Archive for 2010

Here’s to a warmer drier Winter!

We are in the full swing of the holiday season. Thanksgiving just passed and Christmas is right around the corner. That means we are at the end of the year. It’s time to look back and reflect on what 2010 has brought us.  We are going to put 2010’s offerings behind us and look forward to a new year and a new start. We already have good news to end the year. NOAA is predicting a warmer and drier winter for Tampa Bay thanks to La Nina. If predictions hold true, we are in store for a very fun and productive few months.Tampa redfish fishing charter

Redfish

Redfish are not affected by the cooler water temperatures as much, making them a winter time favorite. Areas from Cockroach Bay to the Alafia will hold fish. With sardines getting harder to find as temperatures fall, live shrimp is a good alternative. I like the trusty cork with 25lb Berkley fluorocarbon leader and a #1 Daiichi circle hook. Winter fishing is a good opportunity to refine your artificial skills. Spoons, soft plastics and hard baits will produce. As the water temperatures drop, the key is to slow your approach.

Trout

Season will remain closed all month, but trout will still offer some nice catch and release. Start the morning off with a top water plug. I like the Zara Spook in a bone color. When the bite slows, I switch to a soft plastic. I like the D.O.A  4” jerk bait. For trout, I like anything white. I like to rig weedless with a 5/0 Daiichi Butt Dragger. It’s a weighted weedless hook. Fish the flats from Joe Island up to the Little Manatee River. Remember, season will remain closed in the Tampa Bay region so try to handle the fish as little as possible and use a dehooker.

Grouper

This is the time of year us inshore guys look forward to. The grouper have started to make their way inside the bay, making it possible for us to get some grocories. Trolling the ship channel may not be the most fun, but it is definitely the most productive.  Manns stretch 30 is a popular plug to troll with. A #4 planner with a white buck tail jig will also produce. If trolling is not your thing, live pinfish, frozen sardines, and squid are sure to score some keepers. There are still some rumblings about grouper closures so keep a look out for any changes.

Best of the Rest

When temperatures really start to get cold, look to our power plant to be a refuge for many different species. The warm water discharge will attract a wide variety of species and people….Sharks, Cobia, Snook, Pompano, Jack’s and many more. Just remember to be courteous of other boaters and the anglers fishing from shore. I hope everyone has a Happy Holiday and a safe New Year!

To book a Tampa Fishing Charter with Tampa fishing guide Capt. Will Shook, call 813-732-5971 or email CaptainWilliam@Live.com

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Fall is in The Air. November Report.

Fall is in the air. November brings shorter days and cooler temperatures. With our clocks turning back, the days have become shorter and temperatures have fallen. If Mother Nature cooperates, November can be very productive month. Snook have started their migration to the back country, a few schools of redfish will be willing to play, although closed in our region, big trout will invade the flats and the mackerel will be around as long as temperatures stay warm.Tampa fising guide

Mackerel

It started last month and should stay as long as the weather cooperates. With water temperatures hovering around the 72-75 degree mark, look for the spanish mackerel bite to stay hot all month long. There are several ways to fish for mackerel. I prefer to find a spot with lots of structure, like a ship channel ledge or an artificial reef. The structure will hold bait and mackerel are in search for an easy meal. Anchor up tide of the structure, set out a chum block, some live chum and you are sure to attract some mackerel attention. A 40lb Berkley fluorocarbon leader with a long shank hook will increase your hookups. If you looking for the real smokers (king mackerel), the best place to start is the Skyway Bridge. Same approach as the spanish mackerel but with heavier gear. Steel leader 20-40 lb is a must. Live blue runners or threadfins will get the job done.

Redfish

The Tampa Bay charter redfish bite was a little inconsistent last month. Some days were good and other days not so good. There have been some decent schools in the Tampa Bay area but not like in the past. The fish we have been catching are in groups of 2-6 fish. On low tides, fish the drop offs on the edge of the flats. As the tide moves in, fish mangrove trees, oyster bars and points. If you are out on the flats, always keep your eye out for schooling fish. We should still see some schools on our flats this month. When searching for schooling fish, I look for the schools of mullet. This is a good sign that some fish are around. I also like to fish the schools of mullet. Redfish and other game species like to hang around and feed on anything the mullet kick up.

Snook

Snook season will remain closed but catch and release is still an option. This year will be very interesting for us in this region. I think we will get a good gage on how the snook population was affected. There still are some nice fish to be caught. Areas north of Apollo Beach seem to be okay.

The Tampa Bay snook have started to make their move to their winter spots so look at some of the usual stopping points in our area. Piney Point and Cockroach Bay is a good starting point. Tidal flow is important any time you are targeting snook. Target areas where the tide flows with good ambush points. Live scaled sardine (white bait) on a 30lb Berkley fluorocarbon leader with a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook free lined will be a winner. Remember to handle these fish with extreme care and as little as possible. We need to take care of the ones we have.

Best of the Rest

Trout season will close this month and remain closed through December. With the cooler temperatures, we will see some of the big gator trout invade our flats. Trout are a good species to target with artificial. Top water plugs to soft plastics and everything in between will work. My go to bait is any white body soft plastic rigged weedless. Remember they have a protective coating so try not to handle them and use a dehooker to release them. Grouper will continue to make their way into our region. A great starting point is the ship channel. Troll a Manns Stretch 30 plug or a white buck tail jig and you are sure to score some nice gags. Be sure to keep an eye on the grouper changes coming down. Look for sheepshead to start to show up in our region. Most structure will hold sheephead. Dock pilings, rocks, and jetties. I like shrimp on a jig head. As water temperatures cool, more fish will show up.

Captain Will Shook is a full-time fishing guide. To book a Tampa fishing charter, call 813-732-5971 or visit

http://www.tampaflfishingcharters.com/email.html

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Tampa Bay Fishing Report 10/15

Tampa Bay fishing charters are keeping rods bent and anglers happy. The Tampa Bay trout bite has been and will continue to stay on fire as waters cool. Look for the bite to go strong through the remainder of the year. Most grass flats with good tidal flow in the Tampa Bay area will hold fish. I like to use 25lb fluorocarbon leader under a popping cork. Shrimp or scaled sardines are my baits of choice. The redfish bite has slowed down but we should see it pick back up any day now.Fishing Charter for Snook The spanish mackerel bite is really heating up. This should continue through November if the weather stays warm. Fishing Tampa Bay ship channels and artificial reefs will produce good fish. 40lb fluorocarbon leader and a long shank hook are a must. Increase your odds with a chum block and a livewell full of sardines. Anchor boat up tide of structure and hang chum bag over to create a chum slick. Chum with live sardines, deploy baits and hang on. Mackerel can be tasty if you treat the meat properly. Make sure you have plenty of ice and get the fish on it ASAP. Snook season in the Tampa Bay area will be closed until September 2011. I haven’t been targeting them but have had some nice catches. We caught the snook pictured on a live scaled sardine will fishing for trout. This is a very encouraging sign for the snook fishery. We will be back to normal in no time.

To book a Tampa Bay fishing charter with Tampa Bay fishing guide Capt. Will Shook, call 813-732-5971 or email CaptainWilliam@Live.com

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Tampa Bay Fishing October Report.

October is here and our options are endless. Water temperatures started to fall last month and will continue. October is one of my favorite months to fish. The weather starts to cool, the redfish bite is going off, snook are on the move back from the passes, trout continue to keep rods bent, grouper start their move closer, mangrove snapper are still around, and the mackerel (King and Spanish) invade Tampa Bay waters once again. Why wouldn’t October be everyone’s favorite?

Fishing Guide Tampa Bay

October Cover

Redfish

The redfish bite was awesome last month and will continue to be hot this month. With pre- and post-spawn fish everywhere, you pick a spot that looks fishy and it will almost always hold some redfish. The redfish have been taking live white bait (scaled sardines). The key is to have plenty of bait to keep the redfish chummed up and interested. I have been fishing a 24” 25lb Trilene fluorocarbon leader with a #1 Daiichi circle hook under a cork. They will also be willing to eat most cut baits. Pinfish, threadfins, mullet and lady fish are good choices. If artificial is your thing, top water plugs with a mullet pattern would be my choice. Most areas fishing Tampa Bay will hold redfish from the Kitchen to Joe Island. The Kitchen and around the Alafia River are holding some nice fish.

Trout

Seems like a broken record, but it holds true again this month. Fishing trout in Tampa Bay has been phenomenal and will continue as temperatures drop. Look for any grass flat with good tidal flow and a good source of bait, and you are sure to run into some trout. Live white bait (scaled sardines) fished under a cork will do the trick for the live baiters. If you want to learn to throw artificials, trout is a good species to start with. They are easily fooled and are willing to eat most baits. A go to bait for beginners is a Berkley Gulp! fished under a popping cork. Get about 18” of fluorocarbon leader, 1/8 ounce jig head, and a cork, and you are good to go. Just cast out, pop the cork every couple of seconds, and continue until you get a bite. This will be the last month to harvest Tampa Bay Trout. Season will close November and December.

Snook

Snook season is officially closed. The FWC had its meeting last month and decided to keep the season closed on the west coast until September 2011. They have opened season on the east coast for September, October and November. They will close it in December and keep it closed until September 2011. I believe they made the right decision. We got hit hard this winter and our snook population has been depleted. I did have some encouraging charters around the downtown and Alafia River last month. While we were fishing for redfish, we got into some small snook. It looks like the spawn went good and the newly hatched fish have made it to the back country. If we can get through this winter, we will be on our way back to normal in a couple of years.

Best of the Rest

We started to see the mackerel bite come on last month, so look for them to start to show up in good numbers this month. Tampa Bay fishing has plenty of good areas for mackerel. Ship channels, range markers, and artificial reefs will have mackerel around them. A chum block, some live threadfins, or white bait, and you have a good recipe for mackerel. Look for the grouper to be moving in a little closer into our region. Live or dead sardines will be sure to get the bite going. Any of the ship channels in Tampa Bay should hold some grouper. The Skyway Bridge will also be a good place to find fish. While you are at the bridge, be sure to have a rod out for kingfish. If temperatures cooperate, we might see some kingfish make their way into Tampa, and the Skyway is a good spot. The mangrove snapper bite has been a little off this year in our region, but there are still some fish to be had. Any rocks around downtown to Apollo Beach may hold fish. Light leader and a small hook is a must.

To book a Tampa Bay Fishing Charter, call Tampa Bay fishing guide Capt. Will Shook.

813-732-5971 or email CaptainWilliam@Live.com

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Tampa Bay Saltwater Angler September Fishing Report

Fall is in the air… Well almost. September is here and we are just around the corner from fall. We should start to get some relief from the summer’s heat and see water temperatures fall. Usually, September means gearing up for one of Tampa Bay’s most revered species, Mr. Snook…Not likely this year. Most likely it will be catch and release only. No need to worry, Tampa Bay fishing charters this time of year offers plenty of catch and release options. If filling the cooler is your thing, you have options too.Tampa Bay fishing guide

Redfish

It’s that time of year for the Tampa Bay redfish. We will see some pre-spawn schools feeding to prepare for the spawn. Spawning season usually runs in the Tampa Bay area from August through November with this month being the peak of the season. It’s not likely that the past winter freeze will have an effect on the timing, but keep that in mind. If your spot held fish last year and not this year, check back in a couple weeks. They might be late. I prefer cut bait over live bait. A cut threadfin, sardine, pinfish or ladyfish will be hard to turn down. If all else fails, go to the old trusty shrimp. I fish a 25lb Trilene fluorocarbon leader with a 1/0 Daiichicircle hook. The Tampa Bay fishing in our region from the Kitchen to Joe Island will hold redfish. Tampa Bay fishing charters have had some very nice days catching redfish.

Trout

Tampa fishing charters for trout has been one of the best years I have seen in a long time. Last month was another good month, and I am looking forward to it continuing through the year. With water temperatures hovering around 90, continue to fish any grass flat in the 4ft-7ft range with good tidal movement and a good source of bait. As temperatures fall, move to some of the shallow flats with good potholes and depth changes. Trout aren’t picky eaters. They will take almost anything. Scaled sardines (green backs) are my go to bait. I fish a 24” 25lb Trilene fluorocarbon leader with a #1 Daiichi circle hook under a weighted cork. The weighted cork will help get the casting distance with lighter baits. If artificial is your game, top water plugs like the Zara Spook or Mirrolure She Dog are good for an early bite. As temperatures rise, I like Berkley Gulp! Shrimp and D.O.A Cal Shad.

Snook

Snook season was set to open September 1st but the FWC has extended the emergency closure through September 17th. They will be holding a meeting in Pensacola Beach at the beginning of the month to review all of the information and then decide whether to reopen the harvest. I have had discussions with other captains and anglers about the closure and the consensus is to keep season closed, maybe through the next spawning season. Our region got hit hard and these fish need time to recover. Our region is holding decent snook but not like it did in the past. If you do target these fish, handle them as careful and as little as possible. This will ensure that the ones that survived will survive your catch.

Best of the Rest

The mackerel bite has been good all summer. The bite has tapered off a little last month but should pick back up as water temperatures cool. Any of our region’s ship channels and range makers will hold fish. A Chum block and lots of live scaled sardines will keep the action lively. A 40lb Berkley Trilene fluorocarbon leader and a 1/0 long shank hook will do the trick.  If water temperatures cooperate, maybe some early season king mackerel will invade the beaches and maybe make their way into our region. Wire leader is a must for these drag burners. Live sardines, threadfins, and blue runners are the best baits. First spot for early season kings is the Skyway bridge and ship channel.

Captain Will Shook is a full-time captain. To book a Tampa fishing charters with Tampa fishing guide Capt Will shook, call 813-732-5971 or visit

http://www.tampaflfishingcharters.com/email.html

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Redfish and Trout Action Continues to stay hot!

The Tampa Bay redfish and trout bite continue to keep anglers happy and rods bent. The redfish bite continues to be hot and will continue through the end of the year. The Tampa Bay redfish continue to school up preparing to spawn and are willing to eat most baits. Take a look at one of my latest Tampa fishing charters. Follow the link to my You Tube video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtWRJ7shVs8 

The Tampa Bay trout bite has been good all year and will continue to get better as waters cool. We have been fishing Tampa Bay’s deeper grass flats to escape the warmer waters and have had some great days. The Tampa Bay trout have been eating scaled sardine (aka. green backs) on a #1 Daiichi circle hook, 18” Berkley Trilene Fluorocarbon leader and a popping cork. Fishing Tampa Bay for trout can be loads of fun for the whole family. The action is steady and they also offer excellent table fair. They are one of my favorite fish to fry. The picture is of the Garcia family with a 24” trout caught while fishing with Tampa Bay fishing guide Capt. Will Shook. To book a Tampa Bay fishing charter call Tampa fishing guide Capt. Will Shook 813-732-5971 or email CaptainWilliam@live.com

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Tampa Bay Redfish Action

The Tampa Bay charter fishing for redfish starts to heat up. Redfish start to spawn in August and continue through November. Redfish will school up and feed heavily to prepare to spawn. Tampa Bay fishing offers a variety of redfish schools and they are eating. We are fishing these schools of redfish in water no deeper than 4 feet making it easy to sight fish them. Schools of redfish range from 10 fish to a couple hundred fish. Seeing the lager schools is an awesome sight. Watching a couple hundred redfish that range 8-15lbs in 3 feet of water is something everyone should experience. I have had some great Tampa Bay charters my last few trips with multiple redfish landed. Some of the schools have been holding some oversize fish. Here is a picture of a client on a Tampa fishing charter with an oversize redfish that measured 35” and weighed over 14lbs. The redfish size limit for Tampa Bay and all of Florida, is 18”-27”. Redfish have no closed season and have a bag limit of 1 redfish per angler. The offer excellent table fair with blackened being my favorite. To book a Tampa Bay fishing charter  call Tampa Bay fishing guide Will Shook 813-732-5971 or email CaptainWilliam@Live.com

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Tampa Bay’s Saltwater Angler August Fishing Report

Tampa Bay’s heat and afternoon rain showers can make August a very challenging month. Just take what Mother Nature gives you and roll with it. The same pattern holds true from last month. Get out early and fish Tampa Bay’s shallow waters for snook, redfish, and trout. When temperatures rise, move deeper and target the mackerel, snapper and shark. Fishing Tampa Bay, offers a wide variety of species.Tampa Bay Fishing Guide

Shark

                This is an often overlooked species which I have targeted more this year than ever before. They offer good drag pull and are just flat out fun to catch. Sharks follow the food source. Find areas in Tampa Bay that are holding mackerel and other pelagic species and the sharks are not far behind. As far as rigs go, I like to use a Penn Sargus 8000 with a 40lb class rod. An 80lb Berkley Trilene Fluorocarbon leader with a 6/0 Daiichi circle hook will do the trick. Spanish mackerel is my bait of choice. They are extremely bloody and oily. You will run into reef sharks, black tips, nurse, and hammerheads to name a few.

Mackerel

                The Spanish mackerel fishing in Tampa Bay bite has been off the hook all summer and will continue to go strong in August.  Long shank hooks with 40lb Trilene fluorocarbon leader will make the perfect rig. Use a chum block and live chum baits and you are sure to attract some mackerel action. Any of our ship channels, markers and artificial reefs will attract mackerel. Mackerel not only keep rods bent, they also are delicious to eat. If you haven’t tried them blackened, you don’t know what you are missing.

Snapper

                We haven’t seen the big push of mangrove snapper in the Tampa Bay region yet but are hopeful the full moon in July will bring these fish in. Most all the ledges, rock piles, and ship channel ledges will have snapper on it. The key to success is to use as light a tackle as possible. 20lb fluorocarbon and a 1-1/0 Daiichi circle hook will do it. Small white bait will be the best bait. Use live bait to chum the snapper up and drift and live bait back into the chum line and fish on. Also look for these fish to show up inshore around docks and flats with a good bait presence and tidal flow.

Redfish

                We should start to see the redfish school up the Tampa Bay region. Look on the flats out front of Simmons Park and the flats south of Cockroach Bay. Get out early and approach these schools quietly and keep your distance. Live white bait (greenbacks), cut threadfin, or cut pinfish will be hard for a redfish to turn down. As the sun gets higher and the water temperatures rise, look to fish the mangrove trees. The redfish use the trees shade to stay cool. The mangroves around Simmons, Little Cockroach, Cockroach Bay, and Joe Island will hold fish.

  Best of the Rest

                The trout have been plentiful and willing to keep rods bent. Fish any of our regions deeper grass flats in the 5-6’ range and you are sure to catch plenty of fish. Scaled sardines work the best, but don’t forget about artificial. A Berkley Gulp! is hard to beat. There are still plenty of post spawn tarpon hanging around. The bite at the end of July was insane. Look for the fish to move up our region from the Skyway all the way up to downtown. Most live bait will work but a D.O.A Baitbuster trolling series is a great artificial to fool a Tampa Bay Tarpon.

Captain Will Shook is a full-time charter captain and grew up fishing Tampa Bay. To book a charter call 813-732-5971

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July Saltwater Angler Magazine Forecast

Here is my Tampa fishing forecast for the July issue of Saltwater Angler Magazine.

Summertime is here and so is the heat. The key for success the next couple of months is to get an early start to avoid the heat and the afternoon thunderstorms. The Silver King (aka tarpon) has topped our list the last couple of months, but don’t say goodbye yet. You will still have a chance at a late season Tampa Tarpon. To keep the rod bent and drag screaming, spanish mackerel will be the ticket. Mangrove snapper will keep you busy this month as they prepare to spawn. Don’t overlook shark, grouper, or cobia. Look to fish deeper waters as our water temperatures heat up and the fish search for cooler water.

Tampa Fishing Gudie

July Saltwater Angler Issue

Tarpon

            The Tampa tarpon fishing bite in the previous two months has been one of the better bites I have experienced. The July bite tends to wind down, but there will still be some fish around. The Skyway Bridge will provide a good possibility for a hook up. Heavy gear is essential for success to land a tarpon around the bridge’s structure. If you want to venture out of the region, the beaches off Anna Maria, Egmont and Ft. De Soto will still hold pods of tarpon. The key is to get out early and be stealthy. Look for pods of fish cruising the beach and setup ahead of the school and present bait. Crabs and threadfins are the bait of choice. Scaled sardine or pinfish will also produce.

Redfish

            Fishing Tampa bay for redfish is still going strong. Look for them to take refuge from the sun’s heat under mangroves. Areas like Simmons Park, Cockroach Bay and Joe Island are prime spots to score a catch. Cut bait seems to be the more popular bait, but don’t overlook artificial. Dead stick a scented bait under a mangrove and it is sure to produce a bite.

Snook

            I have tried to stay away from fishing snook in Tampa this year. We need to give them as much of a break as possible. The only time I have fished them is for a few charity tournaments. Our region around the Alafia River is holding a good number of healthy fish. I fished a charity slam tournament last month and had a very promising experience. We had several big snook caught that looked very healthy. 33” took biggest snook for the tournament. We also had 32”, 29” and several that were 27” and below.

            If you do catch snook this month, remember season will remain closed. Be sure to handle each fish with extreme care and get them back in the water ASAP.

Mackerel

            If you are looking to keep the rods bent, drag screaming and for decent table fair, the spanish mackerel will be your target. Find any shipping channel, range marker or any other structure in our region and you are sure to run into the mackerel. Anchor up tide, create a chum slick and hang on. I prefer small scaled sardine on a long shank hook with 40lb of fluorocarbon leader. You will have more cut off’s compared to steel leader, but I believe you will have more hookups. Areas to try: Skyway Bridge and ship channel, Port Manatee artificial reef, and the Bahia Beach reef.

Best of the Rest

            The cobia run has started off with a bang this year. We have had multiple hookup days. This has been the best cobia run in recent years. Have rod rigged with a pinfish, check the makers on your way to your fishing holes, and you are sure to encounter the brown bomber. Snapper fishing should start to kick off this month. Mangrove snapper will start to school up and prepare to spawn. The ship channels and other ledges will hold schools of snapper. A small newly hatched scaled sardine will be the best bait. Scale down your tackle as much as possible to ensure lots of action. While fishing the same areas, have a heavy rod rigged and ready to battle the man in the grey suit that may be lurking under your boat for an easy prey. Black tip, hammerheads, spinners and others will be willing to play.

Captain Will Shook is a full-time guide in Tampa Bay and has been fishing the waters of Tampa Bay for over 20 years. To book a Tampa fishing charter with Capt. Will Shook, call 813-732-5971

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Tampa Bay Mackerel Fishing

Tampa Bay mackerel fishing has been hot and will continue to be hot all summer. Light tackle fishing Tampa Bay for mackerel can be fun and challenging. Most all the Tampa Bay’s ship channels, rock piles and artificial reef s will hold mackerel among other species.

Tampa mackerel fishing

 Tampa mackerel fishing is a blast but they also are great to eat. Tampa Bay offers a wide variety of species during the summer. Shark, snapper, tarpon and of course redfish, snook and trout.  If you want to book a Tampa Fishing Charter, give Capt. Will Shook a call today! 813-732-5971

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