Tampa has a reputation for some of the world’s finest flats and backcountry fishing for a number of fish species including speckled trout, shark, and grouper. But what really makes Tampa a prize charter fishing destination is the hard-fighting, rod-bending reputations of the big four targeted sport fish species: redfish, snook, cobia, and tarpon.
These hard-fighting fish are the bread and butter of Tampa sport fishing. Redfish are year-round residents of Tampa Bay, migrating from their winter homes in the mangroves and backwater rivers and inlets out to feed in the grass flats in spring and summer. The summer redfish action on the flats is unbeatable. Sightfishing for large schools of these 16-35 inch powerhouses promises hours of rod-bending fun on light tackle. Redfish are a delicious and fun Tampa sport fish target.
In the spring and fall one of the favorite targets of Tampa anglers is the snook. Snook have a reputation for superior speed and strength. At an average in Tampa Bay of 8 pounds, snook may be pound for pound one of the toughest and hardest fighting sport fish species in Tampa. Snook tend to congregate in mangroves and along bridges inshore, but are also common on the flats throughout the year. Snook, a tender, flavorful fish, are a rare treat on the dinner table as they are not commercially available in Florida. Make sure to take the skin off before cooking!
Cobia is another prized Tampa fishing target. At up to 30 pounds, cobias have a reputation for never-say-die fighting and unbeatable action. Cobia are often seen cruising the flats in spring and summer to feed on shrimp, crab, squid and shellfish, whereas they tend to congregate near the warm currents of power plants inshore in the cooler winter months. Cobia is prized for its sweet and delicate meat, and its hard-fighting reputation making it one of Tampa’s favorite inshore charter fishing targets.
Tarpon are the kings of Tampa sport fishing. Ranging in size from 50 to 200 pounds, these flashing silver giants are the ultimate prize for any Tampa fishing charter. In summer when they migrate to the flats to feed, tarpon provide hours of non-stop action with multiple hookups of these hard-fighting giants common. Tarpon have a reputation for leaping and running as hard as any fish and the action is unforgettable. Tarpon have no food value but are the most highly prized sport fish target in Tampa Bay, which can only mean one thing. Their action is legendary. And there is no better place than a Tampa sport fishing charter to get in on the action.