Bucket List Experience

By: Capt. Mike Ikemeier

Everything from the amazing sunrises and breath-taking sunsets is amazing here. That’s not to mention the fishing! From catching bait in the morning to cleaning the boat in the afternoon there’s always something new to learn and experience. Tampa Bay is known for its flats fishing and backwaters that offer top tier fishing. One of my passions is hunting snook on the flats, it’s a very technical style of fishing depending on tide, water flow and temperature of the water. There’s nothing more rewarding then putting someone on their first fish or an experienced angler on their personal best fish. Always a great time introducing people to new species of fish and the different techniques involved in catching them. But when it comes down to it making memories that last a lifetime and introducing young anglers to the sport so they can keep it going and keep our beautiful ecosystem in balance in the future is what it’s all about. Fishing around the Bay however is very seasonal and temperature driven. Right now, in August it’s all about snook fishing. Snook are one of the most well-known game fish for this area. They are a predator that loves structure, therefore creating some very technical fishing situations. Most of the time you must skip your bait under mangrove trees or around logs to get to where the fish are. This makes catching them even more rewarding. Snook put up an amazing fight, it takes skill and patience to land them and get them out of their cover. Another amazing species that Tampa Bay has to offer is redfish. Redfish are in the drum family and are in my opinion one of the hardest pound for pound fighting fish in the Bay and can be found in the same waters as the snook, although redfish are harder to find then snook. Redfish are very scent driven predators and dead or cut bait is often the best option. All fish in the Bay are extremely fun to catch and put up a great fight.  Adventuring away from the shallows, Tampa Bay also offers great grouper and snapper fishing. Gag grouper are one of the most popular also best tasting fish in the bay. We target grouper by trolling lures around channels, bridges and rock piles. They can also be targeted by anchoring around structure and chumming using dead bait to draw them into the boat. Grouper season runs until December 31st, and it only gets better as the year goes on! Mangrove snapper can be caught year-round on any kind of structure and make for a delicious meal as well. Mangrove snapper is a more delicate meat than grouper and is very flaky that makes for some amazing dishes. Usually, they can be caught on live shrimp or dead bait. My personal best snook and redfish have both been caught around this time of year and I hope to be able to put you on your biggest one as well!

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