Find the fish on your sounder. 2. Sarasota boasts many snook in the 30 plus inch class, some have even been upwards of 50 inches. The Tampa Bay Bite is HOT! Fishing in Tampa Bay for red grouper is very popular and a lot of fun.  The species is very prolific and very easy to locate.  Much like their cousins the gag grouper they tend hang around wrecks, ledges and hard bottom offshore.  They are more of a offshore grouper, most are caught in deeper water six miles plus offshore in 40 ft or deeper.  A few do come in the bay a little shallow, but they are generally the smaller ones.   They are exceptionally good to eat and must me 20 inches to keep.  The average red grouper is around 16 to 23 inches, but large ones and run over 30 inches and are 15 or 20 pounds.  Captain Matt generally uses 65-pound class spinning tackle for them and his favorite baits are pinfish, greenbacks, threadfins, and squid.  His charters really enjoy them because when they are biting good they are very easy to catch and they put up a good fight, which makes it fun for all anglers of all skill levels.  Red grouper are generally a lot of the grouper you would buy when you go to the restaurant so there is no doubt they are great to eat!  Captain Matt always has a great time showing his customers the art of how to catch red grouper. It is my personal opinion based on experience at the "Marathon" hump that you can outfish the pilchards by deep jigging irons for the Tuna. —Along with this information, be ready for anything before your trip with Captain Bill by browsing Florida’s fishing regulations, as well as Anna Maria Island’s weather forecast and tide charts. Whitebait is my overall #1 pick for inshore live bait.Here are some facts about whitebait (and why I choose this as my favorite inshore live bait fish): 1. Permit fishing in Tampa Bay is one of the area’s best-kept fishing secrets.  Few people know that Tampa Bay is one of the world’s best permit fisheries.  Most of the fish are caught by site fishing over offshore reefs on flat calm days.  Permit gather in schools sometimes by the thousands.  The best way to find them is to head to a artificial reef or wreck and look for their long black fins sticking out of the water.  Sometimes they ride so high in the water there eye will actually stick out of the water.  It is quite a site to see a school of giant permit cursing by the boat numbering in the hundreds and sometime the thousands.  The chances of a real trophy are very good as well.  Captain Matt has had charters catch multiple trophies permit in the 30 to 40 pound class on some of the better days.  One day in particular his boat landed 32 permit, half of which were on fly rods, a feat that could not be replicated many places.  Captain Matt uses light tackle 15 pound class tackle to permit fish.  His favorite bait is live crabs; though he has caught them on shrimp, jigs, and flies. I think on the east coast they call scaled sardines pilchards, though I could be wrong on that one. British Cured Pilchards Ltd or “The Pilchard Works”, as it is now more commonly known, started in 1905 to salt, press and export pilchards from Newlyn, Cornwall to Enrico Borzone in Italy. The fish were feeding heavy on cut bait today so if you’re having trouble getting them to bite on live bait, try switching up your tactics and using cut pilchards or pinfish. Note: Sardines can be fished out by the commercial netters, and have been in the past in California and the Tampa Bay area as well as other parts of the world. Fishing for false albacore or little tunny in Tampa Bay can be awesome!  They are known for their stamina and strength and are thought to be one of the hardest fighting fish in the world pound for pound.  Captain Matt targets most of his false albacore offshore over reefs.  He generally chums them to the surface sending them into a feeding frenzy. They are more commonly caught around wrecks using crabs and shrimp. The bay area waters are some of the most shark infested waters in the world and fishing for sharks in Tampa Bay is also some of the best in the world. These predators are caught in many different ways, from sight casting live pilchards on the flats to soaking a dead bait and being patient. —Grouper – Two different species of grouper are commonly caught near Anna Maria Island, and they are the gag and red grouper. Already a subscriber? Tackle-All tackle will be provided at no additional cost.-Tackle will typically consist of spinning rods and conventional rods with live bait set-ups or artificial lures pre-rigged.   Trolling for grouper in the bay can also be quite effective with large lures and diving planners.  Gag grouper are a favorite for Captain Matt’s deep-sea charters.  He really enjoys helping people learn how to fish for gag grouper in Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay has a bunch of markers and towers that provide structure that the bait will use as a safe area from predator fish. It’s that time of year where things are ready to hit the boiling point in Tampa Bay! *Capt. These predators are caught in many different ways, from sight casting live pilchards on the flats to soaking a dead bait and being patient. There are usually known for long and fast runs when hooked, and their fillets are some of the best when blackened. Tarpon fishing in Tampa Bay is regarded as the best in the world.  Tarpon is the ultimate sport fish in the world!  Tarpon have tremendous stamina, they are extremely strong, they are very acrobatic leaping 15ft into the air, and they grow to over 200 pounds.  It’s for this reason they are such a sought after trophy.  Anglers come from around the world come to fish for tarpon in Florida.  Tampa Bay is largest estuary in the state and receives the largest migration of tarpon.  Anna Maria Island sits on the southern tip of Tampa Bay and is considered the tarpon capital of the world.  Tarpon migrate in by schools of thousands.  Anna Maria will have schools of tarpon at times that seems to stretch for miles. They are bruisers, and swim hard for the rocky bottom as soon as they are hooked in an attempt to escape.  They are fun on light tackle and a favorite of Captain Matt’s fly fisherman.  Most of them average in the 7 to 15 pound range, but the captain has had clients catch them as large as 20 pounds.  Little tunny are not known to be great to eat, but the captain feels they are tasty when prepared as a medium cooked steak.   Good to eat or not they are really fun to catch and are a nice bonus when targeting other species.  They are very bloody and make great shark and goliath grouper bait.  Captain Matt especially enjoys teaching his customers how to fly fish for false albacore. Cobia fishing in Tampa Bay can be a lot of fun and always a nice added bonus to a day’s catch.  Cobia have a very large range they can be caught from way up in the bay on shallow flats, around structure, even up the rivers, and as far out offshore as a 100 miles or more.  They can be caught year round and can vary in size from 10 to 130 pounds.  Most average about 15 to 40 pounds with really nice ones running about 50 to 70 pounds.  They are very fun to catch because they fight hard and even jump at times.  They are considered excellent eating.  Captain Matt’s favorite way to fish for cobia is sight fishing the shallow flats and beaches watching for fish cursing by.  Many times the cobia can be found swimming behind large rays.  The captain generally use light tackle 15-pound test when sight fishing for cobia.  At times when the cobia are offshore or in the bay hanging around structure Captain Matt likes to step his gear up to 65-pound heavy spinning tackle.  Cobia’s favorite baits are crabs, pinfish, and greenbacks.  They are very willing to eat artificial plugs and jigs as well.  Captain Matt finds them exceptional fun for his customers and likes to take the opportunity whenever it presents itself to teach is anglers how to fish for cobia.  Captain Matt does most of his black drum fishing in the winter months when they to tend to be easier to catch and more concentrated.  Most of Captain Matt’s black drums are caught on 15-pound light tackle.  He targets the smaller keepers around the dock with live shrimp.   Occasionally he also runs across large schools of giant breading fish from 30 to 60 pounds.  These fish are in shallow water making site fishing with shrimp and crabs as well as jigs very effective.  They too can be caught on relatively light tackle when roaming the open flats where they have nothing to tangle the angler’s line.  Giant black drum can also be caught around bay area bridges on larger crushed open blue crabs at night.  Some of these fish can approach 100 pounds and heavy 100-pound tackle is necessary to pull them away from the bridge.   Captain Matt really enjoys teaching his customers how to catch black drum in Tampa Bay. Some Tampa fishing guides will also throw the chum further up-current to pull these fish closer to the boat. —Snook – Snook are considered backwater wolves, and they are also the species shown in my business logo ( mesh nets or you’ll have a tough time cleaning out the gilled baits after you’ve thrown. Lesser Amberjack are there smaller cousin and run a lot small averaging 14 to 24 inches.  They are generally caught closer inshore from 5 to 20 miles out.  They are fun to catch on light tackle and are considered very good to eat.  The offshore waters of Tampa Bay have very good amberjack fishing throughout the year.  The greater amberjacks bite better in the cooler months and the lesser bite better in the warmer months, but both species can be caught year round. Captain Matt is very patient with his fisherman and loves to teach them how to catch sheepshead in Tampa Bay. We got our Tampa Bay slam which means we caught snook, redfish, and trout on our fishing charter today. They must be 33″ to the fork of their tail, and are a great-tasting fish that have fillets firm enough to grill. As we move through July and into August, we will face the warmest temperatures of the year both above and below the water line. Be te first boat there in the morning, even if it means running in the dark. ... What to Throw: Live pilchards or shrimp (free lined or under a Paradise Popper XTreme popping cork), topwaters and synthetic shrimp. Snook fishing in Tampa Bay on the shallow flat is probably some of the most exciting fishing in the world!  Snook are found throughout the shallow flat in the bay most of the year.  During the cooler months they seek the warmer water around boat basins, rivers and deeper backwater springs.  They are crafty, explosive, high leaping speed demons that pull hard and for this reason they are probably one of the bay area’s most popular species for local fisherman and Tampa fishing charters alike. Break out your ½ in (¼ sq.) —Anna Maria Island, Tampa Bay, and Sarasota Bay have many different species of game fish that you may target while fishing with Captain Bill Lowman. The prime live bait for Tarpon fishing in Tampa Bay is Threadfin Shad, Menhaden, Pilchards, Pinfish as well as Calico, Pass, and … They are found in shallow grass flats where they ambush prey swimming overhead. Usually found offshore, they congregate in certain areas of nearshore structure and debris on the ocean bottom. In the river we have been casting baits under docks catching redfish, snook, mangrove snapper, and the occasional sheepshead. Amberjack are a favorite among Tampa Bay fishing charters.  The greater amberjack is the larger of the two species.  They are commonly found in the offshore waters of Tampa Bay 15 to 40 miles out.  They are generally caught on live bait around wrecks in 50 to 100 feet of water.  Amberjacks are known for their tremendous ability to pull and are a real struggle even on a 100-pound tackle.  Captain Matt generally uses 65-pound spinning tackle when fishing for them and live greenbacks, pinfish or threadfin shad to catch them.  They roam in large schools ranging from 30 to 60 pounds with the largest ones reaching over 100 pounds.  Amberjack are large, powerful and feed together so when they bite the action can be explosive.  Amber jacks are thought to be good to eat by some and only fair by others. Up in the bay in the darker water or at night under the bridges live bait does work but at times the artificial soft plastic can be better. Jimmy Lewis offers a special – The $120.00 load, which consists of two dozen goggle eyes and two dozen pilchards, a great assortment of bait to catch whatever you are fishing for. The bait we are talking about are pilchards or also known as the saltwater sardine. With 18 years guiding experince and over 40 years of fishing knowledge, he can assure you a professional / fun fishing adventure. -Live bait will typically consist of pinfish, shrimp, crabs, and white bait (green backs, pilchards, threadfins, shad, etc.) These fish are strictly protected from harvest and are caught as a game fish only. Anglers saltwater fishing from piers on the east coast, the Sunshine Skyway Pier in Tampa Bay, and in the Panhandle near Destin will catch them from the piers at times. Fishing for sheepshead in Tampa Bay can be very good especially during the cold days during the winter months.  Late January through February is when they spawn and the action is the best, although they can be caught year round.  They are particularly known for being a great fish to eat. Fish and anglers beat the heat by sticking close to a … —Mangrove/Gray Snapper – Mangrove snapper are a smart, fast, and feisty fish that inhabit our waters year-round. Anna Maria Island fishing charters report, Anna Maria island fishing report December 2017. 727 … —Sea Trout –  Sea trout are a beautifully spotted fish, much like its freshwater counterpart. For this reason the captain’s home base in on the island of Anna Maria.  Tarpon can be caught in the area March through October.  During the months of May, June, and July tarpon fishing is at it’s prime.  This is peak migration and when the captain primarily switches over to exclusively tarpon fishing.  Most fish average 70 to 130 pounds the large ones can reach 250 pounds.  There have been some unofficial world record tarpon weighing 300 pounds, landed in Tampa bay, one of which was caught aboard Captain Matt’s boat.  Captain Matt fishes for tarpon with heavy tackle spinning rods loaded with 65-pound test.  Sometimes he steps up to 100-pound test when the tarpon action in really fast and his customer are hooking up two to three tarpon at a time.  The captain’s favorite bait for tarpon is threadfin shad, large greenbacks, small crabs, and sometimes dead bait.  He loves tarpon fishing more than anything he targets on the water.  He takes pride in having the capabilities to teach others how to fish for tarpon in Tampa Bay.  They can also be caught up in the bay and along bay area beaches throughout the year from time to time when roaming in large schools feeding on glass minnows. They can reach sizes of 40 pounds or more, and are delicious. They average around 20″, but can grow to 20 pounds if conditions are right. Here is a great tutorial on how to locate and cast net greenbacks & bait with the perfect chum. Whatever the technique, a shark hookup is a guaranteed dose of adrenaline. When they move out to deeper waters they can be found around structure near the Skyway Bridge in Lower Tampa Bay … Pilchards are also very hardy and will remain alive all day. Hey guys, been trying to figure out the live bait game here in Tampa Bay for a few months now. Their main foods are crustaceans such as shrimp and crabs, but they also readily take fin fish such as pilchards and pinfish. Tampa Bay is not particularly known for its superb flounder fishing, however it can be good at times.  Flounder can be caught in the bay throughout the year.  Most of the year Captain Matt considers flounder just to be a bonus fish and are caught when targeting other species.  They are always a welcomed catch because they are great to eat.  During the winter months the flounder fishing can be quite good near offshore wrecks.  When the water-cools down the action is fast Captain Matt will take the time to fish some of his offshore flounder locations as part of his offshore charter if his clients are looking for extra fillets.  When the bit is good his charters can catch 20 or so in a few hours averaging 13 to 20 inches with a few larger ones.  Captain Matt’s largest flounder is 28 inches.  Although they do not grow to a giant size they are one of the best fish to eat in the ocean.  The best lures in Tampa Bay for flounder are small weighted shrimp and greenbacks.  Some people also catch them on jigs.  The captain likes teaching his fisherman how to fish for flounder in Tampa Bay using light tackle.

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