First let me start by recommending this article. It’s simply great!
The waters off the large city of Tampa is home to a variety of inshore and offshore species. Tampa plays host to the best fishing in the world, in my opinion. That is why I love it here. You can go on productive fishing trips that’ll have you doing the dance of joy after every fishing outing.
Considered the best in the world, Tarpon fishing in Tampa Bay can bag you the ultimate game fish in the world. Gifted with remarkable stamina and superbly strong, tarpon can go through acrobatic leaps into the air as high as 15 feet. Growing to more than 200 pounds, tarpon is a commonly sought after trophy.
You can also go snook fishing in Tampa Bay. For a greater part of the year, snook is found throughout the shallow flat in the bay. The fish seek warmer water when the season turns cooler, so they go for rivers, boat basins and deeper backwater springs. A 15 pound class spinning tackle and 9-weight fly rod should ensure good snook fishing.
Red rum or redfish is another favorite activity on the flat. Available almost the whole year round, redfish is targeted in extremely shallow water between 2 and 5 feet or even shallower. You can catch redfish while sight fishing large schools roaming the flat. With water temperature declines in winter, redfish can be caught in deeper water between 6 and 10 feet.
Speckled trout is popular among Tampa Bay locals and fishing tourists alike. Trout is abundant in the area, as it can be sighted along area beaches and throughout the entire bay. Trout grows large enough to feed four people.
Sheepshead fishing can be quite productive in Tampa Bay especially when the weather is cold. Expect productive sheepshead fishing during the winter season. Spawning time is from late January through February. Like Speckled trout, sheepshead is also good to eat.
Black drum fishing in Tampa Bay can be quite exciting. Black drum is available the entire year and can range between 3 and 90 pounds. Smaller black drum is good to consume and is actually what anglers are allowed to keep.
Gulf flounder fishing is not particularly a notable activity in Tampa Bay despite the fact that it can be caught in the bay the whole year round. It is considered just a bonus fish and will easily get caught even if one is after other fish types. In the winter, flounder can be caught near offshore wrecks.
Pompano fishing is hugely exciting and fun. The largest size will be 6 pounds, and you should be ready for a tremendous fight. Great to eat, pompano makes great sport fish. Flies and yellow jigs can be used on the fish, along with live shrimp.
Kingfish angling is great in the spring and fall, when the water temperature lies in the mid-70s. Those are also the times when kingfish passes the offshore area out of the bay region because the fish migrates from south to north and then comes again from there to the south during the fall.
Gag grouper fishing is popular in Tampa Bay. Inshore, near shore and far offshore anglers enjoy targeting gag grouper since they make for good eating and are quite numerous. Many of the bay area structures pay host to large numbers of gag grouper.
Red grouper are another favorite Tampa Bay fishing target. Easy to find, red grouper has a predilection for hanging around ledges, wrecks and hard bottom offshore. Most red grouper are caught in areas 6 miles and farther from shore, in depths of 40 feet or more.
Goliath grouper provides a strong challenge for any gamefisher. Battling a Goliath grouper is sure to be one for the books. Averaging between 100 and 400 pounds, the Goliath grouper can be very easy to sight and hook, with the real challenge coming from getting them out of the tangles they live in.
Mangrove snapper fishing is great in Tampa Bay as well as the surrounding offshore water. Plentiful and making fantastic dinner fare, mangrove snapper offers year round availability. Catching them will need a light leader small size 1 and 2 hook.
Permit is offshore fish caught by sight fishing in offshore reefs when the flat is peaceful and calm. They are found in artificial reefs or wrecks, with their long black fins visible out of the water. Permit can ride the water so high you can actually see an entire school comprising hundreds of them cruising by your boat.
Cobia can be caught in the shallow flats from way up in the bay, up the rivers and around structures, with some even caught as far offshore as 100 miles or farther. Offering year-round availability, cobia can average between 15 and 40 pounds each and can give a fierce fight.
Other types of offshore species in Tampa bay include: False Albacore, known for its strength and stamina; bull, hammerhead, blacktip, tiger and sand shark; Spanish mackerel and amberjack.