A weeks fishing in West Central Florida

Hi all.
I have just come back from an amazing weeks fishing focusing around the anna maria island and tampa area.
I posted on here a few months ago asking for advice on wade fishing and wade fishing spots around the area. After getting great advice from several posters on this forum I decided to focus my efforts around Emerson Point and Fort De Soto.
My trips to Emerson Point proved frustrating and uneventful. I got up real early one morning with the intention of casting top water plugs near the mangrove line as it was post the recent cold front so I still thought the fish would be holding up in there. The fishing gods were not with me as my very first cast there resulted in a broken rod ring... So back to AMI I went feeling a bit sorry for myself to get another rod and re rig. I didn't want to drive all the way back to emerson again so I decided to try the flat on the Bradenton side of manatee avenue bridge. I got there just before high tide with the intention of fishing an hour or two before lunch. It was awesome being in the water as I've never done it before. It was real windy but I gave it a go anyway. I ended up with a few small sea trout and hits from something with teeth as my soft plastic jigs started getting torn to shreds. It was cool so I packed up and headed back quite confident in what I was doing.
Halfway through I booked a charter with Captain Brandon Henley, we caught a lot of snook in the creeks and canals around Tampa bay and then moved onto the flat catching Spanish mackerel of top water plugs.
I had heard and read about fort desoto before my holiday and it was on my list to try. I took the drive and parked up on the eastern point with the intention of wading out towards conception key and fish the point on the oyster bed. It was so windy out there that it was impossible and probably dangerous to get out towards the island so I stayed out the wind and fished the north side of the bay. I was throwing white plastic doa paddle tails and caught snook and trout about an hour before high tide. It was great fun and so satisfying to do it on my own coming from the UK. I did the exact same the next day but this time started out on top water super spooks early on. This was great and I caught snook out on the flat using this technique again about an hour before high tide. It was cool as well when I saw dolphins bust on mullet and quite unnerving when bonnet head sharks would swim right by me but obviously not interested in the slightest.

All in all it was an epic weeks fishing. I fished on the rod and reel pier and caught Spanish mackerel and jacks. I fished the beaches and caught lady fish and jacks whilst being frustrated by big beach snook that I was surprised to see that time of year. I had great fun fishing the canal at the back of our house catching flounder, jacks and trout.

You really all do have an amazing fishery and it was a privilege to fish these waters. You are spoilt for choice. If I could I'd move there tomorrow.

As I was fishing on my own most of the time I didn't get that many photos. But one of the guys fishing next to me at Fort de soto was kind enough to take a photo of one of the snook I caught.

I'll be back one day to hopefully catch a big redfish.


  • JAMuellerJAMueller Posts: 8 Greenhorn
    Ha! I was fishing that exact spot a few weeks ago. Wasn't as lucky as you. I wade Emerson Point and that area quite frequently, usually with decent luck. Normally get Trout, Reds, and Jacks. Glad you had a good time. Oh, btw if your bait was chopped up and the bite looked like it came to a point like an "^", then it was the ever annoying puffer fish!

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
  • GratefulEdGratefulEd Posts: 316 Deckhand
    Real nice post. Glad you enjoyed yourself. You did pretty good on your own, but next time you're here, hit me up.
    Would happily show you some useful stuff. That front really did whack things out a bit in my area also.
    Windy days blow
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