Palma Sola Bay is a shallow and sheltered saltwater bay in west Manatee County that drains into Anna Maria Sound. The bay provides a habitat for manatees, dolphins, wading birds, fish, and other wildlife. The bay is also connected to Perico Bayou on the northwest side. The bay includes shallow grass flats, sandy pockets, deeper channels and cuts, mangrove edged shoreline, and residential canals and docks.
The dominant feature of the bay is a vast seagrass flat that is the basis of the area’s healthy and productive fishery. Seagrasses provide shelter and food to a diverse marine community of animals, including tiny invertebrates to large fish, crabs, turtles, marine mammals, and birds. Game fish will often be located in and around the seagrass beds, waiting to ambush prey that swims by within striking distance. Additionally, the deeper channels near the seagrass flats provide protection and transportation corridors during lower tides or periods of cold or warmer water temperatures.
Fish that can be found in the bay at varying peaks throughout the year include redfish, trout, snook, tarpon, pompano, and sharks. There are a couple of productive strategies to catch fish in the bay. One is to locate a healthy section of seagrass and drift or pole across it, while fan casting and looking for fish or fish activity. If the grass flat is not producing fish, change the depth you are fishing or fish in a different tide condition. The edges of the grass flats or sandy pockets nearby will also hold fish.
Another strategy is to fish the mangrove-lined edges of the bay when they are flooded. Mangroves are important feeding and nursery grounds for a huge variety of fish. The complex tangle of roots provides a habitat for crabs, shrimp, and fishes, and larger predator fish like snook and redfish.
One approach to fishing the mangroves is to locate sections that are flooded at a given tide level, or have a deeper undercut bank, or locate creeks that provide flow through the mangroves. Once you locate a suitable mangrove shoreline, cast paddle tails rigged weedless into the variety of pockets along the bank or to drift live bait (such as pinfish or shrimp) next to or into these same areas.
There can be big snook and redfish around, so you need to be prepared to pull a big fish out of the tangled roots, or it will be lost. So heavier rods, heavier leader (30-40 pound), and tighter drag are all things to consider to ensure you can land a big fish.
Capt Nate is an expert at fishing this area and the huge variety of other prime fishing areas nearby. Palma Sola Bay is only minutes from most of his launching and pick-up spots. Book your trip now for the prime spring and summer seasons.