Catching Grouper in 10 feet of Water

September 01, 2016 by Sean Goddard

Trip Info

The Catch
Grouper (Gag)
Grouper (Red)
Snapper (Mangrove)

Inshore Fishing

I am excited to write my Tampa Bay fishing charter report for September.  Fishing has been on fire all month.  We are catching multiple species of fish all over Tampa Bay.  The bite is getting hotter as the water temp heads toward the 70s.

Large schools of over sized redfish have moved into the bay and are roaming the flats. I am finding that white bait, cut bait and shrimp are working well to catch fish.  I like to work the mangroves during the higher tide and look for moving water and bird activity on the flats during the lower phase of the tide.  Generally speaking redfish are your best bet this time of year for a day full of action.

The snook are making their move to  the backcountry creeks and mangrove shorelines.  Early morning is producing well on top water lures for jumbo snook roaming the mangrove edges. I like to use live bait during the day as they hide out in the mangrove roots.   I am finding that white bait is everywhere so you should have no problem filling your live well for a day of snook and redfish action.

In addition trout fishing has been excellent with many of the larger fish moving onto the flats to feed early morning.  Of course smaller fish up to keeper size can still be found on deeper grass flats from 4 to 6 feet. I like to use live bait suspended under a cork float.  Mirrolures and top water plugs will also produce good numbers of trout.

Nearshore Fishing

The grouper bite is blowing up all over Tampa Bay and I am getting lots of chances to catch them on our charters.   I am finding lots of small grass grouper on the flats and in the deeper mangrove cuts.  Trolling for grouper has produced some good-sized gags and even a red or two.  I use large deep diving plugs in 30 feet of water and they are producing some impressive sized grouper.

Schools of Spanish Mackerel are all over the Skyway area and are feeding aggressively on white bait and shrimp free-lined. I like to fish these schools when I have kids on the boat because Mackerel are a source of non-stop action.  The fish are good-sized ranging up to 20 inches or more in some instances.

I am still catching good numbers of Mangrove Snapper .  I am finding most of them along mangrove shorelines and deep water structure.  It’s not unusual to catch fish in the 18 inch range these days.  Mangrove Snapper are a great fish to take home for dinner and because there are so many of them it’s easy to limit out quickly.


This has been a great Tampa Bay fishing charter report to write.  It’s my opinion this is the best time of year to get out and catch multiple species because water temps are ideal, the weather is amazing and fishing is spectacular.
I am excited for the coming months water temps will begin to drop and water clarity will improve. For this reason I am forecasting that fishing will only get better as the cooler weather approaches.

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Inshore2Offshore Fishing Adventures

Captain Sean Goddard owns and operates Inshore 2 Offshore Fishing Adventures. He has been fishing the Florida’s West Coast for over 40 years and has devoted years to learning about the Tampa Bay waters, as well as the feeding routines and…

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