Tampa Offshore Fishing Charters

Tampa Offshore Fishing Charters

Best Offshore Fishing Charters in Tampa

Top Offshore Fishing Charters in Tampa

Offshore Fishing in Tampa

Tampa Bay offshore fishing is a chance to leave the coastline and explore the waters in the infamous Gulf of Mexico. Out here you can fish for Amberjack, Cobia, Snapper, Grouper, King Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, and more. Whether you are in pursuit of a fast-swimming pelagic or a tasty bottom fish to enjoy for dinner, these waters have it all.

Tampa offshore fishing charters usually leave from Clearwater and the St Pete area, giving you direct access to the Gulf and its many wrecks and reefs. Some of these charters stay relatively close to shore, but a true offshore experience should take you at least 20-30 miles out. The farther from shore you sail, the bigger the fish will be.

What to Catch and When to Target it

If it’s a pelagic trophy you’re after, you’ll enjoy Tampa Bay’s offshore fishing scene the most in summer. This is when you can catch Barracuda, King Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, and Sailfish, among other deep sea species. Your chances of landing these fish are best on an 10-12 hour trip, fishing anywhere from 60-100 miles out.

King Mackerel and Barracuda peak in spring and again in autumn, often coming close enough to shore to target on a half day trip.

On the other hand, bottom fishing will yield Flounder, Sheepshead, Porgy, Grunts, and a variety of Snapper and Grouper. Gag Grouper, Scamp Grouper, and Amberjack are biting most in colder months, whereas Grunts, Seabass, Red Grouper, Mangrove Snapper, Red Snapper, Lane Snapper, and Porgy peak in the summer.

Really large bottom fish are found on wrecks and reefs in the deepest waters of the Gulf, but you can target their smaller cousins within sight of shore. For a truly massive Snapper or Grouper, plan on boarding a 10-12 hour deep sea charter that will take you more than 60 miles from shore. 

Even though many species are biting throughout the year, keep in mind that some are closed to harvest during certain months. If you have your sights set on a particular species, ask your captain about it ahead of time or refer to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to see what’s open for harvest.

How to Fish

Tampa Bay offshore fishing is a combination of trolling and bottom fishing.

You can troll or flat line for Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, Wahoo, King Mackerel, Barracuda, and Cobia. Even on charters where the primary focus is bottom fishing, you are likely to troll on your way to the fishing grounds.

Bottom fishing the wrecks and reefs may involve still fishing, drift fishing, casting, or jigging. These methods are used to target fish near the seafloor such as Porgy, Grunts, Snapper, and Grouper. Anglers typically use dead bait such as sardines, mullets, pinfish, and frozen squid for Grouper and Snapper. Small live baitfish work best when fishing in heavily fished areas.

Based on 20,063 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

Reviews of Fishing in Offshore Fishing in Tampa

Fishing with Max
Donna R. fished with Downtown Tampa Charters LLC on December 27, 2019
If looking for a bigger boat to go out farther don't forget to ask about the boat lol I was expecting a bigger boat (didn't ask or specify) and wanted them to go further out but from the two boys point of view I got exactly what I wanted...a great experience...
Captain Sam is the Absolute Best
Jason P. fished with Baytime Charters on July 5, 2019
Great fishing but extremely hot so plan accordingly
Awesome experience
Angie H. fished with Captain Skunk Beard Inshore Fishing on July 1, 2019
Book with captain skunk beard. You wont regret it
Great Night!!!
Jason A. fished with Tampa Bowfishing Charters on May 7, 2019
Book with FishingBooker.com. Easy to do and you will not be disappointed.
1hr refreshing Trip with Max Rowe.
William K. fished with Downtown Tampa Charters LLC on May 5, 2019
Listen to the local Fisherman.watch the weather.
Fishing with Ariel
Ed P. fished with Capt Ariel Charter Boats Inc. on April 22, 2019
Just like fishing anywhere else, book a great guide and have fun on the water !
Awesome trip!
Robert C. fished with Charlton’s Reef Charters on April 6, 2019
If you can't catch fish in Tampa, something is wrong! Great place to wet a line.
Half day with Captain John Skunkbeard
Bill M. fished with Captain Skunk Beard Inshore Fishing on March 30, 2019
Bring some snacks and sports drinks, and don't forget the sunscreen.

Top Targeted Offshore Fishing Species in Tampa