Basics of Fishing in Tampa Bay

If you”re heading out on a fishing expedition in the pristine waters of Tampa Bay, take advantage of the expertise of seasoned local anglers to land more fish and have a truly exceptional experience.

Dusk at Lands End marinaYou probably already know that the worst day on the water is better than the best day working, but some trips are more productive than others are. Time and the tides can affect your catch. Without making any promises, here are a few things you can do to increase the likelihood of landing fish in Tampa Bay.

Sunrise, Sunset

Much like people, fish are less active in the heat of the day, especially during the summer months. This is good news for you, since you can avoid the sweltering midday sun without sacrificing fish. The fish hit hardest just as the sun begins to rise over the water. Soft morning breezes and spectacular views add to the experience. If you’re not a morning person, take advantage of cooler evenings and fish the twilight hours. Fish activity typically picks up as the sun drops into the sea.

Fishing After Dark

Although the exact explanation remains a mystery, personal experience has shown that the fish seem to stop biting soon after darkness falls. If you’re not ready to call it a day, don’t give up yet. Head into the marina and grab a bite to eat. After a lull of an hour or two, the fish start hitting again. Motor back out, enjoy the lights of the South Shore reflected on the water beneath a canopy of stars, and drop a line. Hang out for a while and discover that the nighttime is the right time to catch fish in the Gulf.

Time the Tides

Current moves bait, and bait moves fish. Take advantage of fish on the go by timing the tides. As the water of the Gulf rises and falls, the movement of the current increases the likelihood of landing fish. Near the shore, you”ll see the most fish hitting bait at the top of the incoming and outgoing tides. That’s not to say you can’t catch fish without water movement. Dead high is better than dead low, but anytime the water is moving, it’s a good bet the fish are feeding. To get the most out of your day on the water, always check local tidal reports when planning your trip.

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