Surface water temps are still in the upper 50s inside 20 miles and warming slightly.
Our coldest weather in 8 years and high winds has made it difficult to get offshore for all but a few days this January.
Amberjack and Blackfin tuna 20 to 50 lbs have been showing up past 35 miles or our wrecks and springs.
When possible always book your fishing charter early in your visit! It is even more important of you are planning to book a offshore fishing charter! Cold fronts have put a hold on many of our offshore fishing charters so far this winter. We always want our clients to have the best weather and fishing experience possible!
Make sure your charter boat has Federal reef and pelagic permits if you are targeting any of the above species or others!
There are many great Tampa Bay fishing charters and Captains in our area! The vast majority of charter boat captains are “inshore” charters with the very popular “bay boats”. This is the case for several reasons:
1) Cost of fuel to go Offshore is much more. 2) Size Tampa bay offshore charter boats are more expensive than bay boats. 3) Permits! Most of the consistent offshore fishing is found in Federal waters past 9 miles! To fish these Federal waters very expensive permits are required for all Reef and Pelagic species. These permit are not issued any longer due to the large number of new captains getting into the charter business every week. These Federal and Reef permits must be purchased by a current permit holder.
When choosing your charter company here are a few questions I would recommend asking:
- Does the fishing charter company have the Federal Reef and Pelagic permits ? (They must be displayed on port side of boat)
- Size of the boat? Is it large enough for the number of people and type of trip?
- How long has the company been in business?
- Is the Captain a Full Time guide?
- Safety equipment, do they have a EPIRB ? (Not required by coast guard but do not go without one or more!)
- Cost should fit the charter. A 30 + mile Offshore charter can not be done safely for the cost of a Inshore trip! Be very leery of super deep discounts on any charter. A 30 mile offshore trip on a adequately sized boat will cost $250 + in fuel alone. On a “super discount fishing charter” the captain will not burn the fuel or you will be on a undersized under equipped boat. It is just simple math and the expense of marine equipment / fuel.
- A very expensive charter is something I would avoid as well. Your fishing experience will not be improved by an excessive price for a charter. We try to spend our money on what will matter most to our clients and what will gives the most quality and value to your day on the water. Hope this helps you chose a Tampa bay offshore fishing charter! No “showboat” mentality here! Visit CaptainMaloney.com
Capt. Mark Maloney