Each year, the bait-rich waterways of the Gulf attract a wide roster of pelagics and other predatory fish. Surface feeders such as Kingfish, Barracuda, Permit and Dorado all prosper throughout the summer months. Although live bait is preferred, these drag-stripping machines will rarely resist a fine-looking ‘topwater’ either.

So if you are traveling and want a simplified tackle box that is almost guaranteed to get you some strikes almost anywhere you can go saltwater fishing in the world (without having to haul along your entire garage full of tackle), here are the 7 fishing lures that you need to bring along.

One of the most exciting times of year here is the annual Tarpon migration. Tampa Bay fishing for Tarpon is second to none, on both spin and fly tackle. With the migration starting up in May, the charter boat spots fill up quick. Let Flats & Bay Fishing Charters schedule your day and get you on these fish!

Capt. Jason offers exceptional Tampa fishing charters here at Fishn Fl (formerly Chasing Tails Charters) out of the greater Tampa Bay area including: Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg & Anna Maria Island. He also runs seasonal charters in the Florida Keys and Homosassa, FL.

Description: dark stripe (variably present) extends from nose to in front of dorsal fin and “lights up” when fish is in feeding mode; no scutes; soft dorsal base less than twice the length of the anal fin base.

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.

It’s Frosty Out There – The first week in January confirmed that winter will come once again….5 – 6 nights straight with temperatures in the 30’s and 40’s….more than likely the coldest stretch of nights we’ll see this year. From a fishing guide’s perspective, that simply t more…

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 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.

Drifting live pilchards or threadfins downcurrent past pilings is a popular tarpon tactic, but don’t hesitate to fire down a small greenie on a light hook and splitshot. Mangrove snapper and the occasional grouper feed around bridge pilings just like they do on ledges, limestone outcroppings and coral reefs.

Tampa Fishing Charters, Inc., located in Tampa, is the fishing charter service of Captain Oliver O’Riordan. In 2016, the business won a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. Mr. O’Riordan, who owns and leads the company, is an expert inshore fishing guide who has extensive experience navigating the waters of Tampa Bay and its estuaries. Tampa Fishing Charters, Inc. operates from three locations, covering virtually the entirety of Tampa Bay.

Speckled Sea Trout will show up in good numbers as we get through the holidays. The cooler water temps will attract the larger “gator” trout to the shallower grass flats during the warmer parts of the day. My favorite places to target are sandy “potholes” that are peppered throughout any productive area. The nice thing about trout is they will generally take an artificial lure sometimes just as good as live bait. First thing in the morning, I like throwing top water plugs and as the sun comes up I will switch to soft plastics. One of my favorite surface baits is a Zara Spook in the “bone/white” color. On the colder days, a live shrimp will do the trick. Try using a Cajun Thunder Back Bay popping cork if they fish are not active. The sound produced by the popping cork really gets them hunting for the bait. The size limit for Speckled Sea Trout is 15” min, and the bag limit is 4 per person with only 1 fish measuring over 20”.

Addresses in the following State Codes AK, HI, AE, AP, AA, PR, GU, MP, PW, AS, VI, FM and APO/FPO addresses with U.S. ZIP Codes will ship for free with value shipping. You will see this noted in checkout.

Tampa Bay bridges produce year-round but the popularity increases as the thermometer rises. Fish and anglers beat the heat by sticking close to a bridge’s shaded waters. When thunderstorms threaten, a bridge is your umbrella and windbreak. No need to run back to port—just tuck behind the downwind side and ride out the blow.

Annual recreational fishing licenses and permits are valid for 12 months from the date of purchase or the alternate starting date if selected at the time of purchase, unless otherwise specified on the face of the license.

Another fantastic winter species in the Bay area is Flounder. Undoubtedly one of the most unattractive fish, but probably one of the best tasting! This time of year, the Flounder will move in on large sandy areas in big numbers. For flats fishing, target potholes and creek mouths with substantial flow. Use the same rig for Sheepshead but you might want to switch to a circle hook. On the warmer days, a small live greenback or shrimp on the bottom will be best. If you like throwing artificial, try a #313 Gold Glitter C.A.L jig from D.O.A paired with a 3/8 oz Hook-Up Lures jig head. The heavier jig head will keep your bait on the bottom and in the strike zone longer during the retrieve. On the colder days, the fish might not be as active. Try a cut piece of any baitfish or shrimp. Some great areas to look for the “Door Mats” are around the Skyway Bridge, Fort Desoto, and Pinellas Point. The minimum size is 12” total length and the bag limit is 10 per person.

3 At John’s Pass, sheepshead are still all over the John’s Pass Bridge, jetty, and area docks. There are some really nice trout around the edges of the flats near the rocks that are exposed to sunlight warming the water. Also a lot of snook, but they are sluggish with the cold water, Hubbard says.

Tampa Bay Fishing Charters are fun and action filled adventures for people of all ages and skill levels. Some of the species that can be targeted are Snook,Redfish,Trout, Tarpon,Cobia,Sharks,Kingfish,Spanish Mackerel and more! Your adventure will be aboard a fully equipped and well maintained 24′ Proline Flatback that will float in less than 12″ of water but is stable enough to handle the chop of Tampa Bay and the coastal waters along the beach. Every charter includes all the rods,reels,tackle bait,fishing licenses and more. Tampa Bay Fishing Charters serves Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater. We are mobile so we can target the best area that is producing the best fishing depending on the time of year. Don’t hesitate book your charter now to insure you get the date(s) you would like!

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Wonderful day fishing with Captain Steve! He is a great guide and was extremely patient with my 6 year old. It was definitely worth the drive from VA! We had an amazing time and we are already looking forward to doing it again! Will absolutely…More

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