Fish species you may encounter on your fishing charter.
Tampa Bay offers such a vast variety of species to target, that it would be impossible to cover them all here, but here are some of the more popular fish that you can expect to catch on your fishing charter.
Do you have a particular species in mind that you would like to target but don’t see on the list? Be sure to ask Capt. Spencer what other species are available because there are no fish swimming in Tampa Bay that he can’t catch!
Speckled Sea Trout: Don’t let the name fool you, this trout is actually a drum! A distant cousin to the redfish, sea trout provide great action year round with the cooler months being best. Making great table fare, trout are targeted regularly on our charters. Trout are most frequently found around deeper grass flats and will also readily take a well presented jig. Gator trout in the mid 20” range are not uncommon, but for these big breeders we practice catch and release.
Tarpon: Tarpon (silver king) are unquestionably the mightiest of all sport fish available in Tampa Bay as well as one of the most sought after species in the entire world. Famous for their acrobatic jumps when hooked, there is no fish that will test your skills as an angler quite like a tarpon. Tarpon can be targeted March- November with May-September (summer time) being the prime months. Always remember, ‘bow to the king’!
Redfish: One of the staple species of the Tampa Bay area is the redfish. Redfish can be found along shallow grass flats, mangrove shorelines, oyster beds and docks. Considered the ‘bulls’ of the flats, redfish are a blast on light tackle and are often found in schools of fish that can leave your arms sore! Redfish are available year round, with the best fishing times in the spring and fall.
Snook: Another one of Tampa Bay’s staple species is the snook. Like the redfish, snook are found all along Tampa Bay’s shallow grass flats and mangroves, but in particular like hanging around structure like docks and bridges. These fish are a blast on light tackle with larger fish often testing anglers abilities to keep them away from the structure they hang around. Snook are a sub tropical species of fish and do not feed as heavily during the winter, but can be caught year round in abundance.
King and Spanish Mackerel: Every spring and fall the Tampa Bay area experiences a “run” of pelagic species along our beaches as these fish migrate north and/or south. These tackle busters can often be found within only a few miles of our local beaches like St. Pete Beach and Treasure Island. Spanish mackerel remain available all through the summer, with the kings making their appearance only when water temperatures are favorable (around 72 degrees). These fish are a blast on light tackle and also make great table fare!
Sharks: The Tampa Bay area is home to a huge variety of sharks, including but not limited to: bull sharks, hammerheads, lemon sharks, nurse sharks, black tips, bonnet heads and many many more. Shark fishing is best in the summer time, and often end up being some of our biggest catches of the year. Capt. Spencer practices catch and release with all shark species.
Cobia and Triple Tail: Two species of fish that too often go unrecognized are the cobia and triple tail. Although these species are unrelated, they are often caught using the same fishing methods. These fish enjoy hanging around floating debris, channel markers etc. and are sight casted to when found. More than most species on this list, these are two of the absolute best tasting fish you can find, and are very rare on local restaurants’ menus. Expect to catch these species from April until October.
Sheepshead: Another species that makes for great table fare are the sheepshead. These crustacean eaters are often found around docks, bridges and rock piles and have an appetite for shrimp, crabs and barnacles. While they can be targeted year round, the best months are October-March making these ‘convict fish’ one of our more popular targeted species during the winter months.
Capt. Spencer is also a successful tournament angler and has accrued top and first place rankings in many regional and national contests.
He has also been featured on the covers of Florida Sportsman, Kayak Fishing Magazine, Onshore Offshore Magazine and other publications.