The waters are still a bit cooler than the kind a bunch of fish like to aggressively chew in. Fishing conditions, however, have slowly but surely begun to improve. On a recon mission Tuesday, I visited both Sunshine Skyway bridge fishing piers and th…

8 In the north end of Tampa Bay, “The sheepshead bite remains good. Rock piles, oyster bars, bridge pilings, and anything with barnacles are holding them. I’m fishing for them with pinched shrimp on a jig head,” reports Capt. Jake Whitfield Florida Outdoor Adventures (813-997-5980). Black drum up to 24 inches are also mixed in with the sheepshead. Trout are biting shrimp fished under a popping cork in deeper water of the creeks. Some “rat” redfish are also in the same areas, Whitfield says.

Over the years Steve stalked the many varieties of fish expanding his knowledge of Tampa Bay. With more than 25 years of saltwater fishing experience tucked into his tackle box he began his career doing full time Fishing charters in Tampa Bay.

Selecting and spooling up with the right line for the type of fishing that you plan to do is an essential component in successful saltwater fishing. Because of the damage dealt out by constant exposure to saltwater and intense sunlight, it is important to always buy a good quality fishing line and change it often. Stick with the brands sold by major manufacturers and avoid ‘bargains’ on lesser-known products that may fail when put to the test. Losing the fish of a lifetime simply because you momentarily embraced a false sense of economy is a tough one to swallow.

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.

Capt. Steve has lived in Tampa since 1969. He relocated to Tampa at the young age of 9 years old along with his mother, father and 5 brothers and sisters. Steve’s passion for fishing started at a young age fishing the local ponds, lakes and rivers. I the early 80’s Steve was introduced to the world of Snook fishing. Snook fishing was like no other he had done and he quickly became addicted to the salt.

Once you get the party rocking, freeline live shrimp, pilchards or threads on 2/0 circle hooks toward the pilings. Let out line in 5-foot increments to “count” back and locate the hot zone. In strong current or choppy conditions, add a splitshot or replace the circle hook with a jighead to keep your bait from kiting too high in the water column.

During a license year, one red drum over the stated maximum length limit may be retained when affixed with a properly completed Red Drum Tag and one red drum over the stated maximum length limit may be retained when affixed with a properly completed Bonus Red Drum Tag. Any fish retained under authority of a Red Drum Tag or a Bonus Red Drum Tag may be retained in addition to the daily bag and possession limit as stated in this section.

The strength of the knot that connects your main line to the hook or lure is your most important link in successfully fighting a big saltwater bruiser …so make it strong! There are numerous effective knots that can work well in a variety of applications, but one personal favorite is the double palomar; it is both easy to tie and extremely dependable.

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.

Other anglers say that inshore fishing is anything within 3 miles of shore, while others say it’s based on the kind of fish you are catching (but I’ve seen people catch pelagics in a few feet of water so this can’t always hold true).

Tampa Bay Florida and the surrounding waters of the Gulf of Mexico provide anglers with a tremendous variety of fish species in one of the United States best vacation destinations. Tampa Bay Charter’s goal is to provide reliable, detailed information for the fisherman in the family so that they can make the most of their time in the area.

Tampa fishing and its inshore potential have long been renowned way beyond The Sunshine State. These waters are brimming with the likes of Snook, Redfish, and Tarpon during most of the year, with a wide range of smaller Shark species to keep you busy on even the slowest of days. In fact, there’s such a variety of species cruising the Tampa flats year-round, you’d be seriously hard-pressed to find a local fishing guide that recalls the last time he and his guests came back from the trip empty-handed. But take our word for it!

Spanish Sardine Fishing Charters is a St. Petersburg-based fishing guide service, providing Tampa Bay fishers with an in-shore fishing experience, during which they can catch trout, snook, sheepshead, flounders, redfish, and sharks. Spanish Sardine Fishing Charters also leads offshore fishing expeditions. The Spanish Sardine, the company’s boat, is 24 feet long and includes a 250 HP Yamaha Outboard. Interested clients can go to the company’s slip at O’Neill’s Marina, or they can request a pick-up anywhere in Tampa Bay.

8: In the north end of Tampa Bay, “Snook are in their usual fall season spots. Most of the fish are small, but on Thursday we had a 29-inch fish, and two just over 34 inches,” reports Capt. Jay Plastic of Stealth Fishing Charters. (813-494-2048). Small redfish are being caught in the creeks and on the oyster bars. Trout are in the deeper holes. Most fish are small, but a few keepers up to 19 inches are being caught. “This upcoming cold front should really get the trout bite going,” reports Plastic.

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