Fly Fishing in Tampa Bay
The beauty of Tampa Bay fly fishing lies not only in the shallow waters, stunning landscape, and praised fish you can target here. Not that this large estuary lacks any of it. But the true appeal comes from the unique combination of it all that suits the taste of hardcore fly fishers and enthusiasts alike. There's nothing quite like fly fishing around Tampa Bay Fly. Once you’ve cast the first fly, you’ll be hooked.
You may have fished Tampa Bay from a charter before, or perhaps you went on sightseeing tours to enjoy the rich wildlife that these waters boast --but you haven’t truly experienced the epicness of Tampa Bay until you’ve tried fly fishing here.
On average, Tampa Bay is about 11 ft deep. You have a stretch of flats near the shoreline and so much more to explore once you board a boat and move from the shore. The shallow water will let you spot the fish with ease and let you present the fly properly. Come winter and the cold front will remove the algae, leaving behind a clear view of what’s in the water. Seek edges of the flats, and you’ll find game fish by the dozens.
While saltwater fly fishing may be a more challenging endeavor compared to fishing in streams, the variety of Tampa Bay fish will make you reconsider your view. The crown jewel of inshore fly fishing is landing a Tarpon and outwitting Snook. Luckily, Tampa Bay has scores of these fellas. Add to that massive Redfish and ‘Gator Trout’, and you’ll see what draws crowds of fly anglers to come to town.
It could be a sunny day in August, or a cool morning in January, and you’d still get something to take your fly. The fly fishing season never ends here really, as winter produces amazing Redfish and Trout fishing, with spring luring in Tarpon and Snook from their winter shelters. The pleasant weather will attract fish to the bay waters so don’t be surprised that some fly anglers have a go at Cobia, King Mackerel, or even Snapper with success around here.
How to get the fish
If you’re just starting out, find a local guide who can help you make the most out of your trip by focusing on hot spots. As for some proven techniques, you’ll stand a chance against Snook with a 9 wt fly rod combined with deer hair bugs. If you want Redfish to see your lures, use puffy flies with an 8 wt rod. You’ll want to use somewhat heavier armor for Tarpon, starting with an 11 wt rod. To get Trout, use 5-9 wt fly rods and best pair them with lures such as poppers, or minnows.
Need to know
Fly anglers like building their own set of equipment and gear over time. It’s best to check with your guide before the trip about the details. You should also remember to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, a cap, and some food and drinks. If you’re fishing from a licensed charter or with a licensed guide you won’t need a fishing license.
Top Targeted Fly Fishing Species in Tampa Bay
- Size 3 to 12lbs
- Food Value Good
- Game Qualities Good
- Habitats Inshore, Nearshore, Flats, Backcountry
- Size 25 to 80lbs
- Food Value None
- Game Qualities Excellent
- Habitats Inshore, Flats, Backcountry