Tampa Bay February Fishing Report
Well finally it seems like winter has left. I hope I didn't say that too soon but it's been a long winter as far as Florida is concerned. Not a real cold winter, but colder average temperatures. Watching the satellite images from across the north it seems like the worst winter conditions are staying above us and cold fronts are stalling to the north. I guess that's what makes Florida special while the rest of the country is freezing. We have lots of 65 to 70 degree sunny days. I guess that's why I have the opportunity to be a full time charter captain most of the year. Although skiing, sledding, and snow machining are a lot of fun too.
Well enough babbling. How the fishing's doing is what you are really here for. The water is starting to warm up quickly with the longer days, more sunlight and warmer nights make the trend inevitable. Patterns are starting to change around here and spring fishing is approaching quickly. The water temps are up over 65 and Greenback Shiners, our favorite bait, is starting to move back into the area as they always do this time of year.
Tampa Bay and Sarasota Bay have a lot of Redfish in them. Actually more than I have seen in many years for this time of year. It seems like I can get in my tower and buzz the flats and find a different school around every bend. I think the stocking program is really taking effect and I think this year we will see a dramatic change for the better in an already strong Red fishery. Lately we have been having some good days on them with as many as 25 a day. These are a lot nicer fish than we were catching during the last few cooler months. Most of the fish are keeper size in the 22 to 33 inch range with a few shorts mixed in. As the water continues to warm over the next few weeks it will get a lot better.
We are gearing up for one awesome Trout season. Since Trout season opened we have been killing them on shrimp and jigs. With the water warming the schools of Greenbacks, our favorite bait for giant Trout, start moving in. I have just started getting a few Greenbacks this week and the pay off has been big with some monster Trout over 25 inches. The big Trout will just get better from here on.
This past week Trout and Redfish have been the main target and bulk of the catch. As the month progresses we will start to pick up a few Snook as well. The Sheepshead, Black Drum, and Flounder are still around and easy to catch. Pompano should start showing up thick soon.
I am really looking forward to the rest of February and March. Last year we crushed the giant Redfish in March, April and May. I think it may be even better this year.
I have a few spring dates available for anyone that's interested. I have a few Tarpon days thru the peak season, May thru July, so it's time to get your plans together if you want to battle Tarpon.
I hope everyone enjoyed the Tamp Bay fishing report, as always enjoy your time on the water.
About The Author: Captain Matt Ercoli
Company: Florida Sport Fishing Outfitters
Area Reporting: Tampa Bay to Sarasota Florida
Bio: Capt. Matt Ercoli is a premier Florida Gulf coast fishing guide and 1999 Saltwater Flats National Champion. He has assisted clients to five IGFA world records. Capt. Matt's experience and knowledge of local waters assures a successful day of fishing. Whether you prefer light tackle fishing or you're a fly-fishing purist, Capt. Matt can accommodate you. Fishing possibilities include the clear saltwater flats and mangrove backcountry from Tampa Bay & St. Petersburg to Sarasota; fishing for tarpon, snook, redfish and trout. If your preference is offshore fishing, there is permit, kingfish, grouper, little tunny, shark and more.