Fish Caught in Tampa Bay, Florida

Tampa Bay, Florida is a 400-mile playground for anglers of all levels. Fish caught in Tampa can vary from normal resident fish to big fish to game fish.

You can expect plenty of inshore and nearshore action since this is a bay. However, for the fiercer fish species, offshore is the way to go. Likewise, methods such as spearfishing, fly fishing, and deep sea fishing are used when fishing in Tampa.

Edible fish caught in Tampa Bay could include amberjack, black drum, cobia, flounder, grouper, mackerel, mahi mahi, and mangrove snapper. Meanwhile, shark, tarpon, and snook are among the best game fish you can catch in Tampa.

Amberjack

Because amberjack are big, anglers often see them as game fish rather than seafood. They taste like a cross between dolphinfish and tuna, but their highlight is their size.

The average weight of amberjack in Tampa Bay is 10 to 60 pounds, but 200 pounds is also possible.

Due to their size, amberjack are usually caught for gaming rather than eating purposes. However, they’re edible and taste like tuna and mahi mahi combined.

In Tampa Bay, the average amberjack catch is somewhere around 10 to 60 pounds, but it can also be as massive as 200 pounds. These fish are plentiful during the months of May, August, and September.

Black Drum

Black drums are the biggest drum species. They weigh 5 to 10 pounds on average in Tampa, but Florida’s most massive black drum catch had been 96 pounds.

These fish don’t really move much and prefer to have their food some to them. Hence, they’re perfect for inexperienced fishing enthusiasts looking to bag a couple of fish.

You’ll find an abundance of black drums in Tampa Bay in March, April, September, and November. However, black drums don’t have a closed season, so you can fish for them at any time.

Cobia

Cobia makes for a great seafood and game fish. It yields big and firm white flesh that’s perfect for sushi and other dishes. It’s also enormous: weighing around 20 to 50 pounds on average.

Likewise, people sometimes mistake the cobia for a remora or a shark due to its appearance. It can be quite powerful as it struggles against being caught, too, so it’s perfect for anglers looking for both food and game.

Cobia swarms Tampa Bay’s shores in wintertime.

Flounder

Flounder fishing is the perfect activity for anglers with a fair amount of patience and sharpness in their system. The flounder’s habit – camouflaging itself while waiting for prey – suits fishing enthusiasts who enjoy hunting and strategizing.

Flounder caught in Tampa Bay weigh 1 to 5 pounds on average. You can usually spot them around oyster bars, rocky ledges, rock jetties, artificial reefs, and flats.

Grouper

Groupers attract fishing enthusiasts who love bottom fishing. These big fish can easily be caught in Tampa Bay year-round.

Four grouper types often reign in Florida: red, black, gag, and goliath. Red and black groupers are always around, but gag groupers are only in season from June to December.

Tastewise, gag groupers are considered to be the best because of their firm and big meat. Gamewise, goliath groupers make for a great catch due to their size, but it’s prohibited to bag them.

Mackerel

Among the easiest and tastiest fish caught in Tampa Bay are mackerels. They’re always in schools on shallow waters, and they’re flavorful.

King and Spanish mackerel are common in Tampa. On average, king mackerel weighs 10 to 20 pounds while Spanish mackerel weighs 2 to 6 pounds.

Mahi Mahi

Mahi mahi’s name literally translates to “strong strong,” you can imagine just what kind of fish this is. It’s among the most powerful and palatable fish caught in Tampa Bay.

Anglers often go after the mahi mahi because it makes them feel like they’ve earned their meal. Besides that, mahi mahi looks great, too, so it’s perfect for photographs and remembrances.

Mahi mahi season peaks in July and lowers from September to December and January to May, but no closed season exists. On average, these fish weigh 10 to 20 and 30 to 60 pounds in Tampa.

Redfish

Redfish fishing suits anglers of all levels since the resistance they offer isn’t overwhelming. It’s also perfect for anyone who wishes to fish without bagging the fish.

This fish tends to get big, so it’s a good creature to come after if you’re aiming to gain an unforgettable memory. The heaviest redfish caught in Florida was 52 pounds, and the average redfish in Tampa weighs 10 to 12 to 30 pounds.

Redfish starts spawning in Tampa Bay from mid-August to early fall.

Shark

Florida’s warm waters are full of sharks. Hence, Tampa bay is brimming with sharks as well. These include Tiger, Spinner, Black Nose, Hammerhead, Bonnethead, Bull, Lemon, Blacktip, and Nurse Sharks.

The best time to fish for sharks in Tampa is from May to August. However, there’s really no closed season for catching sharks in Florida as long as you’re mindful of the restrictions in place regarding certain subspecies.

Snapper

Snappers are aplenty in Tampa Bay. Most anglers choose to fish snappers since most sessions are usually relaxing. They’re quite predictable and offer little resistance, so they’re suitable for anyone who wants a pleasant, stress-free fishing trip.

Mangrove snappers are the most sought-out snappers in Tampa. These fish are 1 to 2 pounds on average with a length of 10 to 14 inches.

Snook

Snook is among Tampa Bay’s finest game fish. Fishing enthusiasts from all over the world are drawn to snook because they put up a great fight.

Tampa’s snook can be as massive as 50 pounds and as long as 48 inches. They’re fast, powerful, and run for shelter as soon as they’re hooked.

In Florida, snook fishing is closed from May to August and resumes in September. There’s also a catch-and-release order for these fish at present.

Seatrout

Seatrouts love shallow waters, so it’s not a surprise that it’s one of the most popular fish caught in Tampa Bay. Moreover, they’re quite famous among anglers due to their predictability.

Seatrout peak season in Florida starts in June and ends in August, but they start spawning in March up until November. They live and die in the bay they’ve been born in, and they grow to 8 to 9 inches on average with 39 inches as the tallest.

Tarpon

Tarpon is among the finest game fish caught in Tampa. They’re known to be mighty acrobats; jumping for up to 10 feet from the ocean when hooked. Hence, they have the power, size, and flexibility to challenge anglers.

The average tarpon weighs around 25 to 80 pounds in Florida, with the heaviest recorded at 243 pounds. May to July is tarpon peak season, but February is the start of tarpon’s spawning season.

Why Fishing Charters are Important

Fishing Charters, such as Tampa Bay Florida Fishing Charters, ensure that your fishing session results in great success.

They’ll guide you with the best practices when it comes to catching the type of fish you wish. You’ll always be accompanied by a local and experienced fishing escort when you hire a fishing charter.

Likewise, most fishing charters also provide you with the best fishing gear. You don’t have to worry about renting a boat, buying some equipment, or searching for baits.

More importantly, you’ll be able to focus on enjoying yourself during the trip. This way, you’re more likely to have an amazing adventure that’ll last you a lifetime.

Check out Florida’s official fishing regulations if you want to see the rules for each fish. You can learn more about obtaining a fishing license here, but most charters already provide them as a package.

Similarly, feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We’ll be more than happy to help our fellow fishing enthusiasts.

Catching Amberjack in Tampa, Florida
Catching Black Drum in Tampa, Florida
Catching Cobia in Tampa, Florida
Catching Redfish in Tampa, Florida
Catch Redfish in Florida
Catching Grouper in Tampa, Florida
Catching Snook in Tampa, Florida

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