Tampa
fishing charters

Find and book the perfect fishing charter in Tampa.

Top Fishing Charters in Tampa

Tampa, FL

5.0

Ebb & Flow Charters - Tampa Bay Fishing Guide

1-4 passengers Captain Included

Bay Pines, FL

5.0

St. Pete Private Fishing Charter & More

1-4 passengers Captain Included

Sarasota, FL

5.0

Fishing charters, sandbar tours, & sunset cruises!

1-6 passengers Captain Included

Clearwater, FL

4.9

World Class Charter Services! Fish or Cruise

1-6 passengers Captain Included

Hudson, FL

5.0

Reel Gulf Predator - 36ft Fishing Charter!

1-6 passengers Captain Included

Tampa, FL

5.0

Charlton's Reef Fishing Charters - Tampa Bay

1-4 passengers Captain Included

Fishing Trips in Tampa

Whether you're thinking about booking a fishing charter for an offshore trip or you'll be sticking inshore, the Tampa area is a great place to explore. There are many incredible fishing opportunities in a condensed area and a wide variety of species to target at any time of the year.

Keeping your catch at the end of a trip? Many local seafood restaurants will gladly cook up your fresh fish for you. Be sure to bring a cooler for the day's catch, and celebrate your trip with a tasty lunch or dinner.


Charter Types

There are many locations to fish from in the greater Tampa area, including Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, St. Pete Beach, Madeira Beach, Clearwater, Palm Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, and the Nature Coast up to Port Richey and Hudson, Florida.

Captained Inshore & Nearshore Charters

Boats for inshore and nearshore fishing are on the smaller end in order to fish in shallower water. Many of these captained charters offer capacity for up to 3 or 4 anglers, for safety and so that each person has enough room on the boat to fish. You'll be able to target a wide variety of species, and when fishing near the coast, can get some great views of the coastal cities and ecosystem.

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Captained Offshore Charters

The boats for offshore charters are bigger in order to handle larger waves, and they'll take you out to bigger fish. They also burn more fuel based on their size and the distance needed to travel out to sea for offshore fishing, which adds to the expense. However, splitting the cost between a group of 6 guests (most common capacity for offshore charters) or more makes these trips reasonable, along with the bonus of getting to keep what you catch on most charters (fill your freezer and get the thrill of catching your fish rather than paying for them at market!).

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Bareboat Charters / Boat Rentals

Are you an experienced boater? Another option is to rent a boat without a captain to explore on your own. Boatsetter is the only booking platform with insurance included on all bareboat charters, so that you can rent with peace of mind. Find all types of boats to rent for fishing in Tampa, from center consoles to skiffs and bass boats.

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Best Places to Fish in Tampa

There are many locations to fish from in the greater Tampa area, including Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, St. Pete Beach, Madeira Beach, Clearwater, Palm Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, and the Nature Coast up to Port Richey and Hudson, Florida.

Fishing in the Bay

There are many shipwrecks, natural ledges, rock structures, and artificial reefs that provide structure to attract fish in the waters of Old Tampa Bay and Tampa Bay. Every fishing guide has their go-to honey holes they can take you for the best chance at getting bites.

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St. Pete Beach up to the Nature Coast

The area's coastline has plenty of launch points to head out into the Gulf of Mexico for fishing year-round. Catch species of grouper and snapper, mahi mahi, jacks, and more through either trolling or bottom fishing.

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Freshwater Fishing

Tampa isn't just for saltwater fishing. You can find big bass as well as crappie, bluegill, catfish and more in area lakes and ponds, the biggest of which is Lake Tarpon.

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Planning for Your Trip

After you've booked your Tampa fishing trip, here are tips to make sure you're prepared for an epic day.

1

Fishing Licenses

If you've booked a captained charter, the captain should have licenses for passengers included within their charter license. However, if you're fishing on your own, make sure you have your Florida fishing license for either saltwater or freshwater.

2

Bait and Tackle

Again, charter captains will have all bait and tackle needed for your trip. Or, the trip might start off with catching live bait. If you're renting a boat for a bareboat charter, visit local bait and tackle shops such as Tampa Fishing Outfitters.

3

Packing for Your Trip

Sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, non-slip and non-marking shoes or boots are recommended. Heading offshore? You may want to bring an extra layer for the ride out since it can get cool and windy at cruising speed. Don't forget a cooler if you plan to bring fish home!

Types of Fish in Tampa

The variety of fish in Tampa seems almost endless. These three below plus spotted seatrout make up what the locals call the "Tampa Bay Grand Slam", and you can catch them all year round. Ready to take a swing?

Redfish

Redfish are at home in a wide variety of environments and they can usually be caught on light tackle. Redfish are often bottom feeders (their mouths are pointed down) who prefer eating crabs and shrimp.

Snook

Mangroves, fallen trees, bridges, rock outcrops, sandbars, grass flats, reefs, wrecks, jetties and more all create the conditions that snook like. They are ambush feeders that wait for fish and crustaceans to pass by before pouncing on them.

Tarpon

Drifting live bait into a current can be a very effective way to fish for tarpon. Depending on the time of year, you might decide to use shrimp, crabs, mullet, or other types of bait to catch these fish.


Top Types of Fishing in Tampa, Florida

Tampa has lots of variety which makes the area ideal for all kinds of fishing. Here are three of the options you might want to try.

Deep Sea and Offshore Fishing

Fishing offshore and deep sea requires a longer trip to get out to fishing spots, but the adrenaline rush from catching larger fish further out is worth it. Keep in mind that the Gulf of Mexico is federally regulated, so in order to legally fish offshore beyond a certain distance on a fishing charter, the charter operator needs a charter vessel permit for offshore fishing. Two options in the Tampa area with this permit are this 36' center console and 32' offshore sport fishing boat. Read this trip report for an example of an offshore day in the Gulf.

Sight Fishing

Got your polarized sunglasses? Sight fishing requires scanning the water for signs of fish such as small wakes and shadows or strikes at baitfish. This style is a bit of an art, but if you can maintain stealthiness, it's quite the reward. With plenty of flats and shallow water near coastline, Tampa is an excellent place to practice this skill. For a sample of sight fishing, check out this St. Petersburg inshore fishing trip report.

Fishing from the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier

When you can't make it out on a boat, the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier is one of the most popular locations to fish from. There is a $4 vehicle fee and $4 fishing fee per person (as of 2021), though you don't need a fishing license in order to fish from the pier as that's covered for the day as part of the fishing fee. The pier also has a bait shop for fishing supplies, snacks, and drinks. Enjoy your fishing excursion while checking out some amazing views of the bridge at sunset.


Tampa, Florida Fishing Seasons

Fishing is always a wonderful experience in Tampa. If you have decided to charter a boat in Tampa, take a look at what to expect during the different months of the year.

01

January

Although January brings the coldest water temperatures of the year into Tampa Bay and Sarasota Bay, it can be a good month to fish for snook and trout.

02

February

It often depends on how cold February is, but sometimes you can go fishing deeper for redfish, black drum, and sheepshead, or trout and flounder if the water is cooler.

03

March

March is the start of the tarpon season. These are all resident fish weighing 45 to 200 pounds that can be found around the bay area bridges and other structures.

04

April

The offshore fishing can be red hot, but the flats can be just as good. Snook and redfish of all sizes can be caught all over the flats during April.

05

May

Snook are starting to spawn and May can be a good time to haul in a big one. There can also be plenty of trout swimming around the deeper grassy edges of the water.

06

June

June is another good month to haul in a bunch of massive snook. It is also a good time to find big schools of bull redfish in the shallow waters of Tampa and Sarasota Bays.

07

July

During July, the tarpon schools can be especially huge. Sometimes every fish in the area seems to be swimming together.

08

August

August is one of the best months for catching bull redfish in the shallow waters. There are also plenty of sharks to catch in the bays, and they tend to feed quite readily.

09

September

The offshore bottom fishing is good for grouper and snapper 15 to 30 miles out, with schools of dorado nearby as well. Amberjack fishing is starting to really heat up in the deeper waters.

10

October

October is a nice time to be on the water with light fishing pressure and great fishing to be done. It is one of those months where there is so much good fishing, it can be tough to decide which species to fish for.

11

November

In November, it is a good month for snook and redfish on the flats. There can often be some nice big trout mixed in with them too.

12

December

Redfish can be spectacular catches this month in terms of size. You might also attract black drum, sheepshead, and flounder. There is usually plenty of snook biting on the warmer days of the month.


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