When cooler temperatures arrive in Florida, new seasonal fish species swim into Tampa Bay to breed and feed around the area’s estuaries, islands and shorelines. TAMPA Magazine dropped anchor with local fishing expert Parker Rabow, founder of Fantasy Fishing Camp, to get tips on how to catch a tasty dinner.
“In the wintertime it’s great because you don’t have to fish so early in the morning,” Rabow says. “In the summertime it’s so hot that usually the best time to go fishing is early in the morning. In the wintertime, it’s the opposite, the best fishing might be a couple hours into the day.”
Rabow says local anglers usually break the bay into three sections based on terrain and fish: Upper Bay (Howard Franklin Bridge and northward), Middle Bay (Howard Franklin Bridge to the St. Pete Pier) and Lower Bay (Little Manatee River to the Sunshine Skyway).
“Inside Tampa Bay, shallow water is considered ‘inshore fishing’ – it doesn’t matter that you’re on land,” while nearshore is slightly away from the coastline, Rabow said. “The place most people go to fish redfish and trout is around the Middle Bay, like all over the Gandy Bridge area.”
Florida Fantasy Fishing Camp
Director: Parker Rabow
Address: 4911 Bay Way Dr., Tampa, FL 33629