Tampa fishing and its inshore fishing opportunities have long been recognised as a first-class Fishing Destination. It's no wonder why Tampa fishing charters are in demand. This massive natural Bay with innumerable miles of channels, shallow flats, mashes, passes and nearly a hundred rivers flowing into it makes a perfect ground for inshore fishing. Tampa Snook, Tarpon, Kingfish and Redfish and trouts are roaming those waters all fishing seasons, with large Snook and Tarpon being the most popular species, but a wide range of smaller Inshore species will keep you busy on even the slowest of days of the summer. Tampa Tarpon Fishing is well known too, with nearly non -stop fishing, but Snook will be present all year long. Tampa Bay offers great Deep Sea fishing trips as well, with St Petersburg and Clearwater as the primary launch base for Tampa deep sea fishing charters. These fishing trips allow fishermen to leave behind the coastline and explore the Gulf of Mexico. Whenever you book a Tampa fishing charters, Tampa will definitely treat you.
The main fishing spots in Tampa Bay stretch from Tarpon Spring to Clearwater Beach then St Petersburg and across the bay to Bradenton and finally Sarasota. All those spots offers a wide variety of fishing that keeps anglers returning. Choices of mangroves, nearshore, freshwater and deep-sea fishing present numerous options for fishing the 100s of fish species roaming the area. Learn where the best fishing areas are for redfish, snook, spotted sea trout and tarpon.
Clearwater is located on the Gulf Coast, and has some of the best Florida Deep Sea Fishing. Clearwater and St Petersburg with their multiple Marina and boat ramps, are the primary launch base for Tampa Bay Offshore fishing charters. These trips allow fishermen to leave behind the coastline and explore the sportfishing mecca that is the Gulf of Mexico. The tons of wrecks, artificial and natural reefs, ledges, hard bottoms and generous weed lines provide an ideal habitat for game fish. Every year, the bait-rich waterways of the Gulf attract a huge lineup of pelagic and other predatory fish such as Tuna, Kingfish, Barracuda, Permit, Dorado and Shark, with the summer season offering the best deep sea fishing. Bottom feeders such as Goliath Grouper, Gag Grouper, Cobia, Red Snapper, Amberjack and Flounder are all residents as well. Here a few fishing charters we recommend:
Bottoms Up Fishing Charter : Located ½h North of Clearwater Beach, this charter has excellent motorisation that will get you quickly offshore, worth your money.
Fish Pro Fishing Charter : Located near Madeira Beach, St Petersburg, this charter will take you swiftly miles offshore to hunt big game such as Goliath Groupers, KingFish, SailFish and Sharks. This boat is spacious and comfortable enough and therefore ideal for Family fishing trips.
Reel Tight Fishing Charter : Located in Sarasota, this charter can easily accommodate family trips and depending on the season you can expect to see Dolphins and Manatees, all this for a pretty reasonable price. Worth the drive if you’re across the Bay.
Tarpon fishing in Tampa Bay offers excellent opportunities and for as long as we know, Tampa Bay has consistently come up as one of the richest Silver King battlefields along the Florida's Gulf Coast. The prime Tarpon season starts in April all the way to August and can extends well into October. There's two type of Tarpon fishery consisting of Tarpon migrating from the Florida Keys beginning of Springs and settling in Tampa Bay for the summertime, and the resident Tarpon that are slightly more difficult to catch. Spots range from the Skyway Sunshine Bridge crossing the bay, Egmont Key and Anna Maria Island among others.
Skinny Water Fishing Charter : A clearwater Resident, we recommend SWF because of the versability, this charter is perfect and reasonably priced wherever you are a novice or a fly fishing addict.
Captain Ted Nesti Fishing Charter : A St Petersburg Resident, offering Tarpon Fishing for a great price in a quiet skiff.
Reef Donkey Charters : Located near St Pete Beach, this charter is ideally located near some of the best Tarpon fishing spots inside Tampa Bay.
Nearshore fishing trips are everywhere along Tampa Bay gulf Coast or Tampa Bay itself. Usually inshore and nearshore charters will take you close to coastal structure and in wet area or mangroves such as the Weedon Island preserve or Fort DeSoto. Here’s some of the nearshore and inshore fishing charters ugonnafish recommends:
Pocket Change Fishing Charter : Easily accessible for St Petersburg, this charter will take you fish for inshore species from Seatrout, snook, redfish, trout to spanish mackerel and many others species that roam the Bay.
Shallow Water Escape Fishing Charter : Great price for fishing in the Bay with good motorisation to take you quickly to the best spots such as Weedon Island preserve or Bishop's Harbor.
Trophy Charter Trips : Located near Clearwater, this charter will take you for some great inshore fishing from Tarpon Spring to Clearwater Pass fishing the flats.
For nearshore fishing species the primary lies are just within mile out just off the beaches, in passes and bays, in the Intracoastal Waterway and in bayous and residential canals. There fishermen can hook seatrout, snook, Tarpon, redfish, Spanish mackerel, kingfish, often referred to as Florida No. 1 gamefish.
Spotted sea trout feed mainly on crabs, menhaden, shrimp, mullet and anchovies. Great fishing for spotted sea trout can be found near the mouth of Tampa Bay around Fort DeSoto throughout the summer season. The very best fishing is at dawn or sunset.
There’s also great fishing is in the deep turf flats, from waist deep to 8 feets deep where a skiff can take advantage of drop offs around the sand bars. Throughout hot weather, trout can be discovered in deep flats or near the bottom of sand bars.
The best time to fish for snook is at the start of spring through early summer. Canals, deep channels and lighted dock profile the perfect habitat for snow to feed. Huge varieties of large snook are taken from the Port Manatee channel in Tampa Bay.
Cockroach Bay and Bishop' s Harbor are both great fishing areas, located in the middle of Tampa Bay. Deeper channels in between the islands simply outside of Skyway Bridge near the south shore of lower Tampa Bay are also great fishing areas.
Late April to June are when tarpon migrate up from the south, chasing schools of baitfish and that is the very best time for you to capture them in Tampa Bay. The hot spots for tarpon are under the bridges during summer months. Experienced charters will take you fishing the Sunshine Skyway Bridge all summertime long when fish are feeding on herring and sardines.
The Hillsborough River is a tried and true producer in addition to surrounding ship basins. The shallows flats near St. Pete Clearwater Airport are likewise fairly good. Fishing the deep flats at Pass-a-grille Beach, MacDill Air Force Base, Weedon Island preserve and Apollo Beach are all excellent choices, too.
Large schools of redfish are discovered swimming through the shallow flats of Tampa Bay throughout September and October. Bunces Pass has excellent water flow and features spoil islands and troughs just in the past with lots of great fishing spots for redfish, snapper, trout and snook. The eastern side of Mullet Key provides excellent fishing for redfish.
Take a flight through Fort DeSoto Bridge into Boca Ciega Bay. In this location you’ll discover the Cow and Calf ruin islands and Jackass Key on the western side of the bay. Each of these locations holds big schools of redfish.
The Spanish Mackerel fishing in Tampa Bay can be unbelievable at times. They are a pelagic migratory fish and can be caught year round because they are resident fish.Spanish mackerel usually measure up to 24 inches, but can go up to 30 inches. They can be a lot of fun for anglers as they demand constant action, so hint, if you have kids find a charter to go on fishing Spanish Mackerel.
Mangrove snapper , or Grey snapper, are popular with all anglers in the Tampa bay area because they are very abundant, challenging, and a fantastic meal. Snapper are generally targeted with light tackle and light line mostly because they can be particularly shy.
They choose structure, such as docks, mangroves, shipwrecks, and particles and therefore can be discovered in lots of areas from canals to grass flats, along with in open water. Mangrove snapper in the open water are usually hanging out near bottom structure or reefs at depths from 15 feets to 160 feets.
Fishing Snappers is ideal for beginner anglers as they are rather easy to catch and as a added bonus they are foudn in school so it is not uncommon to catch plenty in a short period of time
The nearshore wrecks of the Tampa Bay region hold large numbers of permit. They are simply extremely strong fish equipped of blistering runs and long fights. On quiet days you often find them flashing just below the surface or see their dorsal fin sticking above the water’s surface. Small crabs are the bait by excellence on fishing permit fishing charters . Leading time for permit fishing Tampa Bay is May through October.
The kingfish or King Mackerel (not to confuse with Spanish Mackerel) is a highly migratory species generally pelagic, that you will find mostly offshore West of Tampa Bay, so the very best season to catch them depends upon where you fish. They hang out a water temperature level above around 68 ° F, and travel in order to remain within that range. They choose to hang out near offshore structures, such as deep ledges, natural reefs, artificial reefs, shipwrecks, oil rigs, or any other type of structure, as this is where the baitfish will be.
Fishing in Tampa Bay for goliath grouper can be the thrill of a lifetime for any angler strong enough to battle with one. Whether you a seasoned angler or a first-time fisherman the memories of battling with one of the bay area largest fish will last a lifetime.
The Goliath grouper is a large saltwater fish of the grouper family found primarily in shallow tropical waters among coral and artificial reefs at depths from 16 to 164 ft. They may reach extremely large sizes, growing to lengths up to 8.2 ft and can weigh as much as 790 lb.
Surprising they are very easy to find and hook, the real challenge lies in pulling hard enough to get them out of the tangles they inhabit. Even with professional heavy tackle they can still break the line and they’re so big that your charter might have to pull them by trolling. The goliath grouper is a true sea monster and trophy for any fisherman
Important: Florida regulation protect the Goliath grouper and they must be released, which is why they are so plentiful.
Fishing spots in Tampa Bay can be counted by the hundreds, but overall the main fishing areas are a mix of inshore fishing, mangroves fishing to offshore fishing West of Tampa Bay. The prime fishing spots are distributed North to South from Tarpon Spring which is great for Tarpon Fishing, to Clearwater Beach where offshore trips leave from, then St Petersburg where it is easy to fish Tarpon and big game under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, to Pass A Grille Beach with Flat Fishing and nearshore fishing, Fort DeSoto at the mouth of the Bay, Bishop’s Harbour inside the Bay with great fishing for Sea Trouts, Edmont Key at the entrance of Tampa Bay and across the Bay at last but not least Anna Maria Island who provide some great inshore fishing, and Sarasota at the South.
There's about eight artificial reefs throughout Tampa Bay, made of recycled materials like old bridge pilings, concrete blocks, drain pipe or steel posts. These reefs ensure habitats and hunting grounds for just about every fish species that dwells in Tampa Bay, making them some of the best fishing spots around.
Flats fishing for Tarpon in the shallow waters around Pass-a-grille Beach is always a sought-after fishing spot.
Miles of pristine mangrove inlets and marshes offer the best possible breeding grounds for inshore species such as mangrove snappers, redfish, snook, sea trout, cobia and more. Mackerel, kingfish, grouper and tarpon also move into the bay from the Gulf of Mexico and can be discovered around shipping channels, artificial reefs and deeper water.
Fort DeSoto is a truly awesome spot to fish for nearshore species like spotted sea trouts and Mullet in general and you will definitely want to try your luck here. Fort Desoto consists of five islands: Mullet Key (main island), Madelaine Key, St. Jean Key, St. Christopher Key, and Bonne Fortune Key. Located at the mouth of Tampa Bay, this fishing spot is near to Tampa Bay's core and is reachable by car, so it will be easy to meet with your captain, but you may have to deal with some traffic jam on your way there, so plan on it taking a little longer than you may think.
Fishing is allowed only in certain designated area out of Egmont Key’s shore. These are the best spots for fishing seatrout, snapper, snook and tarpon, to name a few.
The best access is around the south side, west of the island, and then go north to the area near the south end of the bird Sanctuary.
Weedon Island preserve is located inside the west side of Tampa Bay. The preserve is the size of a small city with gold fishing. The Island produce an enormous amount of Snook redfish and sea trout than all the waters in and around Weedon Island. This is one of the best spots for Inshore Fishing to fish for Snook redfish and seatrout.
Bishop's Harbor is made of flats and mangroves that provide as prime habitat for the most common saltwater inshore species.This spot is to be most productive when fishing the last few hours of a high tide. Situated around the mouth of Tampa Bay, you'll find some of the best fishing in Tampa for snook, sea trout and redfish.Meeting with your fishing charter is relatively easy as access to Bishop's Harbor is provided by a sand boat ramp located off of Bishop Harbor Road in the city of Palmetto.
Anna Maria Island is a well known fishing hotspots easily accessible from the Bradenton and Sarasota area.
From deep sea fishing just a mile away, to stalking the flats and backwaters in search of Tarpon Anna Maria Island has a fishing experience for everyone. The Island is only seven miles long and has ample places to set up and cast a line. Depending on the time of year, you can usually go on a Inshore and nearshore fishing trips targeting resident species such as snook, redfish, tarpon, seatrout, pompano, permit, and plenty more.
You do not need a fishing license as long as the for-hire vessel has a valid charter license.
If you are planning to go fishing on your own without the help of a guided fishing charter, then you do need to get a license. Keep in mind that any out-of-state licenses are not valid in the state of Florida. Even if you merely plan to release all of your catch, a license is required. You can purchase this fishing license from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission online. You can check it out here.
Below are a few tips and tricks to help you enjoy your fishing charter to the fullest potential.
For any fishing charter that you choose to attend, be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the listed time. This way you don’t forget any last minute things that need to be done.
Make sure that your arms and head are covered as you and your crew will experience a great deal of sun exposure. Do this by either wearing a hat or covering up any sensitive skin with long sleeves.
Apply sunscreen and wear sunglasses for extra protection.
Bring a cooler bag for any fish that you catch.
Ask the captains if he can recommends restaurants around town that will cook your catch.
For those with kids on board, it is important to find a charter that isn’t out for long, preferably around 4 hours. Also keep in mind that an inshore option will allow the young ones to learn how to cast. Make sure that there are bathrooms on board as well.
When it comes to learning a new skill, it can be exhausting. If you or your friend are just starting to learn how to fish, choose a fishing charter that will be around 4 hours so that no one gets overwhelmed.
Going out fishing as a couple can be a great memory. For these outings, choose a longer trip. Even challenge yourself by heading out on the bay for some deep water fishing. Make sure that there are toilets on board for everyone included on this fishing trip.
Choosing to invite your friends for a fishing outing, then look no further. A charting service may be the best opportunity for you and your buds to have a stress-free fishing experience that will be remembered for years. If you decide to drink on the boat, be mindful of the charting service and don’t get sick. Enough people get seasick. They don’t need any more sick at sea than need be.
Depending on when you decide to visit Tampa Bay, the type of fishing changes. Certain seasons yield the best results depending on what type of technique is used. Below are a few times of year to keep in mind when it comes to fishing in Florida.
• Spring to Summer: For Tampa Bay, this is usually from April to September. For these warmer seasons, inshore fishing can be very productive.
• Fall to Winter: Generally starting in October and lasting through February, these cooler months are best for a variety of fishing techniques. These include deep water fishing that takes place out on the bay.