5 Tampa Bay Fishing Hot Spots to Visit

By Debbie Hanson

Jul 19, 2018

Tampa Bay fishing hot spots for saltwater, freshwater fishing. List of good fishing spots in Tampa Bay that are accessible for snook, redfish, mackerel, bass

Whether you want to fish the flats, mangrove shorelines, or even find a prime freshwater destination, there are plenty of Tampa Bay fishing hot spots to choose from. Use this list to plan your mid-summer Tampa Bay fishing adventures.

1. Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier State Park

If you are looking for good fishing spots in Tampa Bay, head to the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier. There are two miles of fishing pier (the St. Petersburg side is a half-mile long, and the Palmetto side is 1½ miles long) that offer opportunities to catch species such as snook, tarpon, grouper, Spanish mackerel, cobia, sheepshead, and pompano. What's one of the best things about this Tampa Bay fishing spot? That would be the fact that the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. There are daily admission fees that apply, so be sure to check the Florida State Park website in advance of your visit.

2. Fort DeSoto County Park

Fort DeSoto County Park has long been one of the top Tampa Bay fishing hot spots due in large part to the two easily accessible fishing piers on the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. The Gulf Pier offers open-water access, which means fishing in stronger current with heavier tackle for species such as Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, and sharks. The Bay Pier, on the other hand, is a more sheltered spot where families can try light tackle fishing for species such as redfish, snook, and trout.

3. Bishop's Harbor

Located along the mouth of Tampa Bay, you'll find some of the best fishing in Tampa for redfish, snook, and trout. Bishop's Harbor contains mangrove shorelines and shallow flats that serve as prime habitat for these popular saltwater inshore species. Don't forget to check a local tide chart for Bishop's Harbor when planning your trip. You may find this spot to be the most productive when fishing the last few hours of an incoming tide. Access to Bishop's Harbor is provided by a sand boat ramp located off of Bishop Harbor Road in the city of Palmetto.

4. Edward Medard Reservoir

In addition to the saltwater Tampa Bay fishing hot spots mentioned, don't forget that there are freshwater hot spots in the Tampa Bay area as well. Don't pass up the chance to fish the Edward Medard Reservoir in Hillsborough County for largemouth bass and sunshine bass. Since the reservoir is a reclaimed phosphate mine, the bottom contours of the lake are irregular, with some areas reaching depths close to 33 feet. The depth changes and bottom irregularities make this one of the best spots to try freshwater fishing in Florida.

5. Lake Tarpon

If you want to know where to fish for trophy bass in the Tampa Bay area, consider Lake Tarpon. As far as good fishing spots in Tampa Bay for freshwater anglers, Lake Tarpon always ranks. In fact, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists rate the lake as one of the top 10 bass lakes in the state of Florida. Try fishing the points and offshore structure on Lake Tarpon during the warmest periods of the day throughout the summer months.

Since you now know about a few saltwater and freshwater Tampa Bay hot spots, be sure you have the right gear and tackle for the location and species you plan to target.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.