Offshore fly fishing around Tampa Bay can be some of the most exciting fishing in the world. The pelagic fish that migrate off the bay’s continuous coast make the best and most consistent offshore fly fishing. Angling for Kingfish that migrate through the fall and the spring are among some of the most exciting offshore fly fishing experiences Tampa Bay charter Captains have to offer.
They average 8 to 20 pounds; trophies are between 30 to 40 pounds and some may top 50 pounds. An efficient Tampa Bay fishing guide has plenty of bait to keep the Kingfish chummed to the surface all day. Under these circumstances many times a large streamer is almost as affective as live bait.
Often mixed in with the Kingfish will be Spanish Mackerel, Little Tunny, Jacks, Cobia, Mahia, Bar Jacks and sometimes even Sailfish. The Mackerel, Cobia, Jacks and Mahai are more of a spring fall and summer event for the Tampa Bay fly fisherman.
The Little Tunny also known as the False Albacore is pretty much year round and a favorite of Tampa Bay fishing guides. They travel in large schools averaging 8 to 15 pounds. They pull pound for pound as hard as any fish in the world and love to eat flies. Of course there are also plenty of Snapper and Grouper as well. They are not as easy a target for the fly fisherman. It is possible to catch them with weighted lines, if one would like to add a few more species to the list.
Tampa Bay fly fishing is one of the premier flats fly fishing areas in the world, with thousands of acres of flats, mangrove filled backwaters and back bays. It is no wonder fishermen come from around the world to fish its pristine waters. Probably the very best fly fishing experienced in Tampa bay is the Snook and Redfish. The shallow clear water they inhabit makes them a favorite among Tampa Bay fishing guides, and the fly fisherman they take in search of them. On an average day with an experienced charter captain, a client can expect a dozen or so snook on the fly. On a superior day with a Tampa bay charter captain, clients may battle 20 or more snook and on the best days upwards of 50 snook. Most of the Snook will range in the 21 to 26 inch class. A large snook on the fly in Tampa bay is 30 plus inches. There are larger fish taken, 40 plus inches, but most of the giants are taken on live bait. On a 8 or 9 weight fly rod in 3 feet of water, especially when classic sight fishing, getting to watch an average size 25 inch snook run up and grab your fly is spectacular fun. Along with their notorious hard pulling runs, the snook is a hard adversary to beat. For the Tampa fishing guide the snook is probably the most popular fish that clients love to catch. They eat flies well, and they are very consistent from day to day.
Redfish are the other favorite target of fly fisherman in Tampa Bay. They inhabit many of the similar waters of the Snook. Many times a Tampa bay fly fisherman may catch a redfish mixed in with Snook. Tampa Bay fishing is renowned for its large schools of massive reds, sometimes so large they turn the water orange. These large schools of redfish are favorites among Tampa fishing guides and their charters. They are extremely susceptible to fall for the angler’s flies when feeding in such a large pack. Usually the larger schools are fish of the same size. It seems they are usually all 18 to 26 inches or sometimes 27 to 35 inches when they are in the larger schools. In the dead of the winter, you will get schools of smaller fish, and sometimes in the fall you will find schools of larger ones, with some Tampa Bay redfish exceeding 40 inches.
Tampa fishing captains and their fly fishermen also enjoy angling for Speckled Trout. Although out in the bay what they lack in fight power, they make it up in numbers. It is always a nice bonus to finish off a backwater slam, a Snook, Redfish and Trout in the same day. They are also great eating.
The Snook, Redfish and Trout are the most sought after species for Tampa Bay fishermen. The fly fishermen also enjoy great Pompano fishing on a eight or nine weight fly rod with 2 to 6 pounders making for great sport. Jack Crevalle also creates an explosive fly fishing experience. Many times they can be found cruising the shallow flats of Tampa Bay. They can approach 30 pounds and readily take flies. In the spring and fall Tampa Bay gets a very good run of Cobia at times, most range from 15 to 50 pounds and sometimes over 80 pounds. They usually are found following Rays. At that point all it takes is a well placed crab or pinfish imitation, and its game on. If good fishing with lots of action is all you are looking for or maybe you a beginner, Tampa Bay flats are always teaming with lady fish and at 1 to 4 pounds they are hard fighters, easy to catch, high jumping and numerous. For the Tampa Bay guide and his fishermen fishing in Tampa Bay is a dream come true.