Tampa Offshore Fishing Report

Tampa Offshore Fishing TripJune 17, 2007- I ventured offshore yesterday aboard the Getaway with friends Matt, his father Tom (Happy Fathers Day!) and Cap’t Dick. We departed the Merry Pier in Pass-A-Grille at 7:30, and headed west.

Conditions were ideal- a light breeze and scattered cloud cover, just enough to keep it from getting too hot. The first stop for bait at the PassAGrille marker proved futile, so we headed out the Egmont Channel, stopping at the Whistler Bouy. Got a few baits with the sabiki rigs, when the Mate hollers- something big and fast had grabbed his blue runner boatside. Switching gears, the sabiki rigs were hauled in, and the heavy tackle was hauled out. A live pinfish was irresistable to the big cobia that had been lurking in the shadows of the bouy. The fight was on!

Hooked Up!After 15 minutes of head shakes, bulldog runs, and deep soundings, the cobia was gaffed and in the cooler. A nice healthy 30 pounder. Not bad for a bait stop. Another stop at the end of the ditch produced good bait, and a cuda hookup.

We made a run out to a ‘secret spot’ about thirty miles out. Well, the That's a BIG AJ!secret was out, as four other boats worked the wreck. They were pulling up schoolie amberjacks in the 5-10 pound range. Captain James on the GetAway had other ideas, and we drifted away from the pack, fishing deep to hook up the larger fish. We caught and released 3 nice fish, but Matt landed the fish of the day- a 40 pound amberjack, a real brute.

We made a run to a snapper spot in 105 feet, and the fish finder gave a great show, but nothing was biting. After 15 minutes of soaking baits, I had a massive hit on my pinfish. I was thinking ‘big grouper!’, but it was soon apparent that I’d hooked another amberjack. This one went around 30, and joined Matt’s fish in the box.

bearded-guy-starboard.jpgThe final stop was in 150′, about 43 miles offshore. We fired down some baits, and Dick’s rod immediately doubled over. After the ensuing battle, a beautiful 15 pound red grouper found her way into the cooler. She was soon joined by 3 others, so we limited out on reds. Matt brought up a small American Red Snapper, and Dick released a small shark, just to add some variety.

It was an altogether excellent day on the water- beautiful weather, good friend, a professional Captain and Mate, and lots of big fish. I’ll get some photos uploaded in the next day or so. I’m looking forward to getting out on the GetAway again soon.

Fresh Fish for Dinner! Headed Home

5 Responses to “Tampa Offshore Fishing Report”

  1. JoeFab Says:

    Great site!!! I am comming down for a little vacation July 8th – 11th. Looking to do some pier fishing and it appears that Merry Pier is the closest to my hotel. Looking for some advice. Tackle used? Bait? Time of day? What kind of fish should I expect to see. Any advice you can pass along would be greatly appreciated!

    Also, is there a bait/tackle shop nearby that rents equipment or should I plan on bringing my own?

  2. Steve Says:


    C’mon down! Fishing should be great in early July. Might be a little warm, though. FYI, the shop at Merry Pier both rents and sells tackle, and usually stocks plenty of bait. ‘Course, it never hurts to bring yours down if it’s decent.

    As far as advice- well, you’l have lots of options. Guess it depends what you’re in the mood for:

    -Fish the Merry Pier for snapper, grouper, snook, and whatever else happens by. Pretty low stress, and you’re bound to get something.

    -Go out on Miss Pass-A-Grille (the headboat at the Merry Pier). It’s about $45 for a half day- you’ll get small but tasty fish.

    -Charter the Get-A-Way. It’s not cheap (around $900 for a full day), but if you split it up it’s not bad. They can carry 6, but 3-4 is ideal. Weather and conditions dictate what you’ll fish for, but these guys are very professional, and you may get some REALLY serious fish.

    -Try the Pass-A-Grille Jetty. It’s only a few blocks from the Merry Pier, but you’ll often find that the fishing is completely different.

    Other options include fishing the skyway (a good grouper, tarpon and shark spot in July); the Ft. Desoto Pier (really nice park); fishing Blind Pass (you’ll be next to Woody’s for great food and drinks)’ or hitting the beach at sunrise for snook in the trough.

    Hollar at me right before you head down- I may join you!


  3. JoeFab Says:

    Thanks!!!! I will give you a hollar!

  4. RWS Says:

    Sounds like one of those memorable days that makes it all worthwhile.

    Looking forward to the pictures.


  5. Jenelle Furton Says:

    I recently purchased a humminbird fish finder and I cant wait to get out and land a hawg with it. I believe lowrance are probably the most affordably priced but humminbird is one of the best for high quality hands down.