Tarpon Springs-Tampa to Sarasota Fishing Report

January 2006

Starting the New Year off with a chilly cold front and lots of BIG TROUT. If you like catching fish on artificials, the winter months are the best time to come to Floridaís West Coast. Trout in the 2-8 pound range and slot size redfish are everywhere. Throwing a top water or a jerk bait first thing in the morning will keep you busy for a few hours with a fish just about every cast. Once the sun comes up and you get tired of catching Trout, Redfish in the last week are starting to fill up our flats. We have been catching 10 to 20 redfish a day using a Berkley Gulp shrimp or a gold spoon in 15 inches of water. Itís pretty cool to watch a redfish from 30 feet away come and kill a spoon. Lots of Site Fishing! There are quite a few Cobia around the Power Plant riding on the backs of the stingrays. The days the wind is calm and the water is clear we are managing to catch 4 or 5 in the 10 to 40 pound range.

Tight Lines!      Capt.. Brian Hart


Tarpon Springs-Tampa to Sarasota Fishing Report

October & November 2005

By Captain Brian Hart

This Weeks's Fishing Report What a beautiful week this was. It almost seemed like we were back in a Florida summer instead of the tropical rainforest weather that weíve had for the past few months. Offshore fishing picked up, mainly because the weather allowed everyone to go out more than one day last week. Grouper, triggerfish, mangrove snapper, grunts, porgies, amberjack, barracuda and plenty of Spanish mackerel were biting in waters from 45 to 80 feet deep. Those that ventured farther out brought back some big grouper and red snapper but they traveled a long way for them. The weekend brought some wind and high seas for offshore anglers but the forecasts look good again for the first part of the coming week. Reds are just jumping in the boat this week. Most of them are really big. Anglers have to fish for several hours just to get a keeper because there are so many of the oversized fish. The Port Manatee area and the artificial reefs are producing lots of mangrove snapper and there have been some nice pompano caught near the Skyway. Trout are still biting on the flats around Cockroach Bay, primarily in the deeper grass flat areas. The bait shrimp are finally getting up to a nice size but the greenbacks are still scarce. Some nice mangrove snapper are coming in from the Gandy Bridge. A few cobia have been caught this week and some black drum in the 20 pound class were caught around the bridge pilings. Snapper, grouper, jacks, some Spanish mackerel, and sheepshead have all come from our gas docks this week. Mangrove snapper are really biting well. Spanish mackerel are biting well and some nice keeper grouper have come in. Some really nice trout have been brought in. Pompano are really biting well, some as big as 15 inches. The best bets for the Spanish mackerel are still Gotcha Plugs and for pompano Docís Goofy Jigs.

Keep those rod tips up & Good Fishing!

December 2004


Trout...lots of Trout...too many Trout!  That's the word around here.   Yes, there are Reds, Snook and even small Tarpon fishing the right areas, but try to get your bait past the Trout.


Kings are south already.  Grouper and Snapper are picking up and did I say Trout.


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Fishing Report 2/01/03 through 3/01/03

  Although the first two weeks of February were pretty cold in
the Tampa Bay area, Sheepshead, Seatrout, and Ladyfish provided plenty of action.  Seatrout and Ladyfish readily took soft plastic jigs while good numbers of Sheepshead to 4 lbs were taken on barnacles and the now plentiful Green Asian Mussels.  Man those Sheepies are tasty.  There were plenty of Snook up to 20 lbs in the dead end canals but they
were still to cold to feed.

    The second half of the month, however, told a different story.
As the water temperature began to climb, the Snook began to feed on live bait when it could be found and soft plastics when it couldn't.  Clients caught Snook up to 10 lbs and lost a few in the 15-20 pound range.  You guys have to learn to crank and pull, not yank and get spanked.

Bluefish up to 3 lbs also showed up around the snook docks and provided hard pulling action on many casts intended for snook, not a bad problem to have. The Sheepies  and Trout action remained hot and last week the water finally warmed enough for the big Trout to start exploding on topwater plugs, my favorite.  Clients released Trout to 41/2 lbs and lost some a lot bigger.  The bait is starting to show up and the fishing is only going to get better in March and April with the Spanish and King Mackerel arriving soon to join the mix.  If I was you, I'd make it a point to get down here and stretch some line.  Hope to fish
with some of you soon.


The first two weeks of November brought us hot catch and release Trout action with quite a few in the 3-4 lb. range and some up to 5lbs.


    Nice Jacks 5-15lbs. were still giving us good action on the edges of flats along with some nice Cobia. One 15 pounder was sighted, cast to, and caught on a Trout jig and 6lb. test by Jay of Safety Harbor on his first fishing trip.

Way to go Jay!!


    Snook to 15lbs., a few large Trout, and some keeper size Reds showed up almost daily on certain flat edges in Boca Ciega and Sarasota Bays.


    Live bait fishing oyster bars on the higher tides also produced some smaller keeper Snook along with some nice slot sized Reds.


    King fish action was hot on the few Gulf trips we made in 20' - 45' of water.


    The second half of November brought closely spaced cold fronts. Along with them came hot Grouper action Gulfside in 15-35' on the calm days we fished, and inside Tampa Bay on the windier days. Same M.O. for Kingfish, some over 30lbs.

    Trout action remained good and the winter Sheepshead fishing got off to a good start in the last week or so. Snook have slowed down a little with the cold fronts and are starting to group in the creeks and warmer canals. They'll bite during the warmer periods of the warmer days.


    First two weeks of December should bring hot Sheepshead and Trout action along with inshore and near shore Grouper fishing. Cobia, big Jacks, Pompano, and Permit in power plant warm water add some truly hard pulling and, minus the Jacks, great eating game fish to the mix.


    Until next time, stay warm and stretch some line.


Florida Light Tackle Charters.com

Tampa Bay Area Report 10/27

For the last 3 weeks Spanish Mackerel and King fishing from the gulf beaches to around 45' of water has been stellar in between the windy spells.


Kings have been mostly schoolies 5-15# with Spanish Mackerel 1-2# on the beaches and plenty of 3-5#ers a little farther out with the schoolie Kings. Both species are gobbling small pilchards, big threadfins and even cut strips drifted back into the chum slick. The largest Kingfish are taking big live baits closer to the beach.


Blacktip Sharks from 30-100#, 3'-6',are showing up in our chum slick from time to time throughout the day. They eat what everybody else does plus everybody else. It's truly thrilling to see 2 or 3 of these very fast fish out swim and crash a speeding Spanish Mackerel or small Kingfish that's on the end of your line.


When winds have kept us off the Gulf, fishing on the inside has been quite good.                                


Limit numbers of keeper sized trout along with a few real nice 3-5#ers and many 13"-14" shorts have been caught and released on soft plastic jigs and top water plugs, the Captain's favorite.


Redfish are taking top water plugs early in the morning. Jigs, spoons, and live bait are catching'em for us later in the day, with a few to 10#..


Fishing near docks in the daytime with live and dead bait has been producing groupers up to 9# on recent charters. These fish are incredibly powerful for their size and when fished at close range near structure, they are truly a challenge on 15#-20# tackle.


The highlight of recent inshore charters, for clients and myself, has been the arrival of  large schools of 5#-15# Jacks(Crevalle).  Watching a school move along the edge of a flat in 2' of clear water like 1 giant animal, crashing everything in their path that moves, is an experience you won't soon forget. Oh yeah, and they'll take any bait that moves fast enough.   


If night fishing is your bag, the few dock lights trips taken lately produced snook from 26"-32".  Pilchards  3"-4" long and DOA shrimp fished on 10# and 12# spinning tackle did the job on 'em.       


Bay area fishing should remain HOT for the next couple of  weeks without too much change in present pattern.                      


Until next time, keep 'em bent,

Florida Light Tackle Charters.com                                     TAMPA BAY FISHING REPORT 10/07/02
9/30/02 to 10/07/02

The weather in the Tampa Bay area was Chamber of Commerce perfect this week with area fishing following suite.


Redfish have regrouped and were readily taking soft plastic jigs and live bait. A few nice Snook were also caught while live baiting for Reds, making the slam quite do-able.


Trout action remains steady. Most are smaller fish with a few in the 18" to 20" range and the odd 4 to 5 pounder.


Cobia are showing up in the mouth of Tampa Bay with some in the 40 pound plus range.  

Inshore Grouper action is heating up and Mangrove Snappers are still chewing in Tampa and around the Gulf passes.


Add Spanish Mackerel, big Black Tip Sharks, and the fall Kingfish arrival to the equation, and the month of October is a light tackle bonanza in the Tampa Bay area.


Keep em bent,


Fishing report for Tampa Bay area.

9/23/ through 9/28/'02


High winds associated with Isodore kept most anglers off the water Monday through Thursday.   Friday's scouting revealed inshore waters starting to clear, but Redfish still scattered from the wind.


Saturday's charter found small Trout plentiful, with a few keepers on jigs. Redfish were still scattered, but some slot sized and bigger Snook were located on certain flat's edges and sand holes during the first half of the morning outgoing tide.


Snapper fishing in Tampa Bay remains fair to good.  While anchored on the edge of the ship's channel inside Tampa Bay, chumming for Snappers and Spanish mackerel Saturday afternoon, we were surprised by two lost Kingfish on snapper rigs and the release of an estimated 25-30 pounder on 12 lb. test.  He took a 3" pilchard, flat lined for Spanish Mackerel.


Also, Pompano action remains fair to good at mid and upper Tampa Bay bridges for piling scrapers fishing with jigs and fiddlers.


Keep 'em bent,