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Last Updated on January 16, 2023 by Staff Writer

Winter fishing in Tampa Bay can offer an excellent opportunity to catch various inshore species. The cooler temperatures and clear waters make locating fish on the flats and backcountry estuaries easier. Let’s discuss some of the popular inshore species found in Tampa Bay during the winter, where to find them, and give a brief overview of the species.

Winter Fishing In Tampa Bay

Winter fishing in Tampa Bay is a must-do for anglers who want a genuinely captivating fishing experience. The weather is mild and pleasant, with sunny skies perfect for spending days on the water. Savvy anglers recognize that the cooler temperatures and clear winter waters provide an ideal environment to target multiple inshore species. Seasonally active gamefish can be found in various locations and habitats, from spots around reefs to shallow flats and seagrass beds.

The advantage of high water clarity during this time makes spotting these prized species a breeze, placing anglers at an advantage when pursuing them. Whether you’re a veteran fisherman or just getting your feet wet in this specialized activity, winter fishing in Tampa Bay has something to offer for every type of angler – so join the ranks today and discover what exciting catches await!

A picture of Tampa Bay Winter’s Bounty: Inshore Species to Target with Fishn Fl.


The sheepshead makes its grand entrance to Tampa Bay during the winter months, and boy, do they know how to make an entrance! These members of the porgy family can be spotted near piers, docks, pilings, and seawalls – anywhere there are oyster bars and other structures in the inshore waters of Tampa. They aren’t like other fish; their small mouths and human-like teeth make them notorious bait stealers.

Spotted Seatrout

Wintertime is ideal for catching seatrout in Tampa Bay’s backcountry waterways. The crystal clear water clarity and sandy potholes make it easy to spot these fish on the grass flats. The colder months bring a higher chance of catching this gamefish, and they will fight more, making each catch much better!

A picture of Tampa Bay Winter’s Bounty: Inshore Species to Target with Fishn Fl.

Redfish and Snook

You should find a good school of redfish in those deeper holes or bends where the water temperature stays constant. Snook can also be abundant here and should not be ignored as the two species often feed together in the same areas.

It’s essential to take your time when out on the water this time of year. Still, you’re guaranteed a rewarding experience if you know where to look and stay patient — mangrove shorelines and brackish spring-fed rivers are ideal locations for these impressive fish.

Pompano and Tripletail

Pompano is a highly migratory species attractive to water temperatures between 70-80 degrees, so they can be found up and down the Florida coastlines to maximize their odds of procuring just the right environment. Tripletail also has an excellent affinity for moving around in search of ideal conditions, often spotted near channel markers and crab trap buoys nearshore and offshore from central to south Florida.

A picture of Tampa Bay Winter’s Bounty: Inshore Species to Target with Fishn Fl.

Black Drum, Flounder, and Spanish Mackerel

Fishing for black drums in Tampa Bay can be a real treat. Some of the best spots include rocky shallow coves, deeper holes, pilings, and offshore structures. For these hefty fish, look for mud, sand, or shell bottoms where they spark up with life.

During the winter months, you might even get lucky and find flounder and Spanish mackerel swimming nearby, as well as they will huddle around oyster bars near sandy bottoms. Catch enough of these powerful creatures, and you might have a dinner made in heaven!

Let’s Go Fishin!

If you’re looking for an incredible fishing experience out in Tampa Bay and beyond, Fishn FL’s local fishing charter is the way to go. Capt. Jason genuinely knows the waters like the back of his hand, and he’s passionate about helping everyone on board have a successful day of fishing. Only an experienced local like him would be able to share all the techniques one should use to catch seasonal inshore fish such as redfish, snook, tarpon, and more right here in Tampa Bay!

Capt. Jason also offers trips down south to the Florida Keys and Homosassa if you want to take your fishing journey further afield. Book with him today and set sail with a knowledgeable captain who confidently shares his knowledge with each one of his guests. Fishing in Tampa Bay has never been this thrilling – don’t wait any longer!