Tarpon caught by a fisherman with Capt. Matt Luttman of Inshore Action Fishing Charters in Tampa St. Petersburg, Florida

Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, & Clearwater Fishing Reports (May 2024)

Written by Luke Campbell
May 2, 2024

Last Updated on May 6, 2024 by Boatsetter Team

Tampa, FL – Updated May 6th, 2024Boatsetter collects local inshore, nearshore, and offshore fishing reports from expert fishing guides and boaters who regularly fish the waters of Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, Madeira Beach, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Clearwater and the surrounding areas. Bookmark this page and check back every couple weeks for up-to-date information on locations, fish species, bait & tackle, and other tips to maximize your chances of success planning your next fishing trip.

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May 2024 Fishing Reports

Tampa – St. Petersburg

Capt. Matt Luttmann
– May 6, 2024

  • INSHORE: Redfish, snook and speckled trout dominate our flats and mangrove shorelines, fattening up on the influx of sardines and whitebait. Target them by finding a deeper pocket on an incoming tide, or an outer edge during an outgoing tide, and throw small paddletails, mirrolures, or live whitebait with a small split shot to slow them down.
    The tarpon migration is picking up, so our residential fish are pushing out of the bay, while thousands of new fish from down south show up every day. These fish can be caught with crabs, pinfish, or threadfins, freelined or under a cork, early in the morning on the beach before the crowds of boats show up. Hold on tight, and fish the fish with as much pressure as you and your gear can handle to ensure the fish are able to swim off healthy. The sharks have been plentiful.
  • OFFSHORE: Kingfish, Spanish mackerel, and Bonita cover our shorelines from 1-10 miles offshore feasting on all of the baitfish we have this time of year. Troll spoons with #1 and #2 planers, or slow troll live baits for the best success.
    Mangrove and yellowtail snapper fishing has been great from 70-100 foot using light weights with fish finder rigs or jig heads on light line. Be ready for a cobia too, because we’ve been catching them on every trip!
  • Capt. Matt offers guided fishing charters from a 23’ Hanson Tower Boat. Check out the boat and book a fishing charter with Capt. Matt.

Tarpon caught by a fisherman with Capt. Matt Luttman of Inshore Action Fishing Charters in Tampa St. Petersburg, Florida

Capt. Will Sherwood
– May 2, 2024

  • As April came to a close and we head into warmer waters in May, let’s recap on an awesome month of fishing nearshore Tampa Bay. Despite what seemed like a constant wind machine cranking half of the month, there were plenty of quality days to get out on the water and get in on the action. Heading out west of Fort Desoto and Jon’s Pass, the mangrove snapper bite seemed to never end! These are some of the tastiest fish around and put up a heck of a fight. I have been targeting these more frequently and the numbers can add up quick, resulting in a tasty dinner. Since Grouper season is closed until Aug 31st, these make for a good stocking stuffer in the cooler. Setting out around 45 foot of water while fishing hard bottom and the patch reefs yielded the best bite. Fishing over the sandy edges also attracted some quality sized flounder. As always, fishing out over these areas always yields a mixed bag including triggerfish, hogfish, mackerels, red groupers and the highly underrated key west grunts. Inside of Tampa Bay, fishing the skyway bridge and the edges of the shipping channel resulted in a good hookup of groupers, snappers, mackerel and a few big sharks. April certainly had the coolers loaded down big time and provided plenty of smiles and family memories. As we head into early May, Florida summer sets in. The fronts stop, the winds calm, and the bite gets even hotter.
  • Capt. Will offers guided fishing charters from a 26’ Cobia Center Console. Check out the boat and book a fishing charter with Capt. Will.

Fishing clients posing with their catch on a cooler from a charter in St. Petersburg, Florida

Madeira Beach

Capt. Frank Hutchko
– May 6, 2024

  • MAY OFFSHORE: Madeira Beach / John’s Pass – The offshore grouper bite right now is on fire 🔥. Big red grouper anywhere from 90-180 ft have dominated the scene. Live pinfish seem to be the ticket, but those slow pitch jigs are also red hot 🔥. We have limited out on every trip the past 2 weeks early then we turn our attention to the lane snapper and big triggerfish bite! The water’s warming and the troll for blackfin tuna and wahoo is in full swing.
  • NEARSHORE: The hogfish have pretty much moved offshore so our 4 hr snapper trips are a good combination of porgies, seabass, grey snapper and lane snapper.
  • Capt. Frank offers guided fishing charters from a 36’ Yellowfin Center Console. Check out the boat and book a fishing charter with Capt. Frank.

Fishermen hold red grouper caught offshore from Madeira Beach in Tampa, Florida

Clearwater – Dunedin – Palm Harbor

Capt. Angelo Gentile
– May 6, 2024

  • Redfish are biting in the mangroves on higher tides, using cut threadfins or live sardines. Snook are showing up on the beaches and passes and are feeding on live sardines. Oyster bars are also holding redfish on the edges where the oysters meet the grass bottom. Trout are also feeding on live bait in the grass flats in 3-4 feet of water. Tarpon are also showing up on the beaches. Look for them rolling to locate and throw large live bait under a cork or free lined.
  • Capt. Angelo guides fishing charters from a 21′ Tidewater Center Console. Check out the boat and book a fishing charter with Capt. Angelo.

Fishing charter customer holding a redfish caught with Capt. Angelo Gentile near Clearwater, Florida

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