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As cool autumn temperatures start to settle in across the country, northern anglers migrate south on vacations to warmer locales. For many anglers, these winter fishing vacations often take place in Florida, with its mild winters and amazing sports fishing opportunities. For those anglers looking to bring the whole family or looking to spend a few weeks in the Sunshine State, one of the best possible destinations is Tampa, FL. Home to some of the best saltwater angling in the entire Gulf of Mexico, Tampa is also an amazing location with a unique history and some of the best cuisine, nightlife and attractions in Florida.

Tampa Bay provides a wealth of in-shore and off-shore fishing adventures for angling novices all the way to seasoned pros. The state’s largest open water estuary, the shallow flats average 12 feet and depth and cover 400 square miles of opportunities for red drum, flounder, snook and other popular in-shore game fish. Over 200 different species of fish inhabit these spectacular waters, as well as bottlenose dolphins and manatees and a huge diversity of birds. And Tampa Bay is well known from spring to early fall as a consistent top area for the Silver Kings of the saltwater angling world… Tarpon! Perhaps the only difficulty in fishing Tampa Bay is selecting from the diversity of angling options available. But even that chore is made easy as the area has an equally impressive range of charter guides, from offshore trips to kayak angling.

And Tampa has more to offer than only world class saltwater fishing. It is home to Busch Gardens Tampa, an African themed adventure park with 8 roller coasters, exotic animals and the Adventure Island Waterpark. The Tampa Riverwalk is another popular day trip option, as are visits to historic Ybor City, once the cigar industry hub of America. And visitors can also travel across the Florida’s flagship bridge, the 4+ mile Sunshine Skyway Bridge, for spectacular vistas from 430 feet above the emerald green waters of the bay. With its amazing nightlife, fantastic seafood, gorgeous beaches and so much to experience, Tampa Bay has so much more to offer sports anglers than only fishing.

This winter, leave your sweater at home, pack some shorts and head to Tampa Bay to experience not only great fishing, but a premier Florida destination overstocked with amazing opportunities for an amazing vacation!