Mike Alstott Family Fishing Tournament

Monday, August 4th, 2008

At midnight Friday, I headed down to the Merry Pier to meet up with a fishing ‘Dream Team’ – Cap’t Dick, Cap’t Brett, Joe, Pat and Rich. We headed due west in the wee hours to fish the Mike Alstott Charity Fishing Tournament. On the way out, we encountered pounding rain, but the winds stayed pretty calm throughout.

A couple of bait stops provided slim pickings, so we continued west, content in the knowledge that we had about a million pounds of frozen bait, along with dozens of pinfish and a few pass crabs. Since this was a tournament, we headed deep, stopping in about 160′ of water. The first drop was slow, so we moved to a nice ledge. BAM! Up came an American Red Snapper. Then another. And another. We kept a few of the larger ones, releasing the rest.

After a few minutes, Rich’s rod bowed over in a serious arc. Fish on! He proceeded to expertly battle a big red grouper to the gaff. It was a nice fish, around 13 pounds. The Brett hooked up on a monster. The brief fight ended with the fish snapping the 80 pound test line. The sun began to rise, the bite slowed, and we moved on.

The rest of the morning was spent in a series of deep water drops, but we just couldn’t get the big fish to bite. We managed some smaller red grouper, along with more ARS and a nice Lane Sanpper. But the big grouper proved elusive. We tried trolling for a while, hoping for a kingfish, wahoo or a blackfin tuna. We did have one nice hit, with Cap’t Dick on the rod as the drag screamed out. Alas, it proved to be just a bonita.

We dropped crabs down on a wreck, looking for permit or cobia. No dice. Even the amberjack shunned our small pinfish. I did manage a kingfish, but it measured a half inch short. On several spots, we had a great showing of fish on the bottom, but the sharks were thick and aggressive, and we lost a fair amount of tackle. Our usual mangrove snapper spots also showed fish, but lockjaw had set in. So, we popped open a beer and headed back for the weigh-in, arriving with just a few minutes to spare.

We didn’t win. We weren’t in the top 3. But, hey we all had a great time, and a cooler full of grouper, Lane, and American Red Snapper. I can honestly say I’m already looking forward to next year’s tournament.

American Red Snapper


Mahi Mahi Fishing Frenzy

Monday, July 14th, 2008

So, Saturday I headed down to Merry Pier bright and early to meet with Nick and get in a little snapper and grouper fishing. Nick’s a great guy, and he was hauling in keeper mangos in no time. But, I had a little change of plans. Seems Joe, the owner of the Getaway, a Tampa Offshore Fishing Charter Boat, had an open seat. I didn’t hesitate. Soon, Joe, along with Cap’t Joe, Cap’t Dick and I were headed out offshore.

First priority was bait, which proved to be a little scarce. We wrangled in some pinfish, snapper sized sardines, blue runners and assorted others. On one of the cans in the Egmont Shipping Channel, we saw a pair of curious cobia, but they were reluctant to bite. So we headed out to a snapper spot. The first catch was a little…. weird. An octopus!

Octopus Fishing

 We headed to deeper water, and in about 80″, we came upon a huge weedline. It was loaded with small bait, so we dropped a planer wih a squid spoon. We caught a couple jacks, then struck gold- Mahi Mahi! We set up next to the weedline, and started chumming. Sure enough, a huge school of dolphin (aka dorado, aka mahi-mahi) soon showed up, and the frenzy was on. Using a variety of live and frozen bait, as well as artificials, we were hauling in tasty schoolies one after another. They weren’t real big, but boy were they fun to catch on light tackle- great runs, and spectacular jumps.  We threw back the smallest, and still managed 28 keepers:

Tampa Mahi Mahi

 The surprise of the trip came after the mahi mahi bite tapered off. We anchored over some bottom, and proceeded to haul up red grouper, gag grouper, scamps and even a nice lane snapper. But Joe had a big hit on a live sardine, and proceeded to pull in a doormat flounder:

Big Florida Flounder

 It was  a great day on the water, with plenty of action, and lots of tasty fillets. If you’re looking for a fantastic fishing adventure, call Joe at the Getaway (727) 367-9693. Tell him you found him through TampaFishing.Net.




Anybody There?

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Fishing was a little slow after the full moon, and the weekend storms didn’t help. So, I figured I’d check the statistics for Tampa Fishing. Do you realize that over the last year, this website has:

  • Over 60,000 Visitors
  • Over 125,000 Page Views

The average visitor spends 3 minutes, 27 seconds on the site. And, tampafishing.net ranks for, and receives search engine traffic, for over 3,500 different search terms.

So, my question is…. who’s there?  It’s free to register. You can leave comments by simply clicking the “Comments” link following each post. So, make your presence known. Ask a question. Leave a fishing report. Share a seafood recipe. Point out a spelling error. Whatever.  Just stop lurking and join TampaFishing.Net!

St. Petersburg Fishing

Monday, May 19th, 2008

In typical May style, the Merry Pier in St. Peterburg is loaded with grouper and mangrove snapper. And they’re highly cooperative. Fishing on Saturday, I managed a limit of snapper, and threw back over a dozen. Gag grouper, ranging from a foot up to 19″, were mixed in. They were hitting live, tail hooked shrimp, small pinfish and mud minnows.

Sunday was more of the same, and I stopped counting after 30 fish. I got slammed a couple of times, but the big grouper made short work of my 20 pound test spiderwire. Interesting, for the third week in a row, I caught ‘the’ tagged grouper again. Same spot, same time, same bait, same technique- and the same fish. I also saw a tagged snapper caught- but the tag was half missing. Poor thing had probably been mobbed by the rest of the school, and they chewed the tag off.

There was a giant sheepshead prowling the pilings, but I couldn’t tempt him into biting. Tarpon continue to roll in the mornings, and there are lots of jacks around- but surprisingly few macks, for some reason. I landed a couple of huge filefish- maybe next time I’ll remember to snap a picture.

Sunday evening’s fish fry consisted of beer battered grouper fillets, and blackeded redfish. I’m cleaning out the freezer, now that the snapper are back in force!