Before purchasing a recreational saltwater fishing license or permit, please make sure you understand what qualifies as Florida residency and whether you really need a license or permit based on the exemptions.
Sheepshead have already started to infiltrate the flats, shell bottom creeks, canals, and rivers. Most of the fish that we have been seeing are on the smaller side, but normally this means that the deeper rock piles and edges will be holding the big ones. The two locally known reefs, “Bahia Beach & Port Manatee” are great places to start looking for the bigger convicts. Deep water canals and bridges will also be holding them. Look for oysters or rocks and focus on fishing around structure. As far as the rig goes, I like about 24” of 15-20lb Ohero fluorocarbon leader paired with a No. 1 live bait hook. Depending on the depth and current, I will use Joyfish Split Shot weights to gently get the bait to the bottom. Live or cut pieces of Shrimp will work just fine, or if you can get some fiddler crabs they can’t resist them. The key to catching Sheepshead is “feeling” the bite. They are known for eating the bait right off the hook. Unless they are pretty excited, the bite is fairly soft and gentle. I always tell my clients, “If you think you got a bite, you did – Set the hook!” Once hooked, they are feisty fish and have tremendous power for their size. Sheepshead must be at least 12” total length to harvest, the bag limit is 15 per person, and they provide excellent table fair.
Fishing in Tampa Bay is diverse. From inshore and backcountry fishing for snook, redfish, sea trout and tarpon, to the nearshore zone for snapper, kingfish, grouper, permit, and cobia – Fishing in the state of Florida really doesn’t get any better than what you will find right here in Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay’s Snook and Redfish bite has been has hot! Inside the bay snook are bunching back up for the spawn, and the redfish are schooled up as well make for some fun fishing. Snook have been averaging anywhere from 20”-30” with a few large biting as well. Redfish have been top of the slot size 27” or even as large as 36” and we are catching them in shallow water 2′ or less. Live bait and Cut bait have both been working well. Trout fishing has also be outstanding, and getting a few for a fresh fish dinner hasn’t been a problem.
Night fishing is always a bonus, as bridge lights attract baitfish, which draw in predators. From June through October, tarpon patrol the shadowlines of most Tampa Bay bridges and anglers drifting live baitfish or accurately casting MirrOlures, D.O.A. Baitbusters and swimbaits will put a few nocturnal ‘poons in the air.
Tampa has an overall average depth of 12 feet, but this is broken up by huge natural grass flats for prime sight fishing opportunities, as well as deeper channels that house much larger inshore gamefish.
The Johnny Kellar raises money for our charity partners and is also the first Old Salt tournament of the year. It offers a great opportunity to get off the couch, get out on the water (maybe burn off a some holiday calories…), catch some fish and get back in the tournament groove.
Where found: a Gulf species that may occur in the Atlantic waters of extreme south-eastern Florida; adults predominantly found INSHORE residing in bays and inlets but may move OFFSHORE during winter months; young occur INSHORE in shallow bays.
Not only is fishing during the night convenient, it also makes sense. Most species are nocturnal and prefer to feed when the sun comes down. This rings especially true during the hottest months of the year.
Locate the parks, agencies, and municipalities that manage facilities with access to the water. Rules and fees that apply to facilities differ widely, so make sure you check with the appropriate authority before you travel. Also, check the Artificial Reefs webpage to identify where New York’s artificial fishing and diving reefs are located.
Reel Water Charters Offers both Inshore Fishing & Tarpon Fishing Charters in and around the Tampa Bay, and St. Petersburg area. Covering the West central section including St. Pete Beach, Ft. Desoto, Treasure Island Beach, Anna Maria, Tampa,Fl., and the surrounding areas. Captain Kyle Nifong’s knowledge of the surrounding waters is the key to finding the fish that you desire to catch.
We take fishing regulations seriously because we’re committed to conservation. It’s important to know and respect the local fishing regulations to help protect and sustain the fisheries. At best, it’s good sportsmanship. At worst, being unfamiliar is a prescription for fines and penalties. We must all do our small part in protecting the fisheries for future generations to come. Please learn more about Florida fishing regulations and how to acquire your fishing license.
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Dos Hombres – John’s Pass Fishing Charters, in Madeira Beach, is a Tampa Metro area fishing charter service. The boat is 30 feet long and 12 feet wide, made in 2000 by Island Hopper. It cruises at 23 knots and includes spacious seating, under a large canvas top that protects passengers from the sun. Captain Anthony and his team win high praise from past clients for their friendly attitudes and their familiarity with the best fishing spots.
The answer is the first-class inshore game fishing, of course! You will absolutely love fighting Snook. Once these Tampa Bay superstars are on the line, they put up quite the fight. They are a must for any experienced fisherman and a “bucket list” catch for any beginner angler. Search for Snook on a summer evening. There are huge numbers of impressively large Snook being taken from the Port Manatee channel in Tampa Bay every year. Or you can pursue Redfish out on the flats, mangroves, and underwater structures. Those tough fighters are just unrelenting when hooked. Or to be more precise, IF hooked – Redfish are often referred to as the fish that won’t quit.
Vincent, Great question. I did do one charter where I had two customers that wanted to split a charter. I went ahead and made the arrangements for them to fish together with me. Unfortunately for them personality’s clashed between them. It made for a uncomfortable trip for both of them and me. Since that incident I do not any longer mix charters. If you would like to call me maybe I could work something out to accommodate you doing a charter with me or possibly another captain in my net work. Thank you, Capt. Steve 813-727-8843 P.S. I apologize for the delay in response. I just noticed I had the notification for a question this morning.
From targeting specific species to the tall tales of Tampa Bay fishing folklore, we sit down with local Captains and others within the fishing world to discuss pertinent topics, techniques, instruction and many other areas of interest that can give you the edge out on the water. Check here frequently for new additions or feel free to email us with topics you’d like us to cover.
On a particularly good year, the season can last up to 7-8 months. As any angler half worth his bait knows, that’s hardly standard for any Tarpon fishery. Does someone you care about suffer from a seemingly unbreakable ‘Tarpon curse’? Bring him to Tampa Bay. He should be completely cured within a day or two.
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I started the month off on vacation fishing in Venice, Louisiana catching Bull Redfish in the 40” range. These fish are hard pulling and don’t give up. Every year I like to make a fishing trip to Louisiana as they have some amazing fishing there. This year has been the toughest year yet, but I was still able to catch some of the big bulls they have!
The biggest difference between inshore and offshore fishing is the depth of the water, with 30 meters of water being an accepted line-in-the-sand acting as the border between the two. When you’re fishing inshore, you’ll usually be within a few miles of shore and, more often than not, within casting distance of it working popular spots like beaches, rocky shorelines, piers, jetties, flats, mangroves and islands with light tackle. Offshore trips that often require a commitment of 12 to 72 hours will take you anywhere from 30 to 130 miles away from the coast. This kind of water warrants larger sportfishing boats equipped with heavier gear and technology like sonar and radio. The techniques used out here are less hands on – until a marlin is trying to steal all of your line – and you may only catch one or two, but hookups can last hours.
Although high-grade conventional saltwater reels and rods provide the necessary backbone for big game anglers fishing offshore, those who are just beginning to fish in saltwater are better off starting out with a quality medium weight spinning combo. Unless you are already well versed in the art of casting a conventional reel, a spinning reel will help you to cast further while avoiding the frustrating backlashes and bird’s nests that are inherent with conventional gear. A quality spinning combo that is rated for 10 to 25 test line will also cover you in a variety of different venues from surf and pier fishing to drifting in bays or intertidal estuaries.
With more than 25 years of saltwater fishing experience tucked into his tackle box, Captain Steve Betz is a full time Tampa Bay Fishing guide that promises to provide you one of the best fishing experiences you can.
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Island Lure Fishing Charters of St. Petersburg, FL offers Inshore Fishing Charters as well as Tampa Bay Tarpon Guides and Deep Sea Fishing Charters for the Tampa FL and St. Petersburg FL regions. Conveniently located only 30 minutes from Downtown Tampa in St. Pete Beach FL and Tierra Verde, FL. Join Capt. John Fidi and Capt. Gene Maxwell for a Memorable and Exciting Fishing Trip!
Thanks Captain You are truly a professional! Easy going and you did not yell at us like the last captain. We fished a lot of the back country of Tampa Bay. What a view from your boat I will be sending my clients your way again and again.
Our fishing rights are under attack like never before in the history of this nation! I urge everyone, saltwater and freshwater, boat or landside fishermen to get involved in the politics of fishing now! (See the two “Warnings” below) There are so-called ‘environmental’ groups getting ‘tough’ with the politicians and pretending they are pro fishing, when in reality they want all uses of our waters to cease immediately. No more fishing, recreational or commercial, no water skiing, no boating, no houses on the shores, also no hunting, no hiking in the wild, NO NOTHING!
This package is for 1 or 2 people with just a little time on the hands (2 hour trip). Departure time is flexible based on your request and the captain’s schedule. You will target Trout and whatever bites on the flats, perhaps even Redfish or a Shark! A fishing license and gear are provided.