Tampa Bay Fishing Report July 2008

Archived in the category: Fishing Reports
Posted by: Captain Woody - Comments Off on Tampa Bay Fishing Report July 2008

Well folks it’s definitely here… summer time heat and warm water fishing. This year fishing in Tampa Bay’s been awesome. But remember July brings hot humid days and very warm water. Not only can it be challenging to find fish willing to eat but this hot weather’s equally hard on anglers venturing out during the heat of the day. Early mornings, late afternoons and nighttime trips can make this month more bearable. We can expect water temperatures to climb into the high eighties and low nineties especially on shallow water flats and backcountry. Fish everywhere will be looking for relief so plan your fishing trips toward areas offering some cool water reprieves. Deeper cuts and troughs around the grass flats, islands, shade around the mangrove shores, passes, creeks and deeper holes throughout the bay.

Let’s Go Fishing in Tampa Bay:

Tampa Bay offers excellent angling for over 200 species of fish. Tampa Bay starts at the extreme north end all the way down to the Skyway Bridge. Pick a good day with a respectable incoming or outgoing tide and catch fish. Many places are fishable from land for shore anglers or accessible to those who like to wade. For those with boats or Kayaks there are many public and private boat ramps located throughout the bay area.

Snook (Snook Season Closed) It’s seems like the Snook are everywhere throughout the bay. Pick a likely spot, hookup a medium sized greenie; toss it toward a mangrove line and its fish on. Good reports are coming in from the north end down past the Skyway. Weedon Island is a favorite spot for many anglers and gets plenty of pressure from Snook anglers. If you’re tired of the same old scenery venture away from you favorite spots and find new areas.

If Snook is all you want to catch there are plenty around but when you catch one take a look at its mouth and you’ll see why I’m suggesting targeting something different. Their mouths are in terrible shape from being hooked and released. So, you might want to think about giving them a rest during the closed season and try one of the other 200 plus species throughout Tampa Bay.

Redfish (No closed season, one fish per person per day, within the 18” to 27” slot limit) Redfish are popping up all over the bay and pushing into shallower water as the tide climbs. There is no shortage of large mullet schools and Redfish aren’t far behind. Green backs, small pinfish, shrimp and for those that like pitching soft plastics and topwater’s around the mangroves you can expect some great action on high in coming tides. If you’re lucky to find a school moving around a shoreline, setup and wait they will move back and forth when feeding. Chasing them only causes them to scatter.

Sea Trout (Season Open, four fish per person per day, within the 15” to 20” slot limit) Free-line a greenback or shrimp over some deep grass flats and its Trout for dinner. You might try suspending a shrimp under Paradise Popper with a medium split-shot about 8” about a 2/0 circle hook and work the cork by popping it, letting it set a moment, then popping it again if there are fish in the area it won’t take long before you hooked up. Topwater popping plugs or soft plastic jerkbaits over any broken bottom grass flat can offer artificial anglers some nice action.

Mackerel, Sharks, Cobia, and Tarpon I can’t say enough about the big Mackerel showing up all over the bay. They’re all over the bay feeding on Anchovies, and Threadfins. Hang a chum block over the side through out some cut chunks of Threadfins or Greenbacks and get ready. I’m getting reports of big fish ranging in the four to seven pound range caught using a long shank 2/0 hooks and fifty pound Seaguar Fluorocarbon leader. Cobia: I’ve been seeing a few Cobias around the bay most are cruising markers or following large rays or manatees around the flats. When Mackerel fishing with a chum block keep you eyes open as Cobia’s like to hang around you boat. If you net your bait keep a few smaller pinfish and use them for the Cobia. Tarpon: Plenty of Tarpon at the Skyway and on the beaches. Large Greenbacks, Threadfins, or a crab should do the trick. If you’re casting to them use a rod and reel combo that allow for a longer distance cast.