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Top Fishing Charters in Clearwater

Fishing in Clearwater

Visit Clearwater, and you will understand what the words ‘piscatorial paradise’ really mean. Located on a peninsula with Old Tampa Bay bordering the town to east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west, there is always a hot place to fish a short distance from the city center, whatever the season. Clearwater and Clearwater Beach fishing is something you have to experience to believe.

The town evolved around its natural freshwater springs, becoming an important location in Florida’s ice trade in the early 1900s. By the middle of the twentieth century, it had started to attract visitors from all over the world thanks to its white sandy beaches, beautiful weather, and nature-filled estuaries. Now, the town is known for its lively cosmopolitan atmosphere, blooming artistic scene, and - most importantly - incredible fishing.

Known For

Clearwater is a textbook example of the angling potential of Florida’s West Coast. The area’s endless grass flats and backcountry waterways are home to many of the state's most sought-after game fish. And that's not to mention the monsters that are waiting for you offshore.

Clearwater fishing charters will usually take you anywhere from Clearwater Beach to Tarpon Springs on an inshore fishing trip. Explore the shallow waters of Clearwater Bay and St. Joseph Sound for firm Floridian favorites such as Redfish, Snook, Sea Trout and even the Silver King himself. Tarpon season runs from late March through October, but peak season is May and June. This is a truly unforgettable experience. Careful - Tarpon fishing charters are in very high demand, so be sure to plan accordingly!

But not only is the fishing great inshore: the local wildlife is something that will make you want to stay here forevermore. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! Most Clearwater Beach fishing charters enjoy visits from breaching dolphins, as well as coming face to face with manatees, herons, porpoises, pelicans, ospreys, and much more besides.

Venture further into the Gulf of Mexico, and you'll find out why Clearwater is understood to be home to some of the best deep sea fishing in Florida. The Tampa Bay area is known as the Grouper capital of the world, with year-round monster catches seeming to defy any mentions of seasonality. Red, Gag, and Scamp Groupers are all caught in large numbers on offshore charters. And we haven’t even mentioned Snapper!

No boat? While hiring an experienced Clearwater fishing charter is the best way to explore everything the area has to offer, land-based fishing will at least give you a taste of what’s in store. Head to the iconic Pier 60 to dip your line up to 1080 ft out into the Gulf of Mexico. Be sure to check out the bait house while you’re there!

Rules & Regulations

A fishing license is not required for anglers fishing aboard a guided boat or a for-hire charter, as long as the vessel has a valid charter captain or charter boat permit.

Types of Fishing

Fish inshore with light spinning tackle or fly for Redfish, Snook, and Trout. Battle a Tarpon on light tackle for a thrill you will never forget. Otherwise, go offshore to jig for Amberjack, bottom fish with bait for big Snappers and Groupers, or even troll offshore for Mahi Mahi and Blackfin Tuna in the summer.

Insider’s tip: don’t miss the unforgettable King Mackerel migration in Spring and Fall. If battling a fast-moving monster on light tackle on light tackle sounds appealing, this is something you won’t want to miss. 

Clearwater
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Clearwater Fishing Seasons

With winter temperatures in Clearwater being pretty comfortable, this is a great time to get out on the water. Head to Old Tampa Bay for some Gator Trout or fish the canals for a large variety of fish. Groupers respond to live bait offshore.

Winter fishing continues, with most of the action either from bottom fishing with live bait offshore or stalking the local flats and canals for big Trout, Black Drum, Sheepshead and the occasional Redfish inshore.

As the weather begins to transition to spring, the fishing also heats up. The first Tarpon gradually begin to appear and Snook start to emerge from their winter hiding holes. King and Spanish Mackerels appear off the beaches.

 

King Mackerel fishing heats up. The Rotary Club of Clearwater hold their annual Kingfish Tournament: raise funds for local charities while putting your fishing skills to the test. Redfish is biting well inshore.

The Tarpon season begins in earnest and most Clearwater inshore charters get booked up completely. The Snook season closes but they are still great fun to catch and release. Offshore, Snapper fishing is very good.

 

 

Tarpon fishing is still in full swing. This is the best time to catch the Silver King - if you can find a spot on the water to do so, that is! Red Snapper season is open and Snook is spawning on the beaches for incredible catch and release fishing.

Clearwater's white sandy beaches are filled with vacationers, making a fishing charter a pleasant way to relax. Tackle shark in shallow water or head offshore for amazing Red Grouper and Red Snapper fishing.

The weather is hot, with some small chance of storms to ease the humidity. Bottom fishing offshore is good, while Tarpon and Snook are still wreaking havoc inshore. Beat the heat by fishing first thing or in the evening.

The weather cools slightly and with the lower water temperatures come King and Spanish Mackerel on their southwards migration. Baitfish invade the local waters with Redfish and more on their tails. Fishing is hot!

Fall fishing continues to be excellent, with the quantity and quality of Kingfish attracting anglers from far and wide. A little known fact is that there is still some good Tarpon fishing to be done along Clearwater Beach at this time of year. 

Inshore, Redfish is biting well and Trout begins to re-appear. If you're looking for a workout, head offshore to grapple with Amberjack. Otherwise, this is a good time to fish for Snappers and Groupers over reefs and wrecks.

December is high season in Clearwater, so be sure to book your accommodations in good time. Fishing is not to be written off: you will find some excellent Grouper fishing offshore and Black Drum, Redfish, and Trout inshore.

Clearwater Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Clearwater

"Half day trip with Capt Wallerstein"

Barry Butler fished with Flats Monster on September 1, 2018

Half day trips are the way to go..it gets very hot from 11 am on!

"Full day with J Van Charters"

John Hrynkow fished with J Van Charters on August 22, 2018

Be ready for a full day on the ocean. Hydrate up and use plenty of sunscreen. Bring a hat.

"Fun"

Mary Lou Myers fished with Skinny Water Charters on August 15, 2018

Was advised by locals that 1/2 day was not long enough to get to good fish via deep sea trip, so opted for bay fishing. A good choice.

"Outstanding morning, thank you!"

Joe Doyle fished with Flats Monster on August 7, 2018

Get up early and go for a dawn start - the fish were virtually throwing themselves at the boat for the first couple of hours!

Top Fishing Techniques in Clearwater

  1. Deep Sea Fishing

Top Targeted Species in Clearwater

Snook

Redfish

Cobia

Tarpon

Nearby Fishing Destinations