Tampa Bay, these areas are home to snook, seatrout, redfish, and tarpon. These species are generally available all year long but can offer you above average numbers and size as compared to other areas of the state. You will also find shots at flounder, snapper, and even grouper.
Access to Freshwater Fishing
You heard that right. It might be hard to imagine a place engulfed by saltwater and the states best inshore fishing having freshwater fishing, but it does- up the Manatee River. The Manatee River is just a short boat ride away. This river starts as a freshwater source, then goes brackish, and finally mixes with the bay’s salt water.
There are over 30 miles of freshwater that can be accessed by the ocean up this river. In here you can target species such as bass, catfish, gar, and crappie. But, one of the main reasons saltwater fisherman venture up this river is for the winter and the temperate waters. During this season you can find redfish and snook packed up the river hanging out in the more comfortable temps.
AMI Charter Fishing
Here, Captain Nate regularly runs charters in the Anna Maria Island fishery and has the knowledge and the know-how to get you on your target species. Another benefit of a local fishing guide like this is that he knows where to find fish in the area, at any time of the year. There is always something biting and for an awesome day of Florida fishing off of AMI hiring a guide will be a sure bet for success in the area. Learn more: Anna Maria Island Fishing Charters