Inshore Report Tampa Bay- Reds, Snook, Tarpon

Been awhile since my last report, so here is a quick inshore report ..

Well September has started out with a little bit better weather and fishing than August, but it has still been wet and hot, but conditions are improving and fall fishing is right around the corner! As for now the Redfish bite has been awesome, snook fishing is getting better, and juvenile tarpon abundant! Near shore mangrove snapper, and Spanish mackerel have also been plenty.

Redfish have evaded Tampabay, and they have stolen the show for most anglers over the past couple of weeks. When fishing for Redfish during the summer months the most common way to target them is with cut bait. When fishing with cut bait it is ideal to use the freshest bait possible as the fresh scent is key. Cut chunks into 1-2" pieces, combined with a 2/0-3/0 circle hook and 20lb leader are the go to rigs. Most of the reds have been schooled up, and if you aren't on the schools it is hard to catch more then a handful of reds. Look for the schools of fish to be on south shore, Ft. Desoto, Weedon island, and UTB. Stealth is key when approaching a school, use either a trolling motor or push pole, or get out and wade to get into casting distance.

Snook season is now open and the snook are on the move, making it tough to get a on a solid bite. Snook are in a transition phase where they are moving from the beaches to the backwaters and rivers. I have been catching a fair number of snook on the flats while fishing for reds, and also picking up a few in the backwaters and still a few on the beach. Live sardines have been the bait of choice, and live chumming will help show where they are. Remember Snook season will be open until November 30th. The size limit is 28”-33” 1 per. Person.

Juvenile Tarpon have really made a showing recently and have been a blast to catch on light tackle and fly rods. Look for the smaller tarpon to be in small creeks, canals, and river mouths throughout the bay area. Small poppers and weedless jerk baits have been working well during dawn and dusk hours. Live bait will also produce strikes especially later in the day.

Nearshore the mangrove snapper fishing has remained consistent. Most of the snapper I have been catching have been 12-16”, and they are plentiful!When snapper fishing I like to either free-line or use a knocker rig depending on the tide. A small circle either 1# or 1/0 in size. Live shrimp or small white bait has been the bait of choice. Look for the snapper to be around the bay bridges, and along the nearshore reefs. Spanish mackerel have also been abundant in both the bay and the gulf waters. In the bay look for the cleaner water down around the G cut, birds are also a key indicator of where the mackerel will be. In the gulf I found plenty of macks from St. Pete reef – Dunedin Reef. Mackerel fishing should only get better as the month progresses.

Tight lines,

Capt. Jared


  • spydermonkeyspydermonkey Posts: 765 Officer
    Thanks for the report. Are all the reds up near the mangroves or can you get some on the edges of the flats?
    "Insert intelligent sounding quote here"
  • Capt.JaredCapt.Jared Posts: 164 Officer
    Thanks for the report. Are all the reds up near the mangroves or can you get some on the edges of the flats?

    Spydermonkey, most of the schools of fish I have found are on the open flats in 2-4' of water, and the edges of the bars and flats especially on the inside of the major passes.
  • skyway andeskyway ande Posts: 3,329 Captain
    Very exciting! ...
    bring on cooler weather!
    Thanks Jared!
    God, save the South!
  • Nice report, how long do the baby tarpon generally
    stay on this pattern?
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