Tampa Bay September Fishing Report
September is finally here and I love this month. It's so quiet on the water, not very many boats on the water stirring everything up. What's even better is it's one of our best months for Redfish on the flats. The flats fishing in general has been pretty good and Redfish are the main target but Snook and Trout fishing has been pretty good too as of lately. See my up to the minute Twitter fishing updates at www.captainmatt.com
Most of the Reds are keeper size or larger along with a few shorts here and there. Most of the schools I'm fishing have lots of 21 to 27 inch keepers along with some over slot fighting bulldogs upward of 34 inches. They are a great fight on light tackle and sometimes the bite is literally as fast as you can bait up and cast out in the hole. When it comes to Redfish this is the time of year you're either killing them or it's time to move. Unless of course you are waiting for an approaching school on a shallow flat. In that case it's usually worth waiting. On our best day we landed nearly 50 Reds with some really nice ones mixed in the bunch up to 34 inches. Some small ones were mixed in as well, all the way down to 17 inches and all from the same school of fish.
Snook fishing has slowly been getting a little better as a whole. It seems to me that the winter kill from 2 seasons ago must have had little effect on the really small Snook. I mean Snook small enough that we seldom see or catch. The reason I say this is because I keep seeing more and more schools of Snook that are in that 14 to 20 inch class. It would make sense that they would have just been little 6 inchers when the freeze hit. We have also been catching a few real nice Snook here and there. This past week we had a 33 incher. We will start to catch more large fish as fall approaches. On some of the better days we have been catching 15 or 20 Snook mixed in our catch.
Trout fishing has been pretty good for us as well. I had a little lull in the bigger Trout for a few weeks, but it seems like they are back on. We have been catching plenty of keepers in the 16 to 18 inch class along with a few larger ones up to 23 inches.
There is still some Tarpon to be had in the bay. I haven't been targeting them lately because the Redfishing has been very good and most of my Tarpon fishermen are burned out from a tremendous Tarpon season we had earlier this summer. If someone is interest though I'm sure we can hook them up. We should have a south bound migration on the beach showing up in the next few weeks. That's always a lot of fun because we can target Tarpon, Sharks, Mackerel, Kingfish, Tunny and even a few Grouper all mixed together feeding on bait balls in the same area. You never know what's going to bite next in that scenario.
Well that about sums it up for me. I have some available dates in September, it's a little hot but so is the fishing. October is right around the corner as well and is one of my very favorite months of the year to be on the water. October always brings great weather, little boat traffic, great inshore fishing and great offshore fishing.
I hope you enjoyed my report, good luck on the water.
About The Author: Captain Matt Ercoli
Company: Florida Sport Fishing Outfitters
Area Reporting: Tampa Bay to Sarasota Florida
Bio: Capt. Matt Ercoli is a premier Florida Gulf coast fishing guide and 1999 Saltwater Flats National Champion. He has assisted clients to five IGFA world records. Capt. Matt's experience and knowledge of local waters assures a successful day of fishing. Whether you prefer light tackle fishing or you're a fly-fishing purist, Capt. Matt can accommodate you. Fishing possibilities include the clear saltwater flats and mangrove backcountry from Tampa Bay & St. Petersburg to Sarasota; fishing for tarpon, snook, redfish and trout. If your preference is offshore fishing, there is permit, kingfish, grouper, little tunny, shark and more.