Tampa Flats Fishing

When it comes to flats fishing in Florida, it involves a culture unlike any other. Sight fisherman on both fly and light tackle have built a community here that dwarfs that of any other state. When it comes to flats fishing in Florida, you would be looking for fishing what equates to shallow water estuaries. The largest shallow water estuary in the state is located in Tampa Bay. 

I think there are 4 fish that appeal to the entire shallow water culture of fisherman. These are redfish, sea trout, snook, and tarpon. Though not all four are available in every part of the state, some combination of them are. Tampa Bay is one of the few areas that is home to all four. This attracts anglers from all over for Tampa flats fishing specifically and keeps resident anglers lifelong residents of this epic fishery.

Flats fishing in Tampa goes beyond the big 4 listed above You can have shots at flounder, snapper, grouper, cobia, spanish macks, and many others while fishing these inshore waters. I think a common bond is found in the big 4 though, and when the sight appears of any of them, your heart begins to pump.

These include:

Watching a redfish push its way into a shallow water flat

Seeing a snook ambush bait in the roots of the mangroves

Witnessing gator trout explode at the surface of a bait pod over the grass flats

When the Tarpon come rolling across the shallows


Tampa Bay is also fed by many creeks and rivers that create micro environments that appeal to species such as snook, tarpon, and redfish where brackish water is a second home for them. This also allows for a diverse baitfish population that keeps the fishery active all year long.

When choosing a fishing guide you definitely want one that spends his days in these shallow waters and is a homegrown resident. These guys are almost magicians of the flats and Tampa Bay is home to many of the best.


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