Tampa Bay Charters Fishing Report – September 2019
The red tide has the West Coast of Florida at catch and release only for redfish, snook and trout until next May but don’t let that deter you from the experience of fishing the Tampa Bay and areas surrounding. The sport of catching these fish is the foundation that makes our Tampa Bay area unique. Tampa Bay is the largest estuary in the country and the population of these fish escaped the horrible effects of red tide from last year. We have an abundance of snook for you to come and try your fishing game, along with the redfish that are currently making their way around the bay in large schools.
Snook can be found almost everywhere this time of year and in great numbers. To target these fish, you can use artificial methods with swimbaits, topwater baits or hard plastic suspending baits like the Mirrorlure and Mirrodine lures. Live bait is, of course, the bait of choice in the bay on guide trips and the bait is plentiful on the flats right now. Capt. Murphy would recommend a quarter in mesh to avoid Christmas treeing your net as some of the new bait hatch is mixed with the bigger baits. Look for points around mangroves with deeper water and good current flow to entice these snook. Also, look for areas with overhanging mangroves covering deeper water and again with some tidal current flow. Snook are returning from the beaches and passes for their spawning activities and are hungry.
Redfish will be following mullet schools devouring everything in sight. They like to prey on the mullet and everything that the mullet schools stir up in the mix like shrimp, crabs and small baitfish. Look for the push of water ahead of these fish and you may also see them actively feeding across the flats. Post up ahead of these schools and be patient. Chum heavy with dead and put baits out on 1/0 or 2/0 circle hooks. You can also throw artificial baits in front of these schools to catch these hard-pulling red bombers. During the low tides, find deeper pockets that these fish will hold up in during the tide change. These fish will spook easy so take caution stalking these fish and be aware of other anglers already on spot as to not disturb their opportunity. Don’t chase this fish once they pass because this will spook them. Instead, wait for them to pass and motor well clear of them and post up again well ahead.
Snapper has been the go-to for table fare fish in Tampa Bay. The big boys are in right now after the spawning activities brought them in from the deeper water. You can find an abundance 16–18 inch fish inside the bay. Look in the shipping channels and rock piles for the best results. Chum is key to catching a good mess of fish for dinner. You can buy chum from your local bait shop or make your own with dead greenbacks and threadfins. When you get the school going, you will see the mass of fish boil behind the boat. Drift a dead greenback back with the chum with a small #1 or #2 hook and hold on. These fish have tremendous pulling power for their size. You can also target these fish on the flats while fishing for trout. Use live greenies and cast them out. The smaller the better. Captain Mike Murphy said he likes to use 2-3 inch baits for trout and snapper. These snappers will readily school up on the flats as well and fun to see in 4 feet of water.
Tripletail and cobia are still active in the bay. Target the channel markers, posts and crab traps for best results. Captain Mike Murphy uses the 2-3 inch greenies or large shrimp for the tripletail. He says it may take you several casts on each marker or post to fully cover the fishing area. Remember that sometimes these tripletail fish don’t chase baits very far so you will have to cast close to them around the buoy and the rope or chain all the way down to the bottom. They are not a very smart fish and don’t spook too easily so start from a good distance away and trolling motor you way up closer and closer until you hook up or exhaust your efforts at that buoy. Then go hit another one. Cobia are located in the same locations and will be readily seen on the surface of the markers as you approach. Get big greenies for these bruisers and lightly cast out in front of them and hold on. The trick is to get them away for the markers and into open water. Captain Mike Murphy uses a 2/0 hook for tripletail and cobia.
At Fish This Inshore Charters, Captain Murphy said he believes that every fishing charter should be catered specifically to his clients wishes. That means if they want to target snook they target snook. If you have children and want lots of action, he can keep the rods bent all day long to instill a love of fishing in them. If you want to see wildlife, Capt. Mike Murphy has an ecology background and can introduce you to the flora and fauna of the Tampa Bay area. The point is that his clients are his number 1 priority. It’s his goal not only to meet but to exceed their expectations on their Tampa Bay and Apollo Beach fishing charter. He also cautions people to ensure that they are working with a U.S. Coast Guard licensed charter captain. The Tampa Bay area has seen a recent rise in unlicensed activity. Capt. Mike advises people to ask about this directly when calling a Tampa fishing guide or Tampa Bay fishing charter captain.
Fish This Inshore Charters can also handle groups for company or family outings. They work with a great network of veteran Tampa Bay charter captains. Why not add a little fishing fun to your next corporate outing or wedding party? Contact Fish This Inshore Charters to set up a Tampa Bay fishing Charter to suit your needs.