Tampa Bay Redfish Charter

RED OCTOBER!

Tampa Bay Redfish Charter

Tampa/St. Petersburg Redfish Charter

As far as I’m concerned, the only good thing about 2020: Fall is finally here.

October is by far, one of the best months of the year to catch redfish. That’s why I, and I’m sure a few others refer to this month as Red October. Its redfish spawning season and there’s always a possibility of running into an acre or more of spawning bull redfish. If you’ve never experienced this phenomenon, it’s a sight to be seen. The water actually turns red, and a large school can be spotted a hundred yards away.

These fish mostly stay in deep water, but I have encounter them on a few grass flats in the mid-sections of Tampa Bay. Schools of 300-plus are common. The most I’ve ever caught on one charter was 96 in five hours. Had I stayed longer I would have easily caught over 100.

The snook fishing also picks up in October. Last month the snook fishing was the slowest of the year due to extremely warm water temperatures. On some of the local grass flats, it exceeded 90 degrees.

A couple of fish that will remain active this month will be mangrove snapper and Spanish mackerel. Both species can be caught around bridges, artificial reefs and wrecks.

Usually, I get too busy to write fishing reports as often as I’d like, so, if you’re interested in seeing my most recent post, please like my, Facebook Page to receive updates. For charter reservations call/text Wade at 813-286-3474.

“Stay fishy my friends!”

Mangrove Snapper Fish Box,

The Fishing is Sizzling.

Mangrove Snapper Fish Box,

Fish box full of mangrove snapper

Jerry Reed said it best, “When you’re hot, you’re hot.” Right now, the fishing cannot get any hotter than aboard Afishionado.

The mangrove snapper fishing is outstanding right now. It seems they were a little slow to spawn this year, but the bite started picking up around Independence Day and it has been gangbusters ever since. Every year it seems the mangrove snapper fishing is getting better and better. You can literally catch them just about anywhere.

The snook fishing has been non-stop and will continue to be so the rest of the summer. Snook are stacked up just about everywhere it seems. Many days, my clients are catching snook for hours on end.

Fishing for redfish is always hot in July. The best places to locate schools of redfish are around oyster beds and the optimal time is during a high tide.

Whether I’m after large snook or redfish one of the best baits of choice when the water temperature is in the 90’s, is fresh cut bait. It could be pinfish, large scaled sardines, ladyfish or my favorite, threadfin herring. I like to cut up a pretty sizable chunk, stick it on a 2/0 or 3/0-size hook, cast one off each side of the stern of the boat and place the rod in a rod holder. Meanwhile, as anglers are fishing with live bait up front, I listen for screaming drag in the rear. By the time a client places their rod in a rod holder up front and go to the back of the boat to grab the doubled over rod, they have a solid hookup.

If you own a smoker and like fish dip and crackers, there are plenty of big Spanish mackerel out there to take home. Spanish mackerel are all over the place. I’m catching them in my cast net while catching bait, while on the flats snook fishing, around range markers, on artificial reefs and while anchored at bridges.

When I target mackerel, I always like the start a fresh cut bait chum slick. At the same time, I’m squeezing handfuls and live bait and tossing them overboard. I also use a long shank 1/0 hook to help prevent cutoffs from their razor-sharp teeth. Another thing I do to help prevent cutoffs is loosen the drag on the reels.

I can’t tell you how many people have the misconception that Spanish mackerel are only to be eaten if you are, “Naked and Afraid.” That’s simply not the case. Once mackerel are on board, I ice them down immediately. After they are filleted, just keep them on ice until cooked within a couple of days. I don’t recommend freezing Spanish mackerel fillets, because once they thaw out they turn to mush. However, if you smoke them first, you can freeze all you want. Then once thawed, you’re ready to make fish dip with your favorite recipe.

Stay fishy my friends!

Usually, I get too busy to write fishing reports as often as I’d like, so, if you’re interested in seeing my most recent post, please like my, Facebook Page to receive updates. For charter reservations call/text Wade at 813-286-3474.

 

Time For The Big Ones!

It’s primetime for tarpon. The most exciting way to target tarpon is to cruise along the beach during the early morning hours and wait to see tarpon rolling. When tarpon break the surface, their shimmering backs can be seen from hundreds of yards away. After spotting some fish, I’ll sit tight for a few minutes and determine which direction they’re headed. Then, I’ll slowly position my boat so they’ll past within casting distance. As they do, my client times their cast appropriately so the bait sinks into the strike zone as the tarpon approaches. When the initial hit is felt, they reel up tight and pull back hard on the rod a few times to ensure a solid hook set.

Snook began to spawn heavily this month. I like fishing for snook during a strong tidal flow, because this is when snook feed best. This is especially true when this period occurs near sunrise or sunset.

Redfish are prowling most of the grass flats in upper Tampa Bay. I like fishing for redfish during tides higher than a 2.0 and the last couple of hours of the incoming and outgoing of that tide period.

I always chum with live scaled sardines to lure redfish to the hook, but did you know this also works well with fresh cut-bait? Ladyfish, mullet, threadfins, sardines and pinfish all make for great cut-bait. Sometimes, I’ll broadcast chunks of cut-bait around the boat to draw in the fish and attach another piece to your hook and cast it out and let it sit on the bottom. Then I’ll put the rod in a rod holder and wait for a redfish to pick it up and start peeling line off the reel. Many times, I get a bonus by catching an occasional snook or trout using this method.

Another fish to target right now is cobia. You’ll likely encounter cobia on any the deep-water grass flat. While cruising the flats, I constantly an eye out for large stingrays. Cobia like to travel with rays, so they can ambush any baitfish a ray might kick up. Equally important is being ready to pounce with a rod in hand. My favorite bait for cobia is a fake eel, but pinfish suspended under a cork is a good choice.

Spanish mackerel are plentiful for any angler looking for fillets to load up the smoker for making some fish spread. The most efficient method for catching Spanish mackerel is to anchor near a bridge, pass, channel mark or underwater structure, start a chum-slick and free-line a scaled sardine on a long shank hook.

Usually, I get too busy to write fishing reports as often as I’d like, so, if you’re interested in seeing my most recent post, please like my , Facebook Page to receive updates. For charter reservations call/text Wade at 813-286-3474.

Winter Solstice and Fishing

Today is the first day of winter and the shortest day of sunlight during the year.

The fishing lately or should I say, catching, has been up and down just like the weather. It’s 80 degrees in Tampa today and we’ve experienced above normal temperatures most of the month. A strong cold front passed through a couple of weeks ago, which brought the fishing to a crawl, but since then, the bite is back.

Winter provides a little something for every angler.

I’m catching snook, redfish and trout in deep-water areas adjacent to bay area grass flats and sheepshead around residential docks and pilings. And then there’s the power plant outflow.

Power plant outflows are an excellent fishing source on the coldest days of winter. When Tampa Bay water temperatures drop into the upper 50s, fish seek refuge in the warm-water outflows of power plants. The best part there’s a large varity of species that flock to the outflow. The most abundant of them are sharks. But, there’s also cobia, pompano, permit, mangrove snapper and jack crevalle.

Just like the fish I seek to catch, the bait, move into deeper waters for warmth as well. Most three and four post range markers will hold bait during the winter. Bridge pilings hold bait also. Catching bait around these deep-water structures can be challenging at times.

Most days, I’m fishing with scaled sardines; some days, shrimp. It all depends on availability.

Many times, I get too busy to write fishing reports as often as I would like. So, if you’re interested in seeing my most recent post, please like my Facebook Page to receive updates. For charter reservations call/text Wade at 813-286-3474.

Redfish Charter Fishing Tampa

Irma hit Florida Hard

Irma hit Florida hard, but she can’t keep us down!

Redfish Charter Fishing Tampa

Hues of red begin to color the water during the fall as schools of redfish crisscross many of the grass flats in Tampa Bay

Many Floridians suffered substantial damage and lost income during the passing of Hurricane Irma. Among those the hardest hit were full-time fishing guides in south Florida and the Keys. For some, it may take years to recover and this comes just as tourist usually began visit some of these areas.

With this I mind, now more than ever, when hiring a fishing guide, make sure they are a full-time guide. Over the past few years, there’s been an influx fishing charter booking agencies and part-timers that are frankly, devaluing the industry. I can guarantee you, full-timers like me are going to work harder for your hard-earned money and provide a superior fishing experience.

I’ve made my living as a full-time professional fishing guide for over 20 years. My business success has largely been due to referrals and repeat clientele. That only happens by offering excellent customer service and a great time on the water.

Fortunately, I only had to cancel or reschedule some trips due to Irma, so I’ll be fine. Charter captains further south, not so much. So, if you’re heading south to do some fishing in the next six months or so, hire a full-time guide. His or her livelihood depends on it.

Now, how about a fishing update!

Hues of red begin to color the water during the fall as schools of redfish crisscross many of the grass flats in Tampa Bay. The optimum time to catch these big bull reds is around a good high tide with a strong incoming or outgoing flow. I like to find a secluded spot along the mangroves or an oyster bed and get busy chumming. I chum heavily with live scaled sardines using a chum bait to get the redfish balled up by the boat and many times, catch fish for hours on end.

Shorter days and cooler nights have the water temperatures dropping into the middle to upper 70’s. This change in the season really tantalizes a snook’s appetite. Mangrove shoreline points, oyster beds and creek or river entrances are all holding fish.

I’m preparing kingfish rigs right now. Next mouth, I expect to find king mackerel just offshore as they begin in make their fall migration south to the keys. The annual fall run traditionally begins around Columbus Day.

Who knows, at the rate things are going politically, next fall the kingfish may arrive around Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

Many times, I get too busy to write fishing reports as often as I would like. So, if you’re interested in seeing my most recent post, please like me on Facebook to receive Afishionado updates. For charter reservations call Wade at 813-286-3474.

 

 

Wade is the hardest working fishing guide on Tampa Bay!

We have been out with him several times.  He arrives at the ramp with the bait well FULL! Wade does not waste the clients time finding bait like many other guides. He is up early and is loaded down with bait and ready to go from the second you step on his boat!

His boat is another thing worth mentioning too. Wade fishes out of a 24 Sheaffer, in my opinion the best custom bay boat money can buy! The boat is pleasure to fish out of for several anglers. HUGE bow and cockpit too with an excellent solid dry ride. Most other guides do not invest in a top shelf boat like a Sheaffer!

As to the fishing we have had AMAZING days with Wade! He works harder to catch you fish than any other guide I have fished with period! One example: On one of our last trips with Wade, we caught 110 snook & 30 reds! That was three anglers and we were going crazy hauling the fish in ALL DAY!

Patrick Barnett, Tampa, FL
May 23, 2017