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Tampa Fishing Reports

2015 July Tampa Fishing Report

Over the course of June, snook really started to come into their own and, on most Tampa Fishing Charters, were caught in greater abundance than redfish. The best bite tended to occur first thing in the morning, on the moving tides, or late in the day, as is typical. One interesting phenomenon occurring right now is that these fish are more receptive to eating larger whitebaits, as opposed to grass grunts.  It's almost as if these fish are seeing so many grass grunts presented to them now that they are turning off of them a little bit.  This is a strange occurrence as, historically, most bigger fish are caught on these bigger baits. July should continue to provide solid action as these fish continue to spawn in the passes through the coming month. Often, some of the largest fish show up now so those on the trophy hunt may want to put in a few extra days in the near term.


Tarpon fishing continues to improve year to year in Northern Pinellas County with many Tampa Fishing Guides being able to catch these fish with regularity. The best action is usually in May and June, but last July saw a large influx of these fish so catching a silver king still remains a possibility this summer.


The best seatrout action of the year is mostly over until cool waters return.  The migration of fish from the inter-coastal to the beaches never really seemed to happen in force this year as large trout were only caught sporadically on the outside. Even in a normal year, the numbers of bigger fish on the beach seems to taper off by early June though so, at this point, the quality fishing for them would be over.


A few schools of redfish have popped up in the last two weeks, but it's 20 - 30 fish...not 150.  Nevertheless, these fish are mid slot and over slot so all of the fish being caught provide good entertainment.  With water temperatures hovering in the high eighties already, even the redfish are heading for cover so fishing early and late or under cover during the higher tides is the best approach.


As hot as it is, it's time to get creative. Although it's a common belief that grouper are "way out" now, this may not be the case as gag grouper season just opened so fish that have stayed inshore should not have been bothered for 6 months and may well want to eat.  Although there probably aren't a large number of near shore legal gags, rest assured that there some out there to be caught in less than 40 feet of water, which is plenty close enough for the near shore angler.  Large whitebaits, grunts and pinfish are all viable baits to get the job done. Don't be surprised if there aren't a few mangrove snapper around as well as sporadic legal sized fish, actually up to 18 inches, have been caught right on shore on some Tampa Fishing Charters.  Another edible target that has been making an occasional appearance is the flounder.  These fish tend to like current flow and are generally found over the sand, oftentimes near rocky structure.  Small whitebaits and pinfish will be devoured if dropped anywhere near these aggressive flatfish.


Good luck and good fishing.