More than 200 species of fish thrive in the various waterways of Tampa Bay. In fact, it’s often referred to as a “crown jewel” for anglers of all skill levels. Here you’ll find anglers targeting numerous species on any given day, including tarpon, redfish, and snook. Other sought-after species include jack crevalle, grouper, snapper, cobia, ladyfish, mackerel, flounder, and sharks. The waters in and around Tampa Bay are rich with fishing opportunities. Anglers are often highly successful in just one fishing trip, which keeps them returning for more!
Many anglers choose a 7-foot medium to medium-light rod for fishing at Tampa Bay. A 1500-3000 reel spooled with 10 – 20 lb braided line and a 20” fluorocarbon 12 – 20 lb leader should do nicely for catching a range of fish in these rich waters. Fishing from a boat near reefs, kayaking through mangroves, or heading out to deeper waters on a charter are all popular ways to fish the bay. You can also fly fish from Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Bishop Harbor, Hillsborough Bay, St Petersburg, Fort De Soto Park, and Clearwater Beach.
Snook, trout, redfish, black drum, sheepshead, and flounder are abundant in the shallow flats when temperatures reach 50 – 60° in January and February. You can also catch albacore and pompano from the beaches in winter. Kingfish, grouper, snapper, mackerel, false albacore, dorado, barracuda, amberjack, sharks, and goliath grouper start biting in spring.
May and June are the best months for catching tarpon near the beach, with most big game fish thriving through September. August is the best time to fish for minnow and other baitfish. While the fish typically move to backwaters from October to January, there are still some excellent winter fishing opportunities for avid anglers in Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay Fish:
Tampa Bay boat ramps:
The following boat ramps provide access to Tampa Bay.