It’s Spring Fishing Season!

This party of six kicked off the spring fishing season.

March 20th was the best fishing year-to-date.

It just so happens I had two-four-hour charters on the first day of spring, and except for one spot, we caught fish all day. The redfish and snook just wouldn’t leave our baits alone. The best part, we were catching them in the same location. Fish after fish, we weren’t sure if it was going to be a redfish or snook until we got a hook-up.

Now, I’m not saying the fishing prior to that day has been all bad, just not as explosive. The good news is spring is here and the fishing is only going to continue to get better.

If you like to catch or have never caught snook and redfish, now is the time. Call today and book your world-class fishing adventure today.

Redfish and snook are coming on strong.

Kevin and Jany Gavaghan display two over-slot redfish.

The weather has been inconsistent this winter, to say the least. One week it’s been hot, the next week it’s been cold, but mostly hot. This has had the water temperatures fluctuating all over the place. One day the fishing would be good, the next, not so good.

Well, I’m happy to say that is all changing for the better.

With spring just around the corner, the grass flats are coming alive with redfish and snook. Not only that, but there’s also a lot more activity than just a week ago, and it will only continue to get better. Most outings lately have been producing a good mix of redfish, snook, and bycatches of jack crevalle and ladyfish to make the outings even more exciting.

Spring break is coming up, so now is the time to make your reservations for some excellent inshore sportfishing.

What a Momentous New Year!


This month marks a quarter of a century that I’ve been in the guiding business.

Let me tell you…Guiding customers to fish over the past 25 years full-time, hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been rewarding. Watching and coaching people to catch snook for the first time is still exciting. Teaching kids how to fish is worth every alarm that wakes me up at 3:30AM to prepare for the days charter. Seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they’re reeling in one redfish after another, justifies the hours that I put in catching bait before my clients even board Afishionado.

Through the years, I’ve witnessed more than a few phenomenon that has affected the Tampa Bay area waters. There have been several brushes with Hurricanes, three severe outbreaks of red tide, and the worst of all, the massive influx of boats both, recreational and commercial.

Starting in 2020 during the pandemic, people weren’t working or traveling so they bought boats and started fishing. Since then, Fridays resemble what Saturdays used to look like on the water, and Sundays now look more like the Fourth of July!

Additionally, over the past four to five years there’s also been an abundance of people getting into the fishing guide business. Now I’m not opposed to legitimate professional competition, it makes everyone better. However, that hasn’t been the case, for the most part. Many of the newbies lack customer service skills, have little to no dignity or work ethic and provide their customers inferior equipment.

After 25 years, I still, look forward to sharing in the experience of people catching some of Florida’s most popular inshore species on spin, fly or plug. I always have, and always will strive to offer the best possible fishing experience for every charter from my boundless energy and strong work ethic, to providing quality rods, reels, and the knowledge to make it all pay off.

I won’t be guiding for another 25 years, but I’ll be at it for another five, maybe ten! So, what are you waiting for, call me?

I’d be happy to set my alarm clock for you!

Finally, Cooler Weather.

Late November is an excellent time of year to fish.

If you don’t live here, you may think the fishing isn’t too good during our cooler months. Actually, it’s the opposite.

With winter just around the corner, passing cold fronts already have the water temperatures dropping. This does two things. First: It pushes the baitfish off the grass flats. Second: When the baitfish leave, so do the predator fish, such as snook, redfish and seatrout.

Both baitfish and the predator fish are seeking deeper water for warmth. Baitfish tend to go hangout at range markers and bridge pilings. The predator fish like to hangout in residential canals, creeks, rivers, and deep-water pockets that are protected from the wind by mangrove shorelines.

Once everything gets acclimated to its winter surroundings, the fishing is outstanding. Many days, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. There are times when you can catch snook, redfish and seatrout for hours on end at the same spot. Even on cold blistery days, you can always find places tucked out of the wind and still catch fish.

So, if you’re new to the area, vacationing, or have friends in from out of town, give me a call. I can always put you on some fish.

Fall Fishing is Just Around the Corner!

The JERSEY BOYZ, brothers Drew and Dean Paolella from Madison (exit 14) spent the morning trying to out fish each other while on a school of redfish.

Despite the lingering presence of red tide all along the coast from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs, Tampa Bay remains unaffected. Beach anglers continue to struggle to catch fish due to the ever-changing migration of the algae bloom. Low to high concentrations remain scattered throughout the region. The only way to stay on top of it, is to check the FWC’s Red Tide Status Report daily.

As for where I fish in Tampa Bay, the fishing is outstanding!

The redfish fishing has kicked into high gear on some the flats. Usually, the big spawning breeders start showing up just offshore, and at the mouth of Tampa Bay in October. However, that may not happen this year due to the red tide. Time will only tell.

The snook fishing has been good all summer long. As the days get shorter and the water temperatures slowly drop throughout the fall snook begin to feed even more. I’ve been catching snook, redfish, trout, and mangrove snapper in some of the same spots.

As for mangrove snapper, this has been the best year for catching these tasty treats that I can remember. They have literally been everywhere. I look for this to continue right up to mid-November when some strong cold fronts start moving through.

Seatrout are in no shortage on some of the grass flats. Most are in the 12-15-inch size range, but the numbers are impressive. I imagine the larger fish will become more active as the water temperature starts to drop.

The Spanish mackerel fishing was hit particularly hard in Tampa Bay during this summer’s red tide. Even though they were hard to come by then, they are now making a huge comeback. I expect it to only get better in October.

Speaking of October! The FWC plans to reopen snook, redfish and seatrout to harvest on October 11.

The official start of fall is on September 22, but don’t wait until then to book a charter to won’t soon forget. The phones lines are open!

The Fishing Continues to Excite in Upper Tampa Bay.

Larry Agle caught redfish, snook, a bonnethead shark and mangrove snapper on his most recent charter.

During the last couple of weeks, the fishing has been outstanding. Daily rains have lowered the water temperature and it may have even contributed to the disappearance of the red tide.

The mangrove snapper fishing remains strong, and I expect it to last for another month or so. Some days, the snapper are outcompeting the snook for chum and bait on the hook. Additionally, when you first get a hook up, you think you have a snook. That’s how aggressive and large some of these snappers are.

The snook fishing has remained constant and I find the best fishing to be during a strong tidal flow.  Some days it’s taking quite a bit of live bait chumming to persuade them to eat, but once they do, the action is pretty good. Another thing I’ve noticed about the snook fishing, if I’m not getting many bites while using a cork, I take it off and free line the bait. Snook tend to get cork shy every now and then.

Up until lately, I was encountering numerous schools of redfish, but now, not so much. I think all this rain has redfish on the move. I could be wrong, maybe I just need to look in different locations, but a couple of my best spots are only producing a dozen or so, that’s it!

Seatrout are still holding strong. I’m not seeing many over 20 inches, but there are plenty in the 14–16-inch range. Personally, I don’t target seatrout in the summer, unless they’re in season. The reason I try to avoid them, they don’t handle catch and release as well as other species. They’re being caught as by-catch.

Every day on the water is always a great experience aboard Afishionado.

Tampa Bay Red Tide Fishing Update

Brad Hobbs with a Tampa Bay snook.

All the local media hysteria reporting on the red tide issue and dead fish floating in Tampa Bay has many visitors and locals alike wondering if any fish survived the recent outbreak.

I’m here to tell you, there has been little to no impact to the fishery in upper Tampa Bay. As a matter of fact, the fishing is better than it was prior to Hurricane Elsa, which blew all the dead fish into the bay in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong, some parts of Tampa Bay were affected by red tide and fish died, but it was far less than the media would have you think. As of right now, I’m happy to report the red tide is loosening its grip on the bay and thangs are starting to get back to normal.

As Brad Hobbs from St. Petersburg, who fished with me yesterday, stated, “I expected to see floating dead fish, but saw none.” If that’s not enough to convince you, check out my recent posts on Facebook and Instagram. There are easy links at the bottom of every page on my website.

NO RED TIDE WHERE I FISH

The Wolfe family with Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper.

So, if you’re from out of state you’re probably wondering if the fishing is any good in upper Tampa Bay right now. Yes, it is!

Back in March a leak from a Piney Point phosphate mining facility holding pond dumped 200+ million gallons of wastewater into lower Tampa Bay. For months, little to no environmental impact was observed. Unfortunately, as the weather heated up, the water temperatures throughout the region began to rise and a red tide algae bloom spawned. Now dead fish are washing ashore along the beaches from St. Petersburg to Clearwater. Most of the fish being affected live nearshore and at the mouth of Tampa Bay. This incident has slowed the fishing in these areas.

The good news: Not where I’m located at 5108 West Gandy Blvd., Tampa.

Since all this made national news recently, I’m getting phone calls inquiring about what’s going on. I can assure you this. The fishing has not been effected by red tide in upper Tampa Bay.

When considering a trip to this area and at which hotel to stay, first ask if dead fish are a problem there. If so, keep calling around. The concentrations of red tide vary day to day and better hotels are constantly cleaning their beach fronts.

For some of the best inshore fishing, please call Afishionado. I can accommodate one to six people comfortably and a goodtime will be had by all.

 

 

Redfish and Seatrout Reopen for Harvest

Mike Milner and Matt Baker display a couple of redfish.

It’s been two long years since you’ve been able to keep redfish and seatrout for dinner, but that day is finally here. Today is the day! Blackened redfish and fried seatrout are back on the menu.

More good news! It shouldn’t be too difficult get your limit. Many of my recent clients have caught redfish, seatrout and snook during the same charter, to make for an inshore slam. Snook reopens for harvest on September 1 by the way, so mark your calendars.

Other species you can keep inshore to eat are mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel, and cobia.

If you’re traveling or just like to catch and release, I’m good with that. It’s just nice to be able to take more of a variety, should you choose to do so.

 

No fooling, the inshore fishing in April is outstanding!

Grant and Brian Perry with a snook and redfish.

The grass flats are becoming the most active since last fall. Baitfish have begun to invade the flats and the snook, redfish and trout are there to welcome them to breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you hit the tide right, the action can be non-stop. That’s the reason I don’t always start my charters at the crack of dawn. Many days, I don’t pick up clients until 11AM or later.

Even though, I may not see my clients for hours after sunrise, I still leave the dock before dawn to go catch bait. During the time in between, I’m busy cleaning the boat and rigging tackle. I may even scout some fishing locations for later. Once my passengers are aboard, we’re ready to fish. Depending on the current conditions, my first stop may only be five minutes from the dock. I always have a game plan before my charter shows up. That way, I utilize their time fishing, not sightseeing.

During the spring, snook, redfish and trout sometimes feed in the same areas. There are numerous days when you might catch all three species. That’s considered an “Inshore Slam.” Believe it or not, I’ve had many Floridians aboard that have never achieved this feat.

Another bonus about April: The Spanish mackerel are starting to migrate into Tampa Bay. They are a blast to catch on light tackle because they hit hard and make extremely long runs. The mangrove snapper fishing is picking up also. Snapper and mackerel can be caught in the same places at times. So, for clients that like to keep fish they’ve caught for dinner, now is an excellent time.