Best Fishing Spots in Tampa, FL

best fishing spots in tampa, fl

If you think that Tampa Bay, Florida, is a hotspot for fishing based on being surrounded by water, you would be right. Whether you’re looking for fish of the freshwater or saltwater variety, they can be found in the Tampa Bay area. Here are the best fishing spots in Tampa, Florida.

Bean Point

Image via Flickr by Barbara Eckstein | CC 2.0

Extending north of Bean Point, you’ll find a long shallow bar that holds plentiful snook in the summertime as well as tarpon and permit. If you head into the deeper water off of Bean Point, you’ll find excellent fishing for many different species, including tarpon, pompano, ladyfish, and Spanish mackerel. Target breaking fish on the surface or troll through the area while bobbing jigs along the bottom. The inside of the point and the Anna Maria Sound will hold redfish, speckled trout, and snook.

If you don’t have a boat, worry not, as two fishing piers are found on Anna Maria Island near Bean Point. These piers rank among the best in the area, with Spanish mackerel runs almost mythical. You can target bottom fish like snapper and sheepshead in the cooler months. If you are looking for huge snook, they can also be found under these piers.

The Bulkhead

A fabled hotspot located in South Tampa Bay, Florida, the Bulkhead is a shallow sandbar that stretches between the mouth of the Manatee River and Anna Maria Sound. The Bulkhead is an excellent fishery for nearly every species found in the Tampa Bay Area.  Thanks to clean saltwater flowing in from the Gulf of Mexico and a nice mixture of grass and sand, you can even load up on bait here.

Head to the edges of drop offs and deeper grass flats to find game fish, such as mackerel, speckled trout, jacks, pompano, cobia, ladyfish, and bluefish. Slowly drift these places with jigs or live bait. Redfish and snook can be found to the east in the shallow flats, especially during a low incoming tide.

Emerson Point

Emerson Point point lies between the mouth of Terra Ceia Bay and the mouth of the Manatee River and features a superb place to wade or launch your kayak or canoe. For the best fishing, focus your attention off the point into Tampa Bay to the east and north, and you’ll find shallow grass with potholes sprinkled throughout holding jacks, redfish, speckled trout, and snook. Use soft plastic baits and weedless spoons in the shallow water for best results. Topwater plugs may also be productive.

Another technique that works is to chum with live bait along the potholes or deeper water with a mangrove shoreline, primarily in the summer months. A short time chumming will let you know if there are fish there.

Manatee River

Excellent fishing can be found on the Manatee River from the dam at Lake Manatee all the way down to the mouth of the bay at Snead Island. Vast shallow flats will produce snook and redfish. Artificial structures like bridges and docks create good fishing for most Tampa Bay fish species. You can find lots of snook, even trophy-sized ones on occasion. Other fish found here include drum, flounder, trout, jacks, snapper, and redfish.

Live shrimp on a jig head will work wonders here, and shallow diving plugs can also get good results. For winter fishing, hit the length between the I75 bridge and Fort Hamer to catch jack crevalle and snook, heading for warmer waters.

Terra Ceia Bay

Terra Ceia Bay is a small estuary that provides good fishing opportunities, especially for those with boats, although the SR 19 bridge offers some access for waders and kayakers. Focus on the north and west parts of the bay with sprawling shallow flats with small islands and mangrove shorelines peppered throughout the bay. If you prefer artificial lures, hit the shallow, grassy bottoms with soft plastic lures on weedless swimbait hooks or weedless spoons. Topwater plugs can work as well, particularly at high tide.

Live shrimp hanging from a popping cork in the deeper grass flats or chumming with live bait will work well. Speckled trout hang out in the grass in the 4-foot to 6-foot range, while redfish and snook tend to gravitate towards the potholes, bars, and mangrove shorelines.

Fort Desoto State Park

A large area that encompasses almost every possible fishing environment, Fort Desoto Park, is one of the most distinctive fishing areas in the whole state. Redfish and snook are found aplenty in the large backwater areas, most of which do not allow gas motors, so the pressure and disturbances are far less. Use your favorite shallow baits and lures here.

Two accessible piers are also available here. The pier on the gulf side has open water with stronger currents to fish this with heavy tackle for king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and even sharks. The pier on the bayside is a lovely sheltered spot good for families to try their luck at trout, redfish, and snook. Tarpon can be found along the big shallow bar just off the park in the summer.

Egmont Key

Smack dab in the center of the mouth of Tampa Bay, Florida, sits Egmont Key. You can find good tarpon fishing to the west of the key in the flats in the summer. Meanwhile, the deeper drop-offs and edges house Spanish and king mackerel and grouper and snapper. An artificial reef is in about 10 feet of water near the drop-off into the main channel, east of Egmont key. You will primarily find mangrove snapper within this structure. You can find other fish here seasonally, including sheepshead and grouper in the winter and Spanish mackerel in the fall and spring.The MAXIM Hair Restoration team in Florida hopes that our list of best fishing spots in Tamp, Florida gets you started on your way to reeling them in. If you think we missed one, give us a call at 802-370-3227 or fill out our convenient online contact us form. We’d love an excuse to get back out on the water.