July’s Fishing Charter Report for Clearwater Beach, St.Pete Beach, and Tampa bay has been a mixed bag of snapper, sharks, redfish, snook, trout, and a few others being caught. July is a Hot month and fishing can vary day to day depending on the heat and rain, but we are still Catching!!!

Cockroach Bay and Bishop's Harbor are both good fishing spots, located in the middle of Tampa Bay. Deeper channels between the islands just outside of Skyway Bridge near the south shore of lower Tampa Bay are also good fishing spots.

With Captain Mark as your fishing guide, you will enjoy all that our beautiful bay has to offer. A day fishing includes beautiful back country flats fishing and wildlife vieiwing opportunities such as dolphin, manatee, and rosette spoonbills nestled in the mangroves of Tampa Bay.

Almost all of the area’s most popular species can be targeted on fly. This includes Tarpon, Redfish, Snook, Sea Trout, Cobia and more. The water clears up significantly Fall thru Spring, allowing for an unparalleled sight fishing experience. While mainly an inshore activity, there’s no shortage of nearshore fly fishing opportunities either. Among others, Mackerel and Albacore are well known to take an inviting fly.

To truly experience bowfishing in all its glory, many Captains recommend opting for a nightly excursion. While daytime trips  average around 50 shots per ‘angler’, that number can as much as double once it goes dark.

Raising Seatrout is made easy with greenback or shrimp, although they’ll typically jump on any well-presented bait. According to the FWC, keepers must be more than 15 and less than 20 inches in total length. There is a daily bag limit of 6 per harvester.

Best value for the money. Maximize time on the water. This is a great trip to exercise both patience and energy. Excellent choice for beginners with a desire to learn a lot or the experienced angler wishing to maximize his skills.

“Hit and Run Charters” owned and operated by Captain Tyler Kapela is a professional fishing charter service that provides clients with the ultimate inshore/near-shore fishing experience. Whether you are an expert in search of a trophy or an absolute beginner Captain Tyler will cater to all of your fishing needs. He is a passionate, knowledgeable and experienced master of his craft with a calm, patient and fun loving demeanor with a knack for catching redfish, snook, large trout, inshore grouper, and especially TARPON.

For a natural chum job, scrape the pilings to crush and release barnacles or mussels. The scent stimulates sheepshead, drum, redfish and pompano—all likely recipients of cut shrimp dropped into the scent zone on 1⁄4-ounce jigheads. (Light hooks and splitshots also work, but jigheads effect a more streamlined presentation that drops quicker in current without spooking fish.)

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Trout fishing closures have been eliminated as of February 1 for the entire state, so this means that the trout season is open for take for recreational anglers. Strong management practices for this fish have allowed the additional months of open season without reducing the numbers of fish to the point where it would negatively affect the SPR (spawning potential ratio). Speckled trout are pretty tasty. I have one client who says this is his favorite eating fish, so I am often on the hunt for it. Speckled trout are available on most grass flats. Look for those with good moving water – that’s where you’ll find the best action. Sarasota Bay is a top spot for these fish. Longboat Pass and New Pass areas bring strong water flow into the areas in between, and the grass flats west of the canal going into Cannon’s Marina are some of the best for trout fishing. The Sister Keys and the flats to the south and east of that area and north to Jewfish Key just inside Longboat Pass are awesome places to start looking for trout. If you use live shrimp under a popping cork or a DOA Deadly Combo, you will quickly reach your trout limit.

The longevity and success of my business was built on repeat clientele and referrals. Please take a moment and read through a couple of my testimonials to see what they say. Fish with me once, and you’re hooked!

Out there he’ll find plenty of bigger grouper, snapper and amberjack. Blackfin tuna kick in at 25-30 miles offshore. But since grouper migrate, in cooler weather they can be found closer to shore. Kingfish can be caught in the spring and fall (think Easter and Thanksgiving).

With a second set of controls up in the tower, sight fishing ability is greatly enhanced. The net effect is more time spent fishing where the fish are. The tower also increases the chances at getting a good cast at a roving Cobia, Shark or Tarpon that otherwise might not be seen.

The best time to fish for snook is the beginning of spring through early summer. Canals, small, deep channels and lighted docks draw in snook to feed. Huge numbers of large fish are taken from the Port Manatee channel in Tampa Bay.

We have finally had a couple good cold fronts push through and hang around long enough to cool the water temperatures throughout the bay. As we move towards December, we will sometimes switch gears and do some different types of fishing. Speckled Trout, Flounder, and Sheepshead are a few of my favorites that are great to fish for during the winter months.

I have fished for tarpon from Boca Grande to the Keys, however I do not think there is a better fishery than what is here in the Tampa Bay and Sarasota area. That coupled with the high quality of this group of guides should open up the area to many more who are not aware of it.

My husband, my 12 year old daughter and I booked a 3/4 day fishing trip with capt. Chet and had a brilliant day. We have been coming to Tampa/Clearwater for the last 5 years and have booked various private charters but this trip was definitely the best we’ve had! Capt Chet was very patient and accommodating with our daughter and had her catching fish all day. We stopped over a spot and were constantly catching jack crevalle, trout and mackerel. My husband really wanted to try and catch a tarpon so Chet took us to a spot where he thought was our best chance to catch one but unfortunately we had no luck. We are back in sept and will definitely be booking another trip with Chet!

If you’re interested in getting even more insight into the fishing areas, be sure to check out our Insider Plus membership because I show the exact spots I see/catch each fish along with all of my pre-trip planning activities… here’s a link to learn more about it: http://v2.saltstrong.com/members.

Captain Steve made our trip fun with his extensive knowledge of the Bay and guided us to a very successful fishing experience. We caught dozens of snook and sea trout. We are looking forward to our next fishing trip this summer!

Capt. Matt has not only put me on fish every time I have booked a charter – He got me my biggest tarpon ever 150+!!! He is the best Captain I have ever fished with and I recommend him highly. Always a great time and always finds the fish! -John Lashbrook

Everyone’s favorite bycatch, fishing for Flounder is a year-long festival. This is one species where double digit hook-ups are often considered the norm on a good day. Often joining them on a dinner plate, Pompano is considered a worthy opponent by most veteran fisherfolk. They’re usually scouted along the beaches or near the bridge pilings, depending on the season.

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.

The piers are closed through May 5 for renovation. When they reopen, there is no charge to fish from them, although there is a $5 per car entry fee into the park. They both have bait shops, concession stands and restrooms.

There are shallow flats, and miles of peaceful back-country which are the breeding grounds of most game fish. You can target schools of Redfish roaming the flats, Trout feeding in the miles of healthy sea Tarpon Rolling along the bridges and passes throughout the bay, or Snook lying in the miles of undeveloped Mangroves lining Tampa Bay.

Terry Tomalin, the Tampa Bay Times’ larger-than-life outdoors editor, traveled Florida and the world to take readers on extraordinary adventures. He died on May 19 after suffering a heart attack. He was 55.

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.

Another tip is to fish the best tidal current times. The strongest tides will be before and after the full and new moon each month. The stronger tidal current brings cooler water, along with higher oxygen levels and forage. You could also try fishing under and around bridges that throw more shade, which in turn keeps the water cooler. Bridges at this time of year are excellent for good size Mangrove Snapper, besides all the other species that hang around them, like Pompano, Black Drum, etc. Deep water docks that have good tidal flow running around them will usually hold fish.

Captain Matt Santiago is a Full Time Guide and was born and raised on the waters of Tampa Bay. He is also the founder of the Tampa Bay Fishing Guide Association. With over 20 years experience fishing local waters, both inshore and offshore, his angling knowledge and skill have been proven by several first place and top five finishes in some of the area’s largest fishing tournaments. A Tampa Bay Fishing Charter with Captain Matt is an experience you will never forget.

Hi, my name is Capt. Greg Peterson, and I am a full time fly fishing and light tackle guide working in the Tampa Bay area. Fishing is and always has been my passion ever since I can remember. To be a guide is a dream come true and also a huge commitment. I work my hardest to make sure my clients are given the best chance for success. I will provide hands on expert instruction for the novice angler and challenge the experienced angler to the best of their ability. Tampa Bay and the surrounding gulf waters offer world class fishing year round that many people do not know about and the travel and accessibility are second to none. Come see what Tampa Bay has to offer.

Capt. TJ Stewart has the knowledge and intuition to find and hook the big ones – the battle will be up to you. Imagine the thrill and the power felt when a two hundred pound tarpon breaches the surface of the sky blue waters of Tampa Bay attempting to cast away the hook from his mouth. The adventure can be yours with the help of a professional fishing guide who knows where to find the fish and how to make them strike.

This winter has been amazingly warm in the Tampa Bay area. January days hitting the upper 70s and even 80? Pinch me! As an angler, if you get out before or after any cold fronts, you can find some pretty awesome inshore fishing here on the Suncoast. Approaching fronts will keep offshore boats tied to the dock most of the times but for inshore anglers, if you do your homework, fishing in protected areas can take place almost any time. The key is to find a few protected “honey holes” that are out of the wind. When you do find your honey holes, the action can be hot! Here is a guide for the various fish you’ll find around Tampa Bay this winter and what jigs you should use to catch them.

Tampa offers inshore, backwater, and flats fisherman shots at redfish, snook, sea trout, black drum, flounder, snapper, and many other local favorites throughout the year. Seasonally, we also get the Tarpon migration and better shots at pelagic species such as mackerel and cobia. Even big game fisherman who love to fight on light tackle will find shots at grouper and sharks to be abundant.

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