In my 20 years of chartering in Tampa Bay and a lifetime of fishing here we have had thousands of clients step foot aboard our fleet of boats. Tampa Bay is a wonderful experience but preparing yourself for the trip beforehand on what to expect and bring will ensure you get the full experience. Knowing what to ask before and after booking is key to a great day on the water. Some of this is simple and common sense but gets overlooked every day. So here is some useful information that will make your next fishing trip a success…
First step in the process is booking a fishing charter. This can seem easy and seamless with the internet these days, but this is the most crucial step to the trip. Going online to book is a great and convenient way to book but for the most part everyone looks legit. Make sure your captains are full time charter captains and that they are fully licensed and insured. Always look and read reviews. Stay away from booking referral sites (Book direct) Do not be afraid to ask for references as well. Follow these simple steps prior to booking and you will have a more successful charter.
Our trips typically start out at sunup. When fishing in Tampa Bay we use live bait 99 percent of the time. We also use a cast net to catch our bait. This typically happens before our charters but in some cases, we will take customers with us to catch bait on the way out! Catching bait is as hard as finding fish. Sometimes catching the right amount of bait can push our start times back from the original start time. Being able to adjust 15 to 30 minutes always helps us when running a charter. If we are a little late, we always make up the time with the customer to insure they get the full length of the trip. We typically make it on time but on occasion, we are a few minutes behind. Every charter starts with getting bait!
You will be spending the day with Captain Jason Prieto a 20-year charter captain and accomplished tournament fisherman or Capt. Jordan Bowles a young captain with years of knowledge in the bay and a great attitude to match. You will be boarding one of our 3 boats, A 24-foot custom built Canyon Bay 24H with a custom tower and shade. The other is our 28-foot Canyon Bay 28H also custom rigged. The last boat is our custom rigged 2022 Tidewater TPC specifically designed to fish extremely shallow. All boats are new and have newer engines to provide a comfortable trip and safely get you back to the dock.
After getting bait most trips start out with a short run to the backcountry in Tampa Bay. This is typically minutes away from the dock (So no long runs) In Tampa Bay the water is shallow with the average depth only being twelve feet. The size of the bay is twenty-five miles long and twelve miles wide. It has miles of shallow water flats and backcountry all slap full of some great fishing. Targeted species depends on the time of year, but we have some impressive Snook, Redfish, Trout on the shallow water flats and the bay provides us with some great Tarpon, Grouper, Snapper, and Mackerel. It is truly an amazing fishery that is surrounded by a great city to make for the perfect vacation.
What we catch and target will depend on what time of year you book. Its great fishing year-round but what we target will depend on what’s hot that week. All our gear is St Croix Spinning rods matched with Daiwa Reels. Everything is light tackle spinning gear so whether you are a novice or expert we have you covered. Our trips will include proper instruction, on hand demonstration and recommendations for future fishing trips to make you a better angler. Here are a few tips we recommend before your next fishing charter.
- Make sure and give us special instructions if needed before the charter. (If you have any physical limitations or any other type of limitations let us know before hand)
- Make sure you bring plenty of water, food, and sunscreen (Everything else is provided)
- If you have additional people going other than what is booked make sure to clarify before the day of the trip.
- If you have an infant or smaller child going, make sure and let us know. (I also recommend bringing a more comfortable life vest if they are smaller) Ours are for emergencies and are not fun to wear all day
- If you have special request on targeted species, make sure to ask before the trip. (As mentioned above certain species have seasons and it might not be the right time of year for that specific species
- Always have a good line of communication (This makes everything go smoother for the captain and customer)
- If you want to bring your own gear, please let us know ahead of time (We are specific on what we use but this will not be a problem)
This is an overview of what a day of fishing on Tampa Bay is like and what to expect from start to end. Following these simple steps and understanding the basics when booking a charter will insure you get the most out of the charter. Afterall we strive to make the fishing experience great and have you rebooking every year. Repeat clients are the best clients. Tightlines and let’s go fishing!