Tampa Bay, A Jewel On Florida’s Gulf Coast

Some of the best fishing in Florida!

Tampa Bay has some of the very best fishing in the state of Florida, which means it is some of the best fishing in the world.

What makes Tampa Bay so unique is the many different varieties of both freshwater and saltwater fish to catch, as well as the many different ways to catch them.

If you are not a boat person, Tampa offers the world’s longest fishing pier, the Old Sunshine Skyway Bridge.  Here you can catch snook, tarpon, grouper, black sea bass, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, cobia, sheepshead, red snapper and pompano. That’s 10 species of highly desirable fish from just one location! And if that list alone is not impressive enough, fishing the bridge is convenient, too. You’ll need some specialized gear, but once you’ve got it you can drive right onto the pier to your exact sweet spot and unload. It’s also lit at night! There’s no limit as to what time of the day you can fish.

Feel like delving into the ocean world a little deeper than a concrete bridge? Tampa Bay boasts the stunning Fort Desoto County Park. Here you can simply slip on a pair of old sneakers and wade into cerulean blue waters and lush seagrass beds. Sound surreal? It is. Wading is a stealthy approach to fishing. In addition to species from the list above, you can also catch redfish, trout and flounder.

A massive variety of fish to choose from!

Looking to fish the deeper waters of the bay? About 45 miles out, the water depths start to reach in the 80-foot range. Out here, the possibilities are endless. Varieties of grouper, assortments of snapper, arrays of sharks, blackfin tuna, sailfish, mahi, amberjack, jack crevalle, permit and bonita can be added to the previously mentioned lists of available species.

What if you tend to lean more toward the fresh side? Tampa Bay has some of the most diverse freshwater fishing opportunities one can imagine. Use a kayak to quietly glide through the tannic waters of our creeks to catch largemouth bass that grow upwards of 10 pounds. The creeks also hold massive bluegills, crappie, toothy alligator gar, tilapia, catfish and carp. The secret to what makes our freshwater fishing so thrilling is that you never know what you are going to catch. You see, many of our saltwater species inhabit our freshwater, as well. It is not only possible, but it is common to catch a big largemouth and then five minutes later a 15-pound common snook.

Tampa Bay offers a temperate climate, direct access to the Gulf of Mexico, artificial reefs, a unique slowly sloping continental shelf, and has an abundance of freshwater feeds. From grass flats and mangrove systems in our inshore ecological system, to the deeper channels throughout the bay and Intracoastal Waterway, anglers have the opportunity to catch anything from sharks to Goliath grouper. The potential for the catch of a lifetime exists on every cast.

By Rosemary J. White

Fishing Magazine, Coastal Angler & The Angler Magazine is your leading source for freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing videos, fishing photos, saltwater fishing.