Tampa Bay Fishing Report By: Capt. Wade Osborne

Summertime Bridge Fishing

If you’re hot, the fish are hot!

Fish gravitate toward bridges for a multitude of reasons, but primarily for food. The shadow lines of all the bridges throughout Tampa Bay are loaded with baitfish. So, naturally, fish are going to hang around the bridges to feed, but also to stay cool. During major tide cycles, the current flows fast under bridges and this tends to cool the water.

When fishing at the Bay bridges, let the tidal flow do the work for you. If I’m fishing the center span or adjacent to the shoreline, I will spot lock my vessel and cast up-current and let my bait drift through with the tide. If I’m anchored somewhere up-current of the bridge, I will cast my bait parallel to the bridge and let it sit in the current until I get a bite. When using these methods, it’s important to nose hook your baits, so they make a natural presentation.

The one thing that I always do that most don’t, is chum. Whether it’s with live bait or fresh cut bait, I am always chumming. If you don’t have a cutting board on your boat, go get one. It will make a huge difference in the number of fish that you catch.

Some species of fish you can expect to catch under the bridges are mangrove snapper, spotted seatrout, Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle, ladyfish, cobia, tarpon and black drum, if you’re using crab for bait. If you’re fishing the bridge adjacent to where it meets the shoreline, you can also expect to catch snook.

One tip for landing big fish on light tackle while fishing around bridges is to hook an anchor ball to your anchor line. Cobia and tarpon can be landed on relatively light tackle, if you have the ability to quicky disconnect the anchor to go pursue the fish. Once you work the fish away from the bridge into the open bay, it’s just a matter of time before it’s along the gunwale.

Another plus to fishing around bridges is that they provide shade. People with towers or T-tops on their boats have somewhat limited access, but boats without them have free rein. They’re also a good place to dodge a passing shower and still catch fish while doing so.

Afishionado, “Always an Adventure.”

Tampa Bay fishing guide Wade Osborne of “Afishionado Guide Services” has been plying the waters of Tampa Bay as a professional full-time captain, since 1997. Osborne offers inshore fishing charters on light tackle spin, fly or plug. He also offers eco-tours with an emphasis on photography. For more info., visit Afishionado.com or find Afishionado Guide Services on Facebook and Instagram. Email: wade@afishionado.com Call/Text 813-286-3474