Tampa Bay Fishing, Tampa Bay New Year Fishing Report

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Tampa Bay New Year Fishing Report

It seems like it was only a few months ago since I wrote a New Years fishing report. It really is amazing how fast time flies, especially when you are busy doing something you enjoy. I can’t believe this year will mark my 18th year as a charter captain and another year has gone by so fast. That equals over 43,000 Snook landed in my boat and that is a light estimate, it may be closer to or more than 48,000 and can you believe I took 97 percent of them off the hook. Not to mention probably an equal number of Trout and Redfish. My boat has hooked and battled about 7500 giant Tarpon over the same time period. That’s crazy, when I break out my calculator and run the numbers. In a million years if someone told me I would land 43,000 Snook in my career I would never have believed them. It has been a great time, the good days and the tough days. I owe it all to my patriot customers and thank all of you for making my dream to be a fishing guide come true. I wish all of you a happy 2013 and have high hopes that it will be prosperous for everyone.

The fishing in 2012 was very good. Snook are making a strong recovery. There is still no reason to open a season on them, but we do have a fair fishable number. Some of my best days this year we did catch over 100 Snook in a day. The average size is small, but if the season remains closed the larger fish will come.

The Trout population is really strong. I have been landing larger Trout than ever. It really seems like there is a lot more Trout around that are really nice size. The 20 plus inch fish seem to be more plentiful than I can ever remember. The Longer I have been a charter captain the better I get at catching fish, but factoring that in areas I use to catch a ton of small Trout seem to be holding a ton of larger Trout, so I guess that’s why I say the Trout are doing so good.

The Redfishing remains strong as well. I can’t say it is better than when I started nearly 20 years ago, but it seems just as good and as solid as I can ever remember. Redfish in general from month to month are never as consist as Snook and Trout. The species is much more sporadic on their movement and patterns, so it’s hard to rate the health of the population; but I think they are holding strong.

Tarpon, my personal favorite, is doing very good. It seems like every year the schools are getting larger and larger. That is good and bad. Tampa Bay Tarpon fishing is quickly becoming world renown as the best Tarpon fishing for giant Tarpon in the world. The bad news is there is more boat traffic than ever out there fishing for them. The good news is there is more fish and I get a little more proficient at catching them each year. Last year and the year before my best days saw over 40 Tarpon hooked in a single outing and those are all large mature fish.

Offshore, with the tighter regulations, Grouper and Snapper fishing are very good. As good as I can ever remember it. Going out and getting a lot of bottom fish action never seems to be a problem.

The pelagic fish seem to be doing great as well. The Kingfish are doing great; we always see a nice large push in the fall and spring. Mackerel are thick as thieves. False Albacore seem to be everywhere. There are plenty of Amberjack and the Cobias are stable.

The only migratory species that doesn’t seem to be prolific are Permit and Pompano. That may be because the commercial fisherman hit them hard. They are never consistent from year to year or month to month, so it’s tough to say with both species. This past year may be the best year we ever had though.

Sharks also seem to be a little thicker, which is always a good sign for the overall health of our ocean.

The Goliath Grouper are still plentiful to catch, maybe not quite as thick as they used to be, but still plenty of action on them.

Overall to me, in my professional opinion, our fishing is doing great and there is a lot of fish out there to catch. I look forward to great fishing in 2013 and I look forward to making some great moments for all the fishermen who choose to spend a day on the water with me. Again, I thank you all.

I hope to see you on the water soon, it’s the time to plan your spring fishing and summer Tarpon trips as my calendar fills quickly after the first of the year?

Have a great 2013!!!!
Capt. Matt
941-447-9888
www.CaptainMatt.com

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