Archive for 2013

Fall Fishing 2013

Tampa Bay fishing charters has produced some nice catches. With the warmer than normal weather, the redfish, snook and trout bite continues to stay hot. If the warm weather continues, look for us to continue to fish our fall patterns with great success.

The redfish bite continues to keep rods bent. We have been fishing the shallow water grass flats of Tampa Bay and catching some nice reds. Fishing live or cut bait has produced some nice Tampa Bay redfish. Redfish are not sensitive to the cooler water temperatures so we will continue to fish for redfish through the end of the year. Fish have been ranging in size from 5lb up to 15lbs.

Tampa Bay Redfish

Snook have been on the move preparing for the winter. Most fish will move to our Tampa Bay area rivers searching for warmer waters. Snook are sub-tropical fish and can’t survive in waters below 47 degrees. If you want to catch winter time snook, fishing the rivers is where it’s at. Fishing the mangrove trees and oyster bars will produce nice winter time snook.

Trout are our go to fish during the winter. The bigger “Gator” trout invade our shallows during the cooler months. Fishing live or artificial baits produce well. Look for trout to get more active the cooler the water temperatures get. Fishing trout on light tackle spinning gear can be very fun and sporty. If you are looking to take some fish home, trout offer great table fair and with a bag limit of four per angler, you can get plenty for a meal.

Captain Will Shook owns and operates Tampa FL Fishing Chartres and specializes in flats and backcountry fishing for Redfish, Snook and Tarpon in Tampa Bay. To book a charter, call 813.732.5971 or visit: www.TampaFLFishingCharters.com

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September Report

Weather stays hot…but so does the bite. Redfish and snook are the headliners this month. Light tackle Penn Battle spinning reel, 8’ Penn Legion rod, a 25lb Ohero fluorocarbon leader, and a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook have proven to be the perfect snook and redfish setup. Fishing light tackle offers a sporty and challenging battle for the inshore species.

34" Tampa Bay Snook Fishing

Tampa Bay fishing charters for redfish have been on fire. We are fishing shallow water grass flats in the 2’-3’ range. Cut bait has been the bait of choice. The redfish sizes are ranging from 4lbs up to 15lbs, with an average of around 7lbs. The Tampa Bay redfish bite will continue strong all fall.

Snook fishing has started to heat up. Most fish have spawned and are on the move, but if you can locate some fish, they should be willing to eat. Live scaled sardines have been the bait of choice. The key is to have plenty of bait to chum with so you can draw them in and entice a bite.  Fish the edge of the grass flats, oyster bars, and potholes. Snook are ambush predators. Find any ambush point with good tidal flow, and you are sure to find some snook.

Call full-time Tampa fishing guide, Capt. Will Shook, to book your fishing charter. 813.732.5971

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It’s Hot…So Is The Redfish Bite

Fishing Tampa Bay in August can pose many challenges. It is how you adjust to those challenges that can make you successful.  We are in the dog days of summer and it is HOT! There are a few ways to beat the heat, and getting an early start is the most important one. We have been starting our Tampa Bay inshore charters around 7:00 a.m. and are normally off the water before noon.  This gives us the opportunity to fish the shallow waters before the sun heats the flats up.  When temperatures on the flats get too hot, we shift our attention to deeper waters.  Finding areas with deeper grass flats around the 4′-6′ range with good tidal flow, should hold fish.

Tampa Bay Redfish

Although temperatures on the flats in the morning have been ranging from 82-86 degrees, the redfish bite has been very productive.  It has been hard finding the fish, but when you locate them, they have been willing to eat.  On our last few charters, we have been catching some nice keepers and a few oversize fish.  Working the schools of mullet with cut bait has been the key.
The snook bite has slowed down a little for us, but we are catching a few each trip.  Most fish have spawned out and are on the move.  Fishing live bait has produced some nice fish.  A 30lb Berkley Pro Spec fluorocarbon leader with a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook is a great snook rig.
The trout, spanish mackerel, jacks, and sharks have kept rods bent.  I have found that the deeper grass flats in our area have been holding plenty of fish.  The key is to have plenty of bait to chum with.

To book a Tampa Bay fishing charter with FULL-TIME fishing guide, Captain Will Shook, call 813.732.5971 or email

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Summer Time

Fishing Tampa Bay during the summer can be challenging, but with a little planning you can be successful. The key to summertime fishing is to get out early, before the heat and afternoon thunderstorms come.  Another key to summer fishing is to fish the flats early in the morning. As temperatures rise on the flats, move to deeper, cooler waters.

40" Tampa Bay Snook

Tampa Bay snook fishing this summer has been great. We are not seeing the huge number of small ones this year but are catching some big ones. Fishing live sardines on a 30lb Berkley Pro Spec Fluorocarbon leader and a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook has been the ticket. We are using light tackle spinning gear while targeting snook, which makes for an exciting and challenging fight when trying to land a trophy sized snook.

The Redfish bite has been hit or miss, but look for these fish to start to school up as spawning approaches in the fall. Trout fishing has slowed a little, but getting a few keeper size fish each trip has been normal. If you are looking to keep rods bent, the spanish mackerel have been plentiful.

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

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Tarpon Time!

May is here and it is Tampa Bay tarpon fishing time! Season runs May through July. We should start seeing the big push of fish into our area soon. Our Tampa Bay tarpon normally range in size from 60lbs to 150lbs, with some fish weighing well over 150lbs. We will be fishing our area beaches, passes, and bridges using medium spinning gear and tackle. Live and cut bait will be the bait of choice. Anchoring with live or cut bait, sighting fishing with live bait, and drifting with live bait will be our tactics.

Tarpon Time

The challenge of landing a 100 plus pound fish, jumping 6 feet in the air, fighting for his life, is something everyone should experience. So if you are looking to catch the fish of a lifetime and memories of a lifetime, give me a call.

To book a Tampa Bay Tarpon fishing charter with full-time fishing guide Capt. Will Shook, call 813.732.5971

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April 1 Fishing Report

The Tampa Bay fishing charters redfish bite has been hot regardless of our colder than normal temperatures. We have been around 15 degrees below normal, but it hasn’t bothered the redfish. They have been hitting a variety of baits. Live scaled sardines and cut bait have been our baits of choice. We have been fishing a 25lb Berkley Pro Spec fluorocarbon leader and 1/0 Daiichi circle hook with great success. An 8’, 8-17lb class Penn Legion rod has been a must to make the long cast. Look for the redfish bite to continue all of April.

Tampa Bay Monster Redfish

38" Tampa Bay Redfish

Snook fishing has slowed down a bit due to the colder temperatures. As the weather continues to get back to normal, the snook fishing should follow.

The trout fishing has been consistent and should continue throughout April. St. Pete fishing charters has produced some nice trout caught on both low and high tides. Fishing live scaled sardines has worked well. Finding the schools of mullet and working the school has been the best way to find quality fish.

To book a fishing charter with Captain Will Shook, call 813.732.5971

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3/6/13 Fishing Report

The bite for Tampa Fishing Charters started to heat up before the last cold front. Things should get back to normal soon and then game on! The snook have been hungry and are willing to take most live baits. I fished the last day before the cold front and we managed to catch multiple average-sized fish. After weeding through the smaller ones, a 36” decided she wanted to eat. David from Minnesota hooked into a snook of a lifetime. After a few tense moments, he landed a trophy snook.

Tampa Bay Snook Fishing

The redfish have started to show up in decent numbers. I have had to work hard for them, but with a little persistence, we have managed a few quality fish. The key is to arm yourself with a variety of baits and find out what they are willing to eat.

Trout fishing has been hot and will continue to stay hot. We have been fishing a variety of depths and locations. Deeper grass flats around 4-6 feet and grass flats with as little as 12” have produced great fish. The key is to move around until you find fish.

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

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Fishing Report 2/19/13

With warmer than normal temperatures, February has been on fire. Snook have been eating like it is spring. The key is getting whitebait. Arm yourself with plenty of whitebait to chum with and you are sure to find some big snook. With the cold front that just pushed through on Saturday, the snook should have moved back into the river and hungry ready to eat. The trout bite has been good all year. Look for it to stay hot even if temps fall. The redfish bite has been a little inconsistent. I had some days when we got a few keepers and days we didn’t catch a single red.

The picture is of my nephew Xander with his biggest snook yet. It was a 28” caught with live bait.

Tampa Bay Fishing Guide

Tampa Bay Snook Fishing

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February Fishing Forecast

February is upon us, but it feels more like March.  Temperatures were about 15 degrees above normal last month.  Not sure if February will stay true to last month, but if so, spring is coming early.  The fish in our region last month have been in a transition phase.  Most fish have been on the move, thinking spring has come early, so it is important to move around to find fish.  The snook bite continues to be steady, redfish have been hit or miss, and the trout bite has been outstanding.

Trout

The trout bite has been solid all year and should stay that way this month.  Areas from downtown to Joe’s Island are holding some nice trout.  We are getting them on a variety of baits.  White bait and shrimp are the live options.  Soft plastics rigged on a jig head are another.  I prefer fishing trout with soft plastics because you can cover more ground.  I like to use a D.O.A. C.A.L. Shad tail, pearl body with ¼ ounce chartreuse or red jig. Experiment with colors and other baits to find your favorite.

Tampa Bay Fishing Charters

Tampa Bay Redfish Charter

Snook

We are still fishing for snook with success and it’s January.  If the warm weather sticks around, continue to target snook.  Snook have been moving around a bit, but if you can find them, you will have success. A couple of things to look for when trying to find snook are moving water and ambush points/structure. Areas in and around Alafia River, Little Manatee, and Cockroach Bay have been holding fish.  The key is to have live white bait.  A perfect setup is a 25lb Ohero fluorocarbon leader with a #1 or 1/0 (depending on size of bait) Daiichi circle hook.

Sheepshead

It’s that time of year and the sheepshead bite should be in full swing.  These fish will be preparing to spawn so they will be schooling up and eating on most reefs and rock piles.  They will also be hanging around most residential docks and other structures inshore.  Shrimp is the most common bait, but fiddler crabs may be more productive.  Size limit is 12” and you can keep 15 per person.  Be sure to only keep what you plan on eating and enjoy.

Best of the Rest

Flounder continue to keep rods bent.  Fishing the potholes on the flats continue to produce keeper size fish.  A pearl D.O.A. C.A.L. Shad tail under a popping cork has been working great.  Redfish have been hit or miss, but we are getting a few each trip.  Free line shrimp on 20lb Ohero fluorocarbon leader and a #1 Daiichi Bleeding Bait Hook.  If we get a major cold front and temperatures fall quickly, look to fish the TECO Power Plant.  The warm water discharge will hold a wide variety of species.

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January Fishing Forecast

We are at the end of another great year of fishing.  I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  December was a warmer month than normal and the bite in our region showed it.  The redfish, snook, and trout bite has been outstanding.  If January stays warm, the bite should continue to be hot.  If temperatures cool to normal, it’s time to switch to winter tactics and species.

Trout

With the new rules from the FWC, the trout fishery will remain open all year.  A bag limit of 4 fish and a slot of 15”-20” remains the same in our region.  Trout are not as affected by water temps as other species, so look for the bite to be consistent whether the temperatures become cool or stay warm.  Live shrimp or artificial baits will work great.  I prefer a D.O.A CAL ¼ ounce chartreuse jig head with a pearl shad tail.  Areas around the Kitchen, residential canals around Apollo Beach, and Joe Island should hold plenty of trout.

My son Tyler first Snook

Flounder

A species almost forgotten by me has made its way back into my heart.  It seems like the flounder bite continues to get better each year and with a lax bag limit (10 per day, 12” minimum), they are a great species to target this time of year for dinner.  I prefer to target flounder inshore.  I look for grass flats with plenty of potholes and work each pothole.  I prefer a Gulp! Shrimp rigged weedless with a 1/8 weighted Daichii Butt Dragger.  The key is to work as many potholes as you can.  Other areas with hard bottoms or sandy patches will hold flounder as well.

Power Plant

You will see this section in the next couple of forecasts.  I will update it with what’s biting.  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 list goes 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 weather stays warmer than normal, look for the snook fishing to stay hot.  The key is white bait.  If you can get live scaled sardines (white bait/green backs) you will catch snook.  The redfish bite has been consistent and should continue through January.  Work areas around the rivers (Alafia, Palm, and Little Manatee River).  Live shrimp will work best.  Sheepshead will start to make a strong showing.  Rocks piles, bridge pilings, and docks are a good place to start.

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