It’s worth noting that the open season for some of the species tends to be very limited. It’s always a good idea to check with your captain or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission before making the charter arrangements.
One of the area’s true salts, Hawkins taught me an important tactical point: Fishing a bridge doesn’t necessarily mean hugging the structure. There are times when pompano and other species will feed close to the structure, but consider that the eddies spun by flowing tides can create feeding scenarios 100 yards from the pilings.
Snook clearly represent the class of the inshore game fish. Their speed, strong runs and occasional jumps make them the fish of choice for many Florida anglers. Snook are available year round; however the cooler, winter water temperatures slow their metabolisms significantly and make them a difficult target during our coldest months. A wide range of artificial and natural baits can be used to catch snook. The most commonly used method is live baiting with scaled sardines or “whitebait”. However, be sure to review all current fishing regulations before keeping any Snook as this species is heavily protected. Spring and fall fishing typically takes place along inshore structure…river mouths, mangrove shorelines and residential docks. Come late spring, fish move out to the beaches, gather in larger groups and can be caught in greater numbers. During the hottest months of summer, fish tends to feed best during low light periods and at night.
The Tampa, Clearwater, and Tampa Bay areas offer a broad array of Tampa and Clearwater fishing charters. Your Tampa fishing trip begins fishing along our beautiful, world class beaches for game fish like Snook, whose drag screaming runs and jumps will excite even veteran anglers. If redfish are your primary target, you can pursue these tough battlers out on the Tampa Bay fishing flats, or in tight against the mangroves or other shoreline structure. Speckled sea trout represent our most readily available game fish in Tampa, FL. Trout can be caught most times of the year and often, from late November to early April, in great abundance. During the spring and fall months, near shore Clearwater fishing, (2 – 9 miles out) offers the opportunity to catch a wide range of species including Spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper, kingfish, grouper, and others. All of these species can be caught in Tampa and Clearwater using artificial lures or live bait.
Most pilings bear numbers for maintenance reference. Keep track of where you caught fish and note specific points such as piling design, compass directions and any particular markings such as ropes, graffiti or excessive pelican guano.
5/29/09 Snook season closes on June 1The recreational harvest season for snook closes on June 1 in Florida’s Atlantic coastal and inland waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River. The recreational harvest season for snook in all other Florida waters closed on May 1. Snook season will reopen in all Florida waters on Sept. 1.
If your dream day on the water is casting to and hooking a giant 100lb. + tarpon, or watching a big snook blast a live bait out of the water under the mangroves? Or, maybe stalking redfish in the gin clear grassflats of the gulf or plugging the flats with topwater lures or throwing jigs for large gator trout. Or, possibly slipping over the side of the boat and wading to any of these species in an attempt to sneak up and hook one of our Tampa Bay gamefish while being ultra-close! Or, the ultimate way to beat the heat and book a night trip in the search of feeding snook in the docklights or bridge tarpon at night. These are all different scenarios that play out year after year while fishing Tampa Bay area. Many of my Tampa Bay fishing charters see us catching more than a dozen different species in just a four hour fishing charter! We can fish St. Pete Beach in the mornings for spanish and king mackerel, sharks, cobia, snapper, grouper, and then turn around and fish the Tampa Bay flats for snook, tarpon, redfish, trout, flounder, jack crevalle, and more. All within a few miles and minutes of each other. There’s a lot of exciting options for fishing the Tampa Bay area and I can help you discover them.
Captain Anthony took us right where the fish were biting! Snook where constantly biting, and Captain Anthony was super helpful and knowledgeable about inshore fishing in the area. Would recommend to a…nyone looking for a great inshore fish charter and experience! See More
Bag and length limits apply to listed saltwater species. There are no bag, possession, or length limits on game or nongame fish, except as listed in this guide. See definitions of daily bag and possession limits.
7: At St. Petersburg, good numbers of bluefish have been feeding on trout in lower Tampa Bay. There’s a few redfish around the oyster bars near channels that dump water off the flats. Snook are moving into the backcountry, residential canals, and up the rivers and creeks. The trout bite is very good coming off the full moon and will only get better with the cold front. The sheepshead bite is also picking up as they continue to show themselves in greater numbers. Rock piles along the coast, in Tampa Bay, and around the Gandy and Howard Frankland Bridges are good areas to target, reports Capt. Ray Markham of Backwater Promotions (941-723-2655).
Use the Right Fishing Knot – The best way to make sure you don’t lose that next world record fish is to make sure you’re using the right knot. You need to learn a fishing knot that can retain 100% of its strength when tied, and only the bimini twist (aka 20 times around know) can do just that. The right knot can make the difference between a big catch, or a big disappointment. For this reason, we strongly recommend keeping the Pro-Knot Saltwater Fishing Knot Manual with you at all times.
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Military Gold Sportsman’s License (includes Saltwater Fishing, Hunting and Freshwater Fishing licenses; and Snook, Lobster, Wildlife Management Area, Archery, Muzzleloading Gun, Crossbow, Deer, Turkey, and Florida Waterfowl permits) (sold only at tax collector’s office) (not available as 5-year) (only available to resident retired, and resident active duty, military)
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.
“Always study the bottom on your fish finder when running to and from the grounds, and even when fishing. You will discover new spots this way. When I see an interesting area, I save it in my GPS. It’s these little finds that often pay big dividends, as they’re not likely pressured like the more heralded spots. I also want to know what the ocean features are like, i.e. temperature breaks, rips, etc. I want to immerse myself with the workings of the environment. You need to get in a fish’s head.”
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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!
Tampa Bay is world renowned for some of the best light tackle inshore fishing. This region includes the pristine flats of the various bays making up the greater Tampa Bay, along with deep channel cuts leading into the Port of Tampa. Tarpon, the “Silver King,” are plentiful in Tampa Bay. They often weigh more than 100 pounds with some occasionally topping 200 pounds – a real thrill on light pound test line. The Tampa area is also famous for spearfishing. An abundance of large game fish, such as cobia, snapper, kingfish, bonito, mackerel and grouper, can be found in the Gulf waters.
Anglers either use an uptide rod between 9 and 10 feet in length to cast from the boat or a shorter downtide rod between 6 and 8 feet. Lines are usually between 18 pounds and 50 pounds breaking strain dependent on the species of fish being targeted. Reels are usually multipliers, although fixed spool reels are being used more and more. Baits are similar to those used for beach and rock fishing except they are often larger since larger fish are targeted. The species will include all the beach species, but now also include big conger eels and small sharks like tope and smoothhound.