Capt. Ric’s Reel Simple Fishing Report

May 01, 15 Capt. Ric’s Reel Simple Fishing Report

At this very moment fishing in Tampa Bay is as good as I can ever remember it being and I have been fishing these waters a long time. The first trip I remember was in 1971 when I got my first taste of salt water fishing as a child. The fishing has not only gotten better by the numbers of fish we are catching but also by the sizes of the fish we catch.

These improvements have not gotten here by mistake, we have better fishing due to good management and also by us as anglers being prudent and responsible care takers to the fishery. If you listen you will hear guys talking about how it used to be easier to catch a keeper snook and they are correct about that. The amount of pressure our fish get definitely has an effect on the bite and it can be hard sometimes to find and catch a keeper snook but the laws have changed and if the legal limit was still 24” it would not be near as difficult a task. we should applaud the state for the decisions they have made of our fishing regulations.

Stuart Bozeman with a nice redfish he caught recently while fishing in Tampa Bay with Capt. Ric Liles

If you were to go back 30 years around here, catching a trout bigger than 24” was a once in a season thing, maybe every 2 years. Now we catch 50 or more a year that size and get trout over 30” occasionally. The state regulations have aided in this but I think our trout fishery has exploded to the place it is at is because a lot of anglers have started giving back. A big majority of charter captains including myself will not keep a trout bigger that 23 or 24 inches long unless it has been gut hooked. We release these fish back to the system for better management. There are a lot of weekend anglers do the same thing looking to the future. If we continue this effort 30” trout will be the norm 30 years from now. Wouldn’t that be great for our kids and grandkids? I hope you are having the same results in your fishing that I am having. The bite will have to slow down as it cannot continue on the pace that it is on for ever, but we as fishermen need to enjoy it while it last.

Until next time, good luck and be safe on the water. Remember: don’t let your kid be the one that got away, take them fishing.

For charter fishing information you can call (813)601-2900, email, or visit 

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