Tampa Fly Fishing
As a Tampa fly fishing guide I consider myself very fortunate. I have access to some of the most productive places to fly fish on the planet. Tampa fly fishing offers the ultimate challenge and the greatest reward in the flats fishing game. It requires stealth and a spot on presentation to the fish. Tampa Bay fly fishing is a world away from the banks of a trout stream. These are big, powerful fish that can humble the most accomplished anglers out there. This is the realm of big fly rods and heavy flies. It’s a place of heart pounding moments watching tailing redfish right in front of you, and tarpon as big as a man punching holes in the sky. It is perfect.
Tampa Bay is a great place to make the transition from freshwater to saltwater fly fishing, or for the avid saltwater fly fisherman to test their skills. We have hordes of redfish roaming the flats of Tampa Bay, vast numbers of tarpon along our beaches and snook back in the mangrove islands. These great fish all readily eat flies year round. Part of the lure of Tampa fly fishing is the variety of species we can fish for year round in Tampa Bay. If you don’t fly fish you can click here to find out more on Tampa fishing charters on light tackle.
Tampa Fly Fishing for Tarpon
I could write a book about fly fishing for tarpon in Tampa.The Tampa Bay area and the Sun Coast of Florida is the BEST place in the world to catch a big tarpon on fly. The reason is the fish here simply eat a fly better than anywhere else. I also guide in the Florida Keys and while we get great numbers of fish in the keys, they do not eat a fly as well as they do here. Our average fish on the Sun Coast is also bigger. Almost all world records for tarpon on fly were set on here on the West Coast of Florida.
Our peak season for fly fishing for tarpon in Tampa Bay is May, June, July, and August. This is the time frame of the push of migratory tarpon. Most of these fish will be in the 80-160 lb range.Some real specimens will be bigger. Our beaches are the perfect place to fly fish for tarpon. While the crowds are using live bait at Boca Grande and Egmont, we find lots of fresh tarpon along our beaches. String after string of silver kings make their way down our beaches. The water is crystal clear and the sight of a tarpon eating your fly will make your heart stop. Fly fishing for tarpon does not require super long cast either. An accurate 40 foot cast will catch tarpon here in Tampa Bay.
We have resident tarpon available from April through October in the Tampa Bay area. These fish average between 20-60 lbs and eat flies extremely well. The locations of these fish I keep close to the vest. As an avid fly tier I spend long hours developing and testing new fly patterns for Tampa Bay tarpon. I have also spent a lot of time locating the spots where these resident tarpon lay up during the warm parts of the year. I will bring this experience and knowledge to make the most of your Tampa Fly Fishing for Tarpon charter.
Tampa Fly Fishing Techniques For Tarpon
There are two schools of thought when it comes to fly fishing for tarpon in the Tampa Bay area. The first method I will discuss is the stakeout method. When targeting tarpon this way I position the boat in places where I know the tarpon travel. Tarpon have favorite routes they like to use along the Gulf beaches as well as inside Tampa Bay proper. This method has the advantage of seeing the fish coming for a long way, and giving you time to prepare for the shot. This is usually the best tactic for those new to saltwater fly fishing.
Poling the skiff in search of tarpon is the other method. I will actively pole a flat or series of flats looking for tarpon cruising or rolling. The advantage here is you will sometimes find tarpon you otherwise wouldn’t have seen. It also tends to be more interesting and keeps you focused. The downside to hunting for tarpon while poling is shots develop quickly. The boat is moving, the fish are moving, and everything develops at a good clip. This is where being a good caster comes in handy. You need to be able to present the fly quickly in this case.
Tampa Fly Fishing Guide
If you are interested in Tampa fly fishing, I am the guide for you. No one loves it more. I eat, sleep and breathe fly fishing. When I go fishing by myself or with friends, you will find a fly rod in my hands. I can share my passion, enthusiasm, and knowledge with you on Tampa Bay fly fishing. If you are new to saltwater fly fishing, practice your casting before your trip. Learning to double haul will improve your chances of success on the flats more than anything. It minimizes false cast and cuts through the wind. In most areas you can book a lesson with a casting instructor and polish up your cast. I have a series of youtube videos that also explains some important casting concepts that I will be happy to share with you as well. Feel free to contact me with any questions about Tampa fly fishing.
Tampa Fly Fishing Seasons
Spring Fly Fishing In Tampa Bay
(March – May) Tampa fly fishing in the spring is outstanding. As water temperatures climb the fish really start to get active. Our backcountry tarpon are a great option as soon as the water reaches 70 degrees. I target them in secret spots around Tampa Bay as well as West Florida. These fish are happy and eat flies in a big way. The redfish are also starting to work the open flats so Tampa fly fishing for redfish begins to heat up. The snook will also start moving and the mangrove action is stellar. By April the first of the migratory tarpon begin to show up in Tampa Bay and on the beaches and it’s game on!
Tampa Fly Fishing In The Summer
( June – August ) This is primetime in West Florida anTampa Fly Fishing In The Summerd Tampa Bay. The fly fishing for tarpon is some of the best in the world. In June there are days when 5000 or more tarpon will come by the boat. For this reason I almost always suggest tarpon as the primary target during the summer. The snook fishing is also good. A night time dock light fishing trip is a great way to beat the heat.
Fall Fly Fishing In Tampa Bay
( Sept. – Nov. ) Fall is a special time of year for Tampa Bay fly fishing. As the water temperatures cool the fish feed hard all day in preparation for winter. This is the best snook fishing of the year as they pour into the back country from the open bay. The tarpon fishing is still very good as they begin to move into area rivers. Redfish also begin to school, and the largest fish of the year are caught in the fall. As far as Tampa fly fishing goes, this is prime time.
Tampa Fly Fishing In The Winter
( Dec. – Feb. ) Fly fishing in the winter we transition into seatrout and redfish. Tampa Bay gets negative low tides in the winter and redfish will belly crawl in mere inches of water. The water is gin clear and this makes for incredible sight fishing. We target large gator seatrout in potholes on sunny afternoons. Tarpon fishing is still an options on warmer days in certain spots.
There is great fly fishing opportunities year round in the Tampa Bay area. If you are planning to fish the annual tarpon migration please book in advance as these dates go quickly.