Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg/Clearwater Trout Fishing
Charter fishing for sea-trout in St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay with Captain Wade Osborne is very productive year-round. However, Afishionado Guide Services centers its charter fishing on the St. Joseph Sound area just north of Clearwater and fishes there exclusively from December through February each year. St. Joseph Sound has the best winter sea-trout fishery in the state due to an inshore net ban that was put into effect in 1995.
During Florida’s cooler months, sea-trout converge in these vast deep grass flats for their pre-spawn ritual. This time of year if you’re looking for shear numbers of fish, sea-trout is the name of the game. Two-pound fish are common and four to six pound sea-trout frequently called “yellow-mouths” are caught regularly.
Drift fishing is often the most productive. By drifting lush grass flats, while working a jig or fly, it’s easy to locate schools of sea-trout. Once located, circling the area repeatedly can yield 60-100 fish an outing just by using artificial baits. Another method is to anchor around spoil islands and use live shrimp or scaled sardines. This usually produces catches of the largest sea-trout.
During the rest of the year, Afishionado Guide Services fishes deep grass flats and grass patches that line the passes along St. Petersburg’s coast. As the bay’s waters warm, sea-trout move into areas with a good tidal flow to stay cool and ambush bait-fish. Scaled sardines and small pinfish become the live bait of choice; however flies and lures still catch plenty of fish.
Sea-trout charter fishing stays consistent year-round and is a great species to introduce children to. While not requiring a long cast and with the constant action these fish provide, young anglers develop a passion for the sport right away.
Spotted Sea-trout: Trout
Bag Limit: Four fish per person, per day.
Slot Size: 15 to 20 inches, one fish may be over 20 inches.