Posts Tagged ‘Trout’

Fishing Has Been Hot!

The bite has been hot coming out of spring. Look for things to stay hot all summer.

The redfish bite has been strong all spring. We will continue fishing redfish most of the summer. We are fishing light tackle spinning gear with live and cut bait, with great success.  We mainly have been getting overslot fish, ranging 10lbs up to 15lbs with a few keepers mixed in. Fishing the grass flats, ranging in depths of 2′-3′, have been productive. A grass flat with good tidal flow and what we like to call a “alive”, are good characteristics for holding redfish.

Tampa Bay Redfish

The snook bite has slowed down a little for me but should start to pick up. Snook spawn season starts this month and fish will schooled up eating heavily to prepare for spawn. We will be fishing around our area beaches, passes and bridges for snook. Good tidal flow is a most for catching good snook. Live bait has been the key to getting snook to eat. Light tackle spinning gear is the setup. Fish range from 25″ up to 35″ with some bigger 40″ available. It is catch and release only and we are sure to handle each fish with extreme care. Take a quick picture and release unharmed.

The trout fishing has been consistent. Fishing the grass flats has produced some nice fish. As temperatures on the flats get to hot, look for the bigger fish to move deep. Trout are ranging 17″-20″ with some bigger one mixed in. We can stay on a consistent bite all summer.

May starts tarpon season. Will started out the season with a couple tarpon ranging in the 80lb class range. We lost a dozen fish well over the 125lbs class. Look for things to heat up and continue through June. We have started to fish the beaches and passes. Live threadfins, live crabs and cut bait, are baits of choice. Most fish are caught on spinning gear. A fight ranging between 15-35 minutes is not uncommon. Our fish range from 60lbs up to 200lbs. I still have some availability in May and June. Call me know. 813.732.5971

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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:

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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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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

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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.


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


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.


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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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.

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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

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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

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