Archive for 2012

November Report

We are nearing the close of another great year of fishing with friends and family, making memories that last a lifetime. This is the time of year when we show thanks and appreciation to the people we have around us. December should play out like previous December barring any unseasonably colder weather. Snook fishing will slow down as they prepare for the winter. The redfish action should stay consistent, as they are not affected by the cooler weather. Big trout will invade our flats as temperatures fall. Sheepshead will school up preparing for spawn in the coming months. Flounder will also be a target species as temperatures fall. The key to a successful month is to be flexible with the changing weather.


The redfish action along the Southshore has been hot the last few months. Look for things to slow down a little, but the action should stay consistent. I have had a ton of success this year fishing the schools of mullet. Most anywhere along the Southshore you can find mullet. Where there are mullet, most of the time there are redfish. Bait is hard to come by this time of year, so shrimp and artificial lures are great alternatives. I like to tail hook a live shrimp with a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook and 25lb Ohero Fluorocarbon leader. A small split shot may be needed to increase your casting distance. Gulp! shrimp and D.O.A shrimp are my go-to artificial baits. The key is to slow down your presentation.

Tampa Bay "Gator Trout"


The big “Gator” trout have started to show up on our flats along with plenty of smaller ones. I like to find a flat with good grass and plenty of potholes. Work the edges of as many potholes as you can and you are sure to find some quality fish. Trout are a good species to work on your artificial bait skills because they are easy to fool. One good way is a Gulp! shrimp on a popping cork. Just cast out and pop the cork. The popping sound will draw the trout’s attention and you are sure to hook up. This is a great way to get kids into fishing. Trout no longer have a closed season. They don’t freeze well so only take what you plan on eating and use a dehooker for the ones you release.


As long as the water temperatures don’t get too cold too quick, we can enjoy catch and release snook fishing all month. All the rivers in our area (Hillsborough, Palm, Alafia, Little Manatee) will have plenty of snook this month. Free lined shrimp with a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook with a 30lb Ohero Fluorocarbon leader is a great winter time bait. A D.O.A. shrimp and Gulp! shrimp are also two great winter time baits. The key is to work the baits extremely slow. You want the shrimp to look as natural as possible. Handle each fish with extreme care for a safe release.

Best of the Rest

Flounder are almost a forgotten species for me. They are fun to catch and offer excellent table fare. This is a great time of year to target them. Areas with hard bottoms adjacent to the grass flats are a great place to start.  A live shrimp on a ¼ ounce jig head fished on the bottom is a great set up. Sheepshead should start to school up around docks, rock piles, and ledges. Live shrimp or sand fleas fished on a jig head will work great. If temperatures drop fast and get cold, look for fish around our power plant.


Tampa Fishing Charters New Boat!

Hey folks! I finally got my new boat on Friday 10/5/12. So now, you all will be fishing aboard Miss Mae, my new 23′ custom built Aeon Marine boat. She has a custom built half tower with a little shade to offer some relief from our Tampa Bay sun. She has all new electronics and safety gear to assure a comfortable and safe Tampa fishing charter with me, Tampa Bay fishing guide, Captain Will Shook.

Tampa Bay fishing guide

Miss Mae

The fishing has been on fire my last couple of Tampa fishing charters. The redfish bite has been hot and should stay hot throughout the next few months. I have been fishing the schools of mullet using cut bait. I use a 25lb Ohero fluorocarbon leader with a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook.

The spanish mackerel bite has been heating up. I fished a few miles of St. Pete Beach and ran into a giant school of mackerel. I have been using a 2/0 Eagle Claw long shank hook with a 40lb Berkley mono leader. The long shank hooks help reduce cut-offs. Look for the King mackerel to start moving into our area as the water temperatures drop.

The Tampa Bay fishing trout and snook bite will continue to heat up as we go through the month.

If you want to book a Tampa Bay fishing charter with Tampa Bay fishing guide Capt. Will Shook, call 813.732.5971 or email me at

Tampa Bay Redfish and Trout Fishing


Tampa Bay October Fishing Forecast

Fall is in the air.  Well, at least what we in Tampa, Florida call Fall.  That means shorter days and slightly cooler temperatures.  As we move through the month, the days get shorter and water temperatures begin to drop.  We will also start to see some mild cold fronts push through, cooling water temperatures. If you haven’t noticed, the common theme this month is water temperature.  Fish don’t have a calendar to notify them of the changing months. Therefore, they rely on the change in the water temperature.  Our temperatures will start to fall into the 70’s signaling to the fish that winter is approaching.  This means they will begin feeding heavily and packing on the weight for the approaching winter.


Tampa fishing guides for redfish were the hot target last month and will continue to be the hot target this month.  The bite has been outstanding in most all areas of Tampa Bay.  In our region, the same holds true.  The water clarity in our region hasn’t been the best, so sight casting schools of fish has been tough.  I have gone back to the basics…find the mullet and you are sure to find some redfish.  It will take some patience and work, but it will pay off.  Cut bait seems to be the best bait, and I prefer pinfish or threadfins.  Fish it free lined on 25lb Ohero fluorocarbon leader with a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook.

Tampa Bay fishing guide

Dinner Time


Tampa fishing charters snook season will remain closed until August 2013.  Catch and release action will heat up this month. The last few weeks of September were a little slow.  I believe they are in a transition period, but when the fish settle down and get prepared for the coming months, the bite should go off.  Our region is a great snook fishery.  It has plenty of estuaries you look for when snook fishing…good tidal flow, ambush points, mangroves, and plenty of food.  If you put all of these things together, you have a recipe for a perfect snook habitat.  I prefer live green backs fished free lined with a 30lb Ohero fluorocarbon leader and a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook.  If the live bait bite is not working and you know fish are there, try cut bait.


Tampa Bay trout fishing has slowed a little on the South Shore, but as temperatures cool, look for the bite to pickup.  We are getting into those months when you go out and target that trophy size fish.  As the water temps cool, the bigger fish will move onto the flats in search of food. I like working the potholes on the low, incoming tides.  Live or cut bait will work fished free lined with a 25lb Ohero fluorocarbon leader and a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook.  If artificial is your game, now is the time to work on the skills.  Trout are not too picky, so they are a good species to use artificials on.  Topwater plugs are a favorite of mine. Seeing a big trout explode on a topwater plug is exciting.  I usually fish them early in the morning and switch to a soft plastic jerk bait later in the day.

Best of the Rest

The spanish mackerel started to show up in our region late last month and should only get better.  Areas around the Skyway and the main ship channel will hold both spanish and king mackerel.  A chum block and plenty of live bait to chum with will draw attention from both species.  For spanish mackerel, long shank hook and 40lb leader should work.  If you are getting a lot of cut offs, switch to light steel leader.  For the king mackerel, steel leader is almost a must.  A 30-40 lb steel leader will work.  If you are running into a lot of short strikes, add a stinger rig.  Blue fish will also be hanging around with the macks.  Use the same setup as you use for mackerel fishing.

To book a charter with Tampa Bay fishing guide, Capt. Will Shook, call 813.732.5971 or visit


Tampa Snook Fishing is Hot!

Tampa Snook Fishing Charters

Tampa snook fishing charters have started to heat up as fish start to move around and prepare for the cooler months to come. Snook are starting to make their move from their summer time areas to their fall areas in good numbers. We have been fishing live scaled sardines around the mangroves with great sucess. Light tackle spinning gear makes it very challenging to land the hard fighting snook. We are also catching redfish and trout while snook fishing. Call now to book your Tampa Fishing Charter. 813.732.5971


August Report

August poses many challenges, but with planning and preparation you can have a successful month. The key is to get out early and get off the water before it gets too hot or before the thunderstorms come rolling through. I like to target snook, redfish, and trout early in the morning. Then, as water temperatures heat up, I move to deeper water and target mackerel, mangrove snapper, and sharks.

SharksFishing guide Tampa FL

Tampa Bay offers great shark fishing for black tips, bulls, and hammerheads. The key is to find areas that hold mackerel, and you are sure to find sharks. I like to use a Penn Senator 112H with 80lb fluorocarbon leader, 110lb steel bite tip, and a 7/0 Daiichi Circle hook. My favorite bait is a fresh cut spanish mackerel head fished on the bottom. Areas around the Skyway, Port Manatee, and the artificial reefs should hold sharks.

Spanish mackerel

The mackerel bite should continue to stay consistent through August. The ship channel, artificial reefs, and range markers should hold fish. A long shank hook with a 40lb leader is an ideal set up. You can try steel leader, but if you are not getting the bites, switch to mono or fluorocarbon leader. Live scaled sardines (green backs) are the bait of choice. Table fair is very good if cared for properly. Ice down your catch as soon as possible to ensure the fillets don’t get mushy. Smoked or blackened is hard to beat.


The redfish bite was good last month in our region. The key is to have a high tide and to fish the mangroves. This month should continue. Live scaled sardines or cut threadfins are the baits of choice. Work the mangroves on high tides and you are sure to find some fish cruising through. Another favorite technique is to work the schools of mullet. Most game fish will work in with the mullet schools looking for baits that the mullets stir up. Areas around Simmons Park to Cockroach Bay will produce fish.

Best of the Rest

Snook will start to move around a lot this month as they come off their spawn. The flats around Joe Island and Cockroach Bay should start to hold snook. Remember that season is CLOSED, so handle each fish with care. Mangrove snapper fishing has been a little off, but we should see fish around the ship channels and artificial reefs. The key is to have plenty of small scaled sardines to chum the snapper up off the reef or wreck. Look for some late season tarpon action as our resident fish start to move up into the bay.

To Book a Charter call captain Will Shook 813.732.5971 or email


Redfish, Redfish and More Redfish…

The redfish bite has been on fire and continues to be hot. We are having great days catching redfish. The higher tides are producing better. Incoming tide or outgoing have both been good. Most fish that are being caught are upper slot (25″-27″) with an occasional over-slot fish being caught. Live scaled sardines (white bait) have been the key. We are fishing light spinning tackle and they are putting the gear to the test.

Tampa Bay Redfish

The trout bite on the lower tides has produced some nice keepers. The fish are ranging from 15″-18″ with an occasional 20″-25″ mixed in. We are fishing the edges of most grass flats and having success. Live scaled sardine free lined has produced better than a sardine fished under a cork.

Don’t forget! Tarpon season is filling up fast so book your charter soon…

Call Now! 813.732.5971


On Fire!

The bite my last couple of trips has been outstanding. We have been catching some nice redfish ranging from 5lbs all the way up to 15lbs. The best bite has been on the higher outgoing tides.

The trout bite continues to stay strong with plenty of keepers and over slot fish being caught. Incoming or outgoing tide has produced some nice fish. You just need moving water.

Tampa Fl Fishing Charters

The weather has even brought out the snook. We have been catching them on the low incoming tides.  Look for the bite to get better has the water continues to warm.

Things are pointing in the right direction for an awesome spring. We may even start to see some early season tarpon show up.

Tarpon season is right around the corner. Season runs from late April to August with May and June being peak season. Call now to reserve your day. 813.732.5971


February Report

February is upon us and that means spring is just around the corner. It looks like we may get through the winter without a major freeze which is good for our snook population. The warm weather we have been having has been nice but has made things a little inconsistent fishing Tampa Bay. The trout bite should get better as water temperatures drop. Redfish can be found on lower tides fishing the potholes on our area flats. Sheepshead will continue to invade our areas wrecks, reefs and rock piles.


The sheepshead bite has been good and should continue to be good this month. As they prepare to spawn, they will continue to school up around our wrecks, artificial reefs and rock piles in the bay. Fiddler crabs and shrimp are good baits. I like to fish as light of tackle as possible. I fish a 25lb Berkley fluorocarbon leader. I either us a 1/2 ounce jig head or a knocker rig to get the baits down.  Sheepshead offer excellent table fair with a lenient bag limit of 15 per angler which make them a winter time favorite.


The trout bite has been a little funny to say the least. The warm weather we have been having has made it hard to locate quality fish.  Areas that seem to hold fish during the winter months are holding fish but not like usual. That doesn’t mean to quit looking. If we continue to get warm weather we may need to start looking at our spring time areas. I like to start the morning off with a topwater plug like the Super Spook in a bone color. As the sun gets higher in the sky, I switch to a soft plastic lure like the D.O.A. CAL Shad in a white with a 1/8 to a 1/4 ounce jig head.


Tampa Bay fishing charters

Tampa Fishing Charters

If you have a kayak, a boat that can get super skinny or like to wade-fish, then you should love this time of year. With our negative low tides, fishing the potholes has been producing some nice redfish. Getting to the potholes is the challenging part. Shrimp on a jig head or a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook with a split shot will do for the live stuff. If you like to throw artificial, you have a wide variety. When working potholes, the D.O.A. shrimp is hard to beat. The key is to not over work the bait.

Best of the Rest

The warm weather has started up the snook bite. If the warm weather continues, look for the snook to be moving toward the mouth of the rivers in our area. If temperatures get to normal and water temperatures drop, look to fish the TECO power plant runoff. The variety of species this area holds is amazing. Snook, redfish, trout, shark, pompano, permit…the list goes on.

To book a Tampa fishing charter with Tampa Bay fishing guide Captain Will Shook call, 813-732-5971 or email


January Fishing Report

Happy New Year!  Hopefully everyone had a Merry Christmas.  December was warmer than normal and the bite in our region has been great.  Snook, redfish, trout, and flounder have been the headline species.  If the warm trend continues, look to continue to target these species all month.  When temperatures get back to normal, it will be time to switch to your winter time tactics.


Trout season will officially open this month and with the new FWC rules, it will stay open all year.  The regulations are still 15”-20” with 4 fish per angler.  The trout fishery in Tampa Bay has been phenomenal and our region has a lot of areas to target them.  From the Alafia River all the way down to Joe Island, the area will hold plenty of trout.  Live shrimp or artificial will work.

Tampa fishing charters

Tampa Bay Trout Fishing

Fish the shrimp under a popping cork with a 20lb Berkley fluorocarbon leader and a 1/0 Daiichi Circle hook.  For artificial lures, use any soft plastic jerk bait or swim shad on a 1/8 or 1/4 ounce jig head.  As far as colors, I prefer white and nuclear chicken.


The sheepshead bite should heat up all month long.  They will be schooling up around our region’s artificial reefs, wrecks, and rock piles preparing to spawn.  Shrimp is usually the easiest bait to get, but if you can get your hands on some Asian green muscles or sand fleas you are sure to have a great time. The bite on a sheepshead is very subtle, so you have to almost anticipate the bite.  I like to use a 1/2 or 3/4 ounce jig head to get the baits down.  I also use a knocker rig with a #1 Daichii circle hook.

Power Pant

The TECO power plant in our region has plenty to offer this time of year.  The hot water runoff from the power plant keeps the waters in the area around 75 degrees.  The warm temperatures attract many different species…Snook, redfish, trout, pompano, permit, cobia, sharks, and the lists go on.  It can also get crowded with beach-fishermen.  Just bring along some common sense and be courteous of others. Also, the manatees will use this area to survive the winter, so be on the lookout and follow all the signs for slow zones.

Best of the rest

If the warm weather continues, look for the snook and redfish bite to continue to stay hot.  Fishing all of our area river systems will reward you with some nice trophy size fish.  The flounder bite continues to surprise me.  I have caught more flounder this year than the last three years combined.  Fish any sand or hard bottom and you are sure to find some flounder.  A shrimp fished on the bottom with a jig head or split shot will produce good fish.

To book a Tampa fishing charter, call Captain Will Shook 813.732.5971 or email