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Top Fishing Charters in Dunedin

Fishing in Dunedin

Dunedin fishing charters are nestled around one of the most scenic waterfronts not just in Florida, but across the States. The town has quick access to some of the best-rated beaches worldwide, such as the iconic Caladesi Island State Park. Anglers coming here will be in a real piece of paradise — both on soil and around vast fisheries that culminate in the flats and open Gulf waters.

Dunedin fishing spots

Fishing in Dunedin can give you a real taste of what West Coast Florida fishing is like. From catch and release trips for Goliath Grouper to Sharks around the flats, and catching Tarpon on fly, these fisheries are a real mixed plate that will suit the palate of novice anglers and hardcore sportfishers alike. Looking onto the Gulf of Mexico to the west and bordering the fisheries of Old Tampa Bay, with Lake Tarpon, and St. Joseph Sound nearby, Dunedin is a likeable fishing destination that attracts numerous fishing enthusiasts year after year. Let’s have a look at some of the spots you definitely want to try out.

Saint Joseph Sound

The obvious choice for so many fishing charters that set out from all the settlements on this part of the coast, the fisheries of Saint Joseph hardly ever let down. If you like inshore fishing, you will have a blast as a regular charter will see you battling Redfish, Speckled Trout, Tarpon, Snook, Black Drum, Flounder, and the odd Kingfish and Spanish Mackerel.

If you are not that much into inshore fishing, you will most probably be hooked on it after a trip with a local guide. The intricate web of shallow flats, skinny waters, and mangrove rims of nearby islands stores some of the finest honey holes filled with fish for the better part of the year. 

Just outside Howard Park you can get early morning Tarpon, while you can expect a solid bite from Snook hiding around sheltered grassy areas near Honeymoon Island. These waters are rich in fish bait - a clue no angler overlooks.

Look out for the warm front as it brings schools of Reds and Snook that feed on shrimp and smaller bait fish. Come in the winter months and you will see ‘gator trout’ showing up around the sound looking for prey.

Old Tampa Bay

Before you head out into the Gulf, you will also want to look east and explore the fisheries of the Old Tampa Bay. A regular choice for local fishermen and travelers, the bay holds massive Trout.

Check around bridges and you will find scores of bait fish that attract Snook, Redfish, Black Drum, and the ‘Silver King’ himself. Tarpon peak in May and June and this is something you want to experience for yourself, no matter how skilled you are.

Turbid waters with grassy seabeds are where Pomano like to hang out, and nearby you can also find Permit. Black Drum mostly feed around the bottom near oyster beds. There are so many possibilities and it’s best to have a local nearby to help you turn your opportunities into full bags.

Gulf of Mexico

Once you venture into the Gulf, you will likely be spoilt by almost endless possibilities of fish to catch. The Tampa Bay is called ‘Grouper Capital of the World’ for a reason, and the Gulf fisheries will show you that reason all right. Before you reach the bottom fisheries where Gag, Red, and Black Grouper dwell, you’ll also want to check out deeper flats as you head out to the Gulf.

You can go trolling for Kingfish and Spanish Mackerel en route to offshore reefs where the Grouper and Snapper are. Though the season is not open throughout the year, catch and release is allowed, so you can still feel what it’s like to battle these big bottom fish. Plus, out there you can land some Amberjack while you are at it.

Deep sea fishing is not the first thing that comes to mind when talking about fishing in Dunedin. However, if you’re patient enough you can still get some impressive apex predators, including Wahoo, Mahi, Tuna, Sailfish, and Blue Marlin. You would need to head out at least 60 miles to accomplish this and it could be a hit and miss.

Some 20 miles further and it’s a different story altogether, with Snowy, Warsaw, Yellowedge, and Scamp Grouper and Grey Snapper feeding around the rocky bottom near the Elbow and the Middle Grounds. It’s a real treat for hardcore anglers.

Fishing techniques

Any Dunedin fishing guide will tell you this: the local waters are such a good starting point to delve into fishing. And if you’re more experienced? No worries, these fish can push you to the limit even after a decade on the water. One thing is for sure -- you will have fun. Plus, there are no choppy seas to worry about while inshore.

Gator Trout are feisty creatures and you should take them seriously. They are voracious and might even go after not so obvious bait, but it’s best to keep scaled sardines nearby and couple them with ultra light spinning tackle. Artificial shrimp and hard plugs work well too.

If you want a real blast, try fly fishing for Tarpon. If you want to use live bait then go with blue crabs and threadfins. You can also try sight casting with artificial lures.

Further out, you will do some of the finest bottom fishing as you try to entice Grouper to take a bite. They will be hiding around offshore reefs and wrecks and will go after live bait. Artificial lures such as diving plugs work amazingly well for Grouper, but you will need to bear in mind the depth at which you’re trolling.

For top predators such as Wahoo, Tuna, Mahi, and Kingfish, trolling with live bait is a ‘safe’ choice. It will give you good chances of enticing the fishing, but reeling them in is a completely different story. That’s why you want to fish with someone who’s fished for them before.

Need to know

If you’re fishing from a licensed charter or with a licensed guide, you won’t need a saltwater fishing license to have a go at these fishing grounds. Booking a trip with the local charters is a good way to get the most out of your fishing trip, as these captains are informed about the season and know what works for each of the target species. If you are feeling confident enough, you can always practice the moves right from the beach or a pier.

Most of the charters will supply all the fishing gear, tackle, lures, and bait, but it’s good checking with the captain regardless. As a rule of thumb, you will want to pack shades, sunscreen, a hat, and some Dramamine in case you are prone to seasickness. There’s nothing fun about feeling sick onboard for eight hours straight.

If you are fishing with kids, Dunedin charters are a good choice as you really don’t need to travel that far offshore for the fish to put on an amazing display of stunts. Charter captains usually supply all the life jackets, again, it’s best to check this with the captain before the trip.

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Dunedin Fishing Seasons

Gator Trout won’t disappoint. Check out the Old Tampa Bay and you can also sample some Redfish. Offshore you can get Grouper on a catch and release trip. Even though it’s winter, fishing is far from still here.

If you’re planning to scout around inshore fisheries, you can snatch some Black Drum, Sheepshead, the odd Red Drum, and big Trout. Offshore, it is all about bottom fishing for Grouper.

The temperatures are gradually picking up and the fishing opportunities follow. Snook are coming out of their winter shelter and start making their way towards more open waters. You can also see the first signs of Tarpon.

Spring is here which means that trolling for Kingfish and Spanish Mackerel can be super lucrative. You can also get Snook, with Redfish starting to bite more and more.

You’d better be quick if you want to land a Tarpon. The hype is real and a lot of local charters get booked before you know it. You can also do some trolling for Mackerel a bit further out.ouper fishing taking place offshore.

With Tarpon action on fire, it’s easy to understand why so many boats are filled to the brim. Head offshore to get Red Snapper - yes, the season’s finally open! You can also try some catch and release for incredible Snook.

Summer’s here and the beaches are filled with vacationers. If you want to unwind even better, Snapper and Grouper season offshore is on fire, with anglers regularly coming back with a nice dinner.

Head out early in the morning to get bait fish and then move onto Tarpon and Snook. Anglers will find plenty of action far offshore, with Mahi and Tuna biting.

You will see more and more Redfish showing up around flats, which can turn your September day on the water into a real sight casting treat. A bit further out, Kingfish and Spanish Mackerel are in abundance.

Kingfish are in the spotlight, with trolling producing excellent results. Inshore, Redfish dominate the channels, sounds, and flats, putting up a real fight.

It’s that time of the year when Redfish seem to be all over the place, so chances are you will have a great day on the water. You can test your skills against Amberjack offshore.

As inshore waters cool down, more anglers come to town. ‘Gator Trout’ are showing up and you don’t want to miss them. Black Drum and Redfish are also hanging around, with great Grouper action offshore.

Dunedin Fishing Calendar

What People Are Saying About Dunedin

"Half day with Captain Zach!"

Patrick Thomas fished with Leviathan Charters LLC on December 21, 2017

Be ready as your chances to catch one are limited.

Top Targeted Species in Dunedin

Sheepshead

Nearby Fishing Destinations