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Tips For Offshore Fishing In Tampa Florida

Tarpon Fishing Poseidon Charter (Image: Poseidon Charter)

Tampa Bay is home to some of the best fishing that the Sunshine State has to offer. Its unique open-water estuary with over 400 square miles of water is fed by the Gulf of Mexico. This creates the perfect environment to obtain some amazing offshore catches on your own or with one of the many fishing charters in Tampa.

Know What Fish Are Present

Due to the unique combination of various shallows and Tampa Bay being fed by the Gulf, it has a wide variety of aquatic life. Unlike other fishing spots, you can expect to bag a few different species in a day-outing. Some of the most common fish you’ll snag include:

  • Tarpon
    One of the most widely sought-after fish species, the Tarpon can be fished for a good seven to eight months out of the year. Many report excellent bites as early as March. Summertime Tarpon fishing is the best ranging from late May until late July. This is the Tarpon’s migration period. It’s not uncommon to pull up a few Tarpons ranging from 80 to 140 pounds. There are some notable bigger ones up in the 200 lbs range in the area as well. All Tarpons are catch and release.
  • Redfish
    Redfish fishing is great all year-round in Tampa Bay. Most catches range from 15 to 35 inches. They’ll hang around shallow waters of three feet in the summer months and migrate to waters four to eight feet deep in the colder, winter months. If you’re hitting Snook and Trout, you’ll likely find Redfish close by.
  • Snook
    Snook can be found everywhere in the bay region. The best fishing is spring, summer, and fall. Due to the fact that Snook are nocturnal feeders, you’ll have a lot more success hunting down this prey in the darker hours of the day.
  • Trout
    Spotted Seatrout are in abundance throughout the salty waters of Tampa Bay. They’re one of the most desirable fishes for anglers as they provide a tasty meal. In the colder months, trout can be found in waters 15-feet in depth.
  • Sheepshead
    A popular winter catch, the Sheepshead is another very tasty fish. However, these only range from about one to five pounds in size, so you’ll need to stock up on a few of them.
  • Flounder
    Flounder is a catch that is available year-round. The average length of a Flounder caught in Tampa Bay is 20 inches. Most anglers catch Flounder in the double digits during their daily fishing trips.

Apart from the main catches above, the summertime offshore waterways of Tampa Bay are plentiful with King Mackerel, Barracuda, Mahi Mahi, and Permit. If you’re more interested in the bottom feeders, the area is renowned for its Red Snapper, Gag Grouper, Cobia, Goliath Grouper, and Amberjack. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself hooking a shark. You’ll find tons of shark action in the bay area, including Tiger, Blacktip, Hammerhead, and Bull sharks.

Hire The Right Fishing Charters 

If you’re an avid fisherman, then offshore charters are the best option for you. The Sunshine State offers fishing charters in Tampa designed for all different species of fish. They have the knowledge to get you to the type of fish that you want to hook. When hiring a charter, it’s important that you understand what equipment they will supply and what you need to have prepared on your own.

Prep The Night Before

It may seem like common sense to get your fishing gear ready. But, many people skip over this step and end up spending half of their day fumbling with gear. To set yourself up for the best chance of success, you should prep your items the night before. If you have multiple rods, it’s best to set up each one differently so that you don’t have to adjust them later on. If you are using one rod, make sure you bring a variety of different bait and hooks. The idea is to be prepared for any fish species that you run into.

Stick To Inline Circle Hooks

Talk with any successful angler, and they’ll reveal that they catch more prey on inline circle hooks. Due to the specific inward curve design of these hooks, they make it more difficult for fish to evade. We all know that there’s nothing more frustrating than losing your catch.

Be Mindful Of Your Bait

While Tampa Bay produces some of the most awe-inspiring waterways, it can be extremely hot in the summer months. Most anglers will just plop a lot of their bait in their live wells and overfill them. This will lead to the bait dying off early and leaving you without catches. Instead, be prepared with a couple of tactics. If you want to overload the live well, use an oxygen system to continually pump more oxygen into the water. This will allow your bait to last much longer. Even throwing some frozen containers of ice into the live well can ensure your bait stays alive throughout the day.

Setup The Right Trolling Spreads And Depths

Trolling is a popular way to snag some nice fish and cover lots of water throughout the day. However, one of the biggest problems that anglers have with trolling is that they get their lines twisted and have trouble making tight turns. This can create a major headache and even lose you some big catches. T

o prevent this issue, you need to be strategic in your trolling setup. Put your lures at different depths and each line at different lengths behind the boat. As a general rule of thumb, your deepest lines should be closer to the boat, and the shallower lines should be the furthest from the boat. This will make turning on a dime possible without messing up your lines.