Tampa Bay Fishing Charters

Tampa Fishing Charters, offering full and half day charters on the waters of Tampa Bay

Tarpon Fishing Remains Red Hot in Tampa Bay

July was an awesome month for my clients here in Tampa Bay with numerous tarpon caught up into the 200lb range.  Thankfully the tarpon finally started to show up in good numbers as the earlier part of the season was a little on the spotty side to say the least.  My customers have been enjoying some great Tampa Bay tarpon action and I don’t foresee the action slowing down any as we go through August.  Historically August thru October are some of the best months for tarpon fishing here in Tampa Bay.

Fishing Report July 2017

Fishing in Tampa Bay has continued to be hot. The snook fishing has been fast paced and the tarpon are starting to show up in great numbers.  My customers have been enjoying some awesome Tampa Bay snook action recently with many charters catching 40 plus snook per trip.  The tarpon have moved into Tampa Bay in good numbers and are starting cooperate.  Clients have been enjoying the drag screaming thrill of the giant “Silver King” as of late.  Tarpon up to 200lbs have been caught recently here in Tampa Bay.  I look for the tarpon bite to only get better the further into summer we get.  We have also been enjoying some good mangrove snapper fishing as of late.  These are great table fare and put up a wonderful fight on light tackle.

Tampa Tarpon

Tampa Bay Tarpon

Tampa Tarpon

If you’re looking to get out in Tampa Bay and do some fishing please Book Your Trip here.  “Catching Life’s Memories” for over 20 years in Tampa Bay.

Fish Handling for Catch and Release in Tampa Bay

Due to the fact that most fish in the Tampa Bay Area are Catch and release the handling of these fish becomes extremely important in order to ensure the mortatility rate is kept to a minimum. Given the strict size, season and bag limits in the Tampa Bay Area I would venture to say that at least 80% of the fish caught should be released.

Incorrectly handling fish prior to releasing them can have a huge impact on their ability to survive the release. I have been guiding in Tampa Bay for over 20 years and have often witnessed fish being mishandled by your average angler as well as by many guides.
In my opinion, one of the most harmful and most noted mishandling occurs by using a landing net on undersized, oversized or out of season fish. I have often witnessed other guides and recreational anglers automatically reaching for the landing net in order to boat a fish that should easily be judged to be released based on size or seasons. I don’t understand the need for using a landing net on fish that are destined to be released. I haven’t carried a landing net on my boat for over a decade. Even if the fish is an oversized snook or redfish that the angler wishes to have a picture taken with, these fish should be landed by hand, properly supported and quickly revived and released after photos have been taken. With regards to pictures being taken, prior to removing the fish from the water the angler and photographer should be ready to quickly take the desired photos (i.e., camera readily accessible, camera turned on and ready to shoot). One of my favorite sayings regarding how long you should keep the fish out of water is to start holding your breath the second you remove the fish from the water. This will give you a sense of how long it takes for the fish to starve for oxygen.

Another example of terrible mishandling of fish is when I see pictures posted online of fish laying on the ground, sea wall, rock jetty, or boat deck. It is certain that the fish have been flopping around on these areas prior to the pictures being taken and have most certainly lost lots of its protective slime barrier. This is totally unnecessary and unacceptable. I’ve often seen where the poster of these pictures will follow up with “the fish swam away fine”. The fish very well may have swam away but most likely it was not fine later down the road.

I would suggest everyone obtain and learn to use a dehooker. I love mine and consider it to be one of the best tools on my boat. The vast majority of fish caught on my boat are released without ever leaving the water. This ensures the best possible chances for the fish to survive the release. This is especially true for speckled trout who are extremely fragile and will die if slightly mishandled in any way.

With the enormous influx of people moving to the Tampa Bay Area our wonderful fishery will be under more and more angling pressure. This increased pressure needs to be educated in the proper handling of our fish so that we can continue to enjoy the wonderful angling opportunities Tampa Bay offers.

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