Fishing is the most popular recreation in Tampa Bay, which is likely, because it poses as a shallow estuary and natural harbor connecting Florida’s west coast to the Gulf of Mexico.
Historically, Tampa Bay’s shores served as home for thousands of years to the Weedon Island Culture and later to the Safety Harbor Culture. As a matter of fact, those Native American cultures did not have to farm since the saltwater of Tampa Bay were rich enough to suffice as the sole source of food.
Tampa Bay fisheries, the well developed bay watershed and improved quality of water has seen increased numbers of popular fish species, particularly trout, snook and redfish. Even the most coveted quarry of fly anglers, the Tarpon, is reported to have made an impressive return in Tampa Bay waters. That is probably why fly fishing, which used to be some sort of elitist sport due to its higher level of difficulty, is gaining popularity in Tampa Bay.
According to Captain Bryon Chamberlin, one of Tampa Bay’s seasoned fly fishing guides, the shallow water flats have become typical fishing grounds for most fly anglers because there are a multitude of fish species flocking the bay areas. Captain Chamberlin reports that even more rewarding for anglers fly fishing for the money are the pelagic wanderers that seasonally invade the area. When open-sea species like the cobia, triple tail, king mackerel and Spanish mackerel make their way to the water flats they pose as perfect fly rod targets to the expert anglers.
Latest Tampa Bay Saltwater Fishing Report
In the most recent Tampa Bay Saltwater Fishing Report (January 03, 2020) submitted by Capt. Ethan Kiburz, operator of one of Tampa Bay’s fly fishing charters, there are big low tides during the morning, which could prove to be beneficial, albeit dependent on the topography of the flat picked as fishing area.
Captain Kiburz give advice that flats with gradual drop fish landing areas are 10 times better because they allow the fish to stay longer. Once the water levels go lower, all species tend to have their guard down and start pushing to the shoreline. It is only when the water fills that the fish become aware of their surroundings, which makes everything better for anglers.
Currently in season this month of January, which fishing aficionados are most likely to catch are the Amberjack, Bluefish, Grouper (Black), Grouper (Red), Sheepshead and Tripletail species
As an aside, for those looking to try out some new reels for saltwater fishing in Tampa Bay, not a few Florida anglers recommend the lighter types as the best fly reel for the money.