Wreck fishing in Tampa Bay

Wreck fishing in Tampa Bay

Wreck fishing in Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay is a premier fishing destination when targeting multiple species right inside the bay. With plenty of towers markers and spoil islands there is more than enough places for fish to hide. These areas hold plenty of structure oriented fish  and make for some great fishing during the summer months. You can expect to have some great action packed Tampa fishing charters when you venture out into the bay. You will catch some of the most sought after fish in the Gulf of Mexico right inside the bay. Wreck fishing in Tampa Bay is a  hidden jewel.


What bait to use when wreck fishing?

Bait is always the first chore on any Tampa fishing trip. When bay fishing I like to have plenty of live pinfish and Greenbacks. I also like to have a bunch of dead greenbacks or even better Threadfin Hearing. We use a lot of dead bait so the morning bait run can be somewhat time consuming but worth the extra time needed.  We catch our bait while on the Tampa flats fishing just about year round. When its cold bait moves deep. In the summer bait has its hatch and typically is all over the flats. Our net of choice would be the Barracuda 12 foot 3/8 or 1/4 inch mesh depending on the bait size. Toss a little chum and you will be pulling in hundreds of bait and ready to go fishing.

Types of fish you will catch while wreck fishing?

As mentioned above Tampa Bay is filled with artificial reefs and wrecks from one end to the other. These wrecks are loaded with all types of structure and fish are not far behind. Fishing the wrecks,reefs, and ledges inside Tampa Bay will make your next Tampa fishing charters an epic day. One any given day we can catch Grouper,Snapper, Flounder, Sharks, Tarpon and Cobia just to name a few. Most of the time we can do this all in the same spot. Tampa Bay is a truly amazing fishery.

What type of tackle we will be using while fishing wrecks in Tampa Bay?

Tackle, techniques and tips are the last important part to fishing wrecks inside Tampa Bay. When fishing wrecks you want to have a variety of rods from a light tackle inshore rod for the Mangrove Snapper and Triple Tail, to the big heavy spinning gear for the bigger gamefish like Tarpon,Goliath Grouper,Gag Grouper and Sharks. Both of my preferred rods and reel combos are the Tsunami Evit 3000 size for light tackle and the 400 to 5000 for the heavier gear. Match this with the medium 8 foot action Tsunami Carbon rod for the lighter rig and the Extra Heavy spinning rod for the heavier stuff and you are ready for some great fishing in Tampa Bay. Check out the entire Tsunami line up.


Another great tip to help catch fish on these wrecks would be to have a good sonar with side imagining. This will help you find structure and actually see what type of structure is down there. I love the Lowrance Live units or you can’t go wrong with the Simrad GO12. Both offer a variety of features that will help you catch more fish. Check out some of the latest products at Navico


For more information on booking a fishing charter in Tampa Bay with me go straight to my website

Mangrove Snapper Fishing In Tampa Bay

Mangrove Snapper Fishing In Tampa Bay

 Mangrove Snapper Fishing In Tampa Bay


Mangrove Snapper Fishing In Tampa Bay. The bay area one of the most versatile places I have ever fished. An average day inside the wide bay can consist of Snook, Reds and Trout in backcountry.

Grouper, Mackerel, Cobia and Sharks in the bay, and plenty of Tarpon roaming the outer flats throughout the summer. One species that really makes for some great summer fishing in one of the most overlooked species. That would have to be Mangrove Snapper.

The make up of Snapper

Mangroves are more known as a offshore species. Most don’t know that schools of Snapper that exist in the bay. Mangrove Snapper move into the bay in the summer months and make for some great fishing.

This could not be a better time to target Mangroves. Some of our inshore species slow down because the flats are just downright hot and  the fish are moving toward the deeper water. This makes for a great time to make the transition to take advantage of our bay and the hundreds of artificial reefs and wrecks. Most of the flats guys out there are used to fishing shallow water just don’t know where to start. Well I’m going to give you a few tips that will help you get a start towards one of Tampa Bay’s hidden jewels.

 Snapper fishing

Mangrove Snapper fishing is somewhat like inshore fishing as far as tackle goes; you typically use the same inshore rods, leader and hooks. I like to go with 20 lb. Ohero Fluorocarbon leader matched with a Daiichi #1 circle hook and 2 #5 split shots to get the bait to the bottom. Some of the best times to target Snapper in Tampa Bay are around the full moon as they seem to be on a mission to eat.  Mangrove Snapper are just about everywhere in the summer months of July and August; good places to start are Docks, bridges, wrecks, ledges, and ay of your other favorite Grouper spots.

All hold fish. I tend to have the best of luck fishing ledges, wrecks and reefs in the bay. The deeper water spots seem to produce bigger fish. Did I mention they are one of the best fish to eat!

Finding fish inside the bay

Mangroves snapper fishing used to be more difficult. These fish are in deeper water and you have to depend on good sonar.  Technology has come a long way.  Most GPS/ Sonar combo units come with detailed charts. These charts are loaded with hundreds of wrecks in Tampa Bay. This gives you a great advantage to find spots easy and quick.  My Lowrance HDS 12 sonar GPS and the structure scan allows to find the details of wrecks. Match this with the Rhodan GPS Anchor technology and you have just taken throwing the anchor out of the equation. It’s as easy as fishing the flats.

What bait to use for Mangrove Snapper

Bait for Mangrove Snapper fishing. Just like flats fishing your primary bait will be Greenbacks. The nice thing about summer is there is bait EVERYWHERE on the flats. Most bait is very small in the summer and I really like the 12 foot ¼ inch mesh net.  A few good nets to look at are the Black Pearl cast nets. Remember you don’t need to have a heavy net on the flats. Make sure to pick up some M-80 chum to bring the bait to you and you will be all set.



Captain Jason Prieto is a native resident of Tampa and has fished Tampa Bay and its surrounding waters for the past 20 years. He is owner and operator of Steady Action Fishing Charters which is based out of  Tampa Bay. To book a charter, you can reach him at 813-727-9890 or www.steadyactionfishingcharters.com.