Inshore and offshore fishing are vastly different, and both have aspects that make them worthwhile. Although it’s arguable that offshore is more athletic or requires more skill, do not be fooled. Regardless of where you are on the water, you can still find a challenging catch, good eating, and a fantastic time.

Captain Betz – Flats and Bay Fishing Charters are the Best… My friends and I come down from Atlanta each year for the Falcons vs Bucs for football, golf, and fishing. Besides the game, fishing with Captain Betz is the highlight of our Not…More

Remarks: spawns OFFSHORE between March and September; feeds on mollusks and crustaceans, especially sand fleas; local movements are influenced by the tide, and seasonal movements are influenced by temperature.

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.

Just as we chronicled the Average Angler’s quest to complete the elusive Florida Bass Slam, we would also like to see your best bass catches. Send us pictures of you and your best catches and we’ll showcase them right here!

“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.”

Yes, please meet Captain Mike Anderson. Born and raised in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on June 9, 1968, Captain Mike was introduced to fishing at a very young age. Reared in a family of fishing enthusiasts, Mike joined his father and uncle on a regular basis throughout his childhood, as they would cast for walleye, muskie and perch.

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Enjoyed all the information in this article. Our trip will be in February 2018. I normally fish fresh water lakes in several states for bass and specs and have enjoyed many years of fishing Lake Erie for walleye, perch and small and large mouth bass. Looking forward to learning the different spices in and around the bay. God bless and happy fishing Al Osborne.

Stay dialed-in to what’s biting in Tampa Bay! Capt. Travis Yaeckel, Capt. Jason Prieto, Capt. Ric Liles, & Danny Guarino bring you the full report each week. Listen every Sunday Morning 8-9am on 1040AM ESPN Sports Talk Radio. Watch LIVE on Facebook and YouTube every Wednesday 6-7pm. Or download the podomatic app on your phone or tablet and listen anytime. Search “ Tampa Fishing Outfitters Radio Show “ to follow us and find current and past shows.

Your typical Tampa Bay fishing trip can begin with casting jigs, live bait, and crank bait around the various bridges that traverse the bay. Fishing there can be rewarded with the famous bait stealer, Mangrove Snapper, which also live around docks, seawalls, and rock piles. Tampa is home to a myriad of charter boats. Whether are looking for a fun day out with your friends and family or for a corporate outing, there are dozens of packages available for you. Go for light tackle action for Redfish, Sheepshead, Spanish Mackerel, Snook, and Trout, catch Tarpon on a fly. Bottom fish for Grouper, tasty Snapper or Amberjack. Enjoy trolling offshore for Wahoo and Mahi-Mahi. Whichever trip you have in mind, you will be able to make a great catch possible.

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. 

Be it Tampa, St Pete, Clearwater, Bradenton or Sarasota, there’s no shortage of hotspots that fish well throughout the calendar year. Here, we’ll cover some of the area’s most popular species and dominant fishing techniques. We also might just give you a reason or two to put Tampa Bay fishing at the top of this year’s bucket list.

Towerboaters will want to pay particular attention to clearance, and stay alert for the sudden lift of waves. You might have plenty of room while sitting still, but let a big boat or ship send 3-foot swells under your boat and you’ll run out of space in a hurry.

Preserve the Experience for Others – The only way we can sustain commercial and recreational fishing in the future is to work together. Use a circle hook when fishing to prevent injury to the fish. We like the Gamakatsu Octopus Circle Hook, but if you have a barb hook then you can simply crush it with some needle nose pliers. Never keep your catch out of the water longer than you can hold your own breath. The slime that covers a fish protects it from bacteria and infection, so do your best to not remove this slime. Also, don’t forget to practice catch and release, especially during spawning seasons!

If it swims, it’s in these waters. The Bay provides such a wide variety of aquatic life, it’s not uncommon to bag more than a dozen species on any given outing. The mighty Snook prowls the mangrove shorelines. Schools of tailing Redfish rest on the glassy grass flats. And the notorious Florida Tarpon roam the Bay’s endless passes. Whatever you’re after, it’s never more than a cast away.

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.

Further defining the proximity variables, a recent trip with Capt. Chuck Rogers of Tampa found us hovering under the Gandy and pulling a few mangrove snapper from the pilings. When the action slowed, we moved outside and did the anchor-and-chum routine. Rogers noted the wisdom of fanning a bridge section to locate the sweet spot. Once we dialed in the spot, several keeper mangos hit the ice.

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.)

September 28, 2009 – Despite a congressional mandate to fix the “serious flaws in design” and “inadequate analysis methods” that renders MRFSS obsolete, the National Marine Fisheries Service continues using this fatally flawed program to deny the public access to coastal fisheries like red snapper, amberjack and black sea bass, crippling the recreational fishing industry. Click here to read MRFSS position paper. (Note from Ed.: This is what I told everyone about in June of ’09. NMFS is now considering a total closure of the bottom fishery in the south Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico that could possibly close fishing for up to 35 years.)