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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Old Tampa Bay–Above the Bridges

Tampa Bay Sea Grass Coverage Exceeds Goals, May 2015

by on May.14, 2015, under Old Tampa Bay--Above the Bridges, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg

Article ImageSurvey results released this week by Southwest Florida Water Management District show the growth of more than 5,000 acres of new grasses from 2012-2104. Tampa Bay now has 40,295 acres of sea grass, exceeding the goal of 38,000 acres bay-wide set in 1995 by our partners at the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.
seagrasses
The gains mirror similar trends in water quality. Tampa Bay met all water clarity targets in 2014, for the third year in a row. Water quality is now as good as it was in 1950, and the bay supports as many seagrasses as it did then.

Seagrass is a very important marine plant that lives on the bottom of Tampa Bay in shallow waters. It is teeming with life, and creates a vital ecosystem wherever it grows.

Thank you for your role in supporting the restoration of Tampa Bay! -

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Old Salt King of the Beach Tournament, May 1-3, 2014

by on Mar.27, 2014, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Old Tampa Bay--Above the Bridges, St. Pete Beaches, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg, The Sunshine Skyway and Beyond to Egmont

Click this PHOTO for info about the Tournament

The Old Salt Fishing Foundation presents the 21st annual King of the Beach (KOTB) Fishing Tournament held May 1st – 2nd – 3rd. Last year we increased the top prize to $20,000 and we have decided to keep it!

The Host…. The City of Madeira Beach will again serve as the host city for the King of the Beach. The city continues to be a strong supporter of the Old Salt Fishing Foundation and it’s tournaments, with more than 10,000 competitors and spectators from all around the bay area, state and beyond attending the three-day event making this the largest King and Spanish Mackerel Tournament on the West Coast.

The Field…. Consisting of more than 400 boats of all powers and sizes that will converge on Madeira Beach to create the most exciting fishing tournament ever! “Anglers tell me all the time that they fish a lot of kingfish tournaments not only is this the most fun to fish but if there’s one to win, it’s hands down the King of the Beach”, says Old Salt VP, Dan Casey. “We’ve designed this tournament to match anglers of all abilities”, says Verdensky. “We’ve leveled the playing field with a modest $195 entry fee and a 30 mile fishing boundary. This makes the K.O.T.B. a tournament that either a seasoned S.K.A. (Southern Kingfish Association) angler OR a novice can win. The ultimate goal of the King of the Beach is to offer a competitive community tournament with the maximum opportunity for payouts at minimal cost to the angler, all while doing it for a deserving cause.”

Three Days of Events….

Thursday night kicks off this three-day festival with a bang. Picture this, a recreation field on the water just minutes from the Gulf. Add live music, a food festival with the best local flavor, all types of marine and art vendors and a boat show. You now have a captains’ party like none other!

Friday night continues the fun with more great activities, food and a FREE concert.

Saturday starts off early afternoon with more food and drinks to try, live music all day, interactive kids zone, a King and Spanish mackerel weigh-in with over $100,000 in cash and prizes. To end the evening and this festival, a new “King” will be crowned.

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Suncoast/Tampa Bay Fishing Report, Capt. Gary Burch, September/October 2012

by on Nov.05, 2012, under Dunedin, Clearwater and Largo, Old Tampa Bay--Above the Bridges, Uncategorized

September was pretty much a continuation of August as the fishing and catching action went.  All of the targeted species were available at any given time.  The water temps were slightly lower around 85 degrees and the air temperatures were around the middle 80’s. We did not cool down until later in the month and into October.

Most of my clients were catching trout, reds, snook, mackerel, sharks and a number of other species.  The key to September and October fishing was to keep moving around and chumming the spot with shrimp and white baits.  This created a very active area and drew in lots of hungry fish.

On into October, we had a few cool fronts that dropped the water temps below the 80 degree mark.  This seemed to turn on the bite and move the fish to different areas.  I checked the mangrove cuts and found redfish and trout had started to show up.  Also some larger trout were making their way into the bays.  I spotted a few snook in transition from the gulf passes to the bays.  These cold fronts should set up some great fall and early winter fishing.

Jim and company came out on a nice warm day and we fished in Clearwater Bay.  They caught a variety of fish on shrimp and white baits which included several nice redfish, a dozen nice trout, mackerel and lady fish.  We put in an effort for a snook but had no takers.

Richard and Joy joined me on a midweek trip to the shallows.  They caught redfish, trout and mackerel throughout the day.  Joy landed her first shark, a small Bonnet Head and had fun doing it.

Jordan and group picked a great day to go fishing.  Winds were calm and we had a great incoming tide.  They both started out catching some fighting redfish.  Nothing large but some great fighters.  Jordan’s biggest fish was 25 inches.  As we moved around the bay, they added several dozen trout, a few large mackerel and a shark or two.  At one of our stops, Jordan landed a 27 inch snook.  He did a great job catching the fish on light tackle.  This gave Jordan the slam of the day

Keith came out on a windy day.  We caught fish moving around to the cleanest water possible.  When the wind blows it dirties the water and scatters the bait fish and the fish that feed on them.  They usually migrate to the cleaner water around the bay.  Keith ended up with several nice redfish and trout.  He also added several mackerel and lady fish to the catch.

Kevin and family joined me for some fall fishing.  We moved around the bay fishing the areas that had the cleanest water.  Of course, the women struck first catching some nice trout, mackerel and a small shark.  It took a few more spots before the men finally showed up.  Kevin and dad caught some nice size trout with one measuring in over 20 inches.  They also added some mackerel and lady fish.  We put some time in for redfish but had no takers.

We had some great weather for Chase and Casey.  Moving around the bay paid off as we were able to cover more stops which resulted in more fish.  Both caught redfish up to 22 inches and trout up to 19 inches.  Several mackerel and lady fish were added to the pot as well.  Casey caught a small Bonnet Head shark and did a fantastic job boating the fish on light tackle.

Late October I could tell that fall was in the air.  Most of the fish caught at this time were very hungry and aggressive.  Even the smaller reds and trout took the bait like a freight train.  This is a great indication of things to come.

Watch for November to continue this trend of aggressive fish action.  Now if a strong cold front hits the area and drops the water temps 10 to 15 degrees, the fishing will disappear for a few days.  But give it a day or two and the sun will warm it back up.

Get out there and have some fun winter fishing.

Capt. Gary Burch
www.allcatchcharters.com

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The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida is now available!

by on Oct.02, 2012, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Dunedin, Clearwater and Largo, Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva, Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast, Marco and The 10,000 Islands, Middle Charlotte Harbor, Naples, Old Tampa Bay--Above the Bridges, Siesta Key to Boca Grande, St. Pete Beaches, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, The Sunshine Skyway and Beyond to Egmont, Upper Charlotte Harbor

The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida is now available!

It’s been a long time coming, but the University Press of Florida has just released my second fishing book.  If you’re a native and wanting more information on the Gulf of Mexico coastline from Chassahowitzka to Chokoloskee, you need this book.  If you’re planning to winter in Florida, you need this book.  Everyone needs this book. The Table of Contents is outlined below.

To order, simply click on the link on the sidebar to the right of this page and you’ll be taken to Amazon.com.  Thanks–and enjoy!

Part One–The Destinations

1.  Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida

2.  The Upper Suncoast-Hernando and Pasco Counties

3.  Tarpon Springs and North Pinellas County

4.  St. Petersburg and the Pinellas Peninsula

5.  Old Tampa Bay, Tampa and The Bay’s Eastern Shore

6.  Manatee and Sarasota Counties-The Gateway to Tropical Florida

7.  Charlotte Harbor and Her Gulf Islands

8.  Fort Myers, Estero, Sanibel and Captiva

9.  Naples, Marco and The Ten Thousand Islands

Part Two–Practical Matters

10. It’s All About The Fish…

11. …And How to Catch Them

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2012 Winter Fishing Report, Clearwater/Tampa Bay, from Capt. Gary Burch

by on Jan.18, 2012, under Dunedin, Clearwater and Largo, Old Tampa Bay--Above the Bridges, St. Pete Beaches

Clearwater and Tampa Bay Area Winter Fishing Report

Fishing has been very good this winter in Clearwater and the Tampa Bay fishing area.  Our weather here on the west coast has held up for the most part with just a couple of cold snaps that sent the water temperature down below 60 degrees.  The sunshine prevailed and temps bounced right back to the normal range of 60 to 65.  The fish dislike a drastic change in temperature and will shut down for a few days after a cold front.

The bigger trout have moved into the bays of Clearwater and St. Joseph Sound and will hang around all winter till the water warms up in the spring.  Locating the bigger trout is fairly easy as they tend to congregate together in the grass flats that are adjacent to channels and along the spoil islands that dot the bays.  The big gator trout over 22 inches are a bit more difficult to find.  They can be mixed in with the smaller schools or off on their own in another part of the bay.  Searching different areas throughout the inland waters may pay off.

The redfish have been scattered around the shallow waters near the mangroves and are constantly moving.  Locating any consistent action has been a daily chore.  Cold fronts and extreme low tides keep moving the fish to different parts of the back waters.  There are a few areas that small reds can be found with hopes of larger fish moving in this winter.

My trips have been consistent with good numbers of big trout and small redfish taking main stage.  Dale, Pam, Jake and Zack joined up and landed lots of trout and a few redfish.  They caught the fish using live shrimp under a float type set up.  Moving around to different parts of the bay and back water was the ticket for success.

Bob, Christine and Robert had a cold day of catching up some big trout and a few reds.  Christine scored the biggest trout at 20 inches and Robert had close second with a 19 inch beauty.  We fished with live shrimp, mostly from the float set up around Clearwater and Dunedin bays.

We had a few days of sunshine to warm things up when John, Mike and Pat came out.  They caught several dozen trout from 15 to 20 inches with a couple of them at the 20 inch mark.  I don’t remember who caught the biggest trout because the competition was fierce.  Mike did catch the biggest redfish and enjoyed bragging rights.  A great time was had by all.

Brian was here in the US from Ireland on business and took a day off to test the waters of Clearwater and St. Joseph Sound.  We were on a few redfish in the morning but none were very active.  A cold front slide through a day earlier and the water temps dipped below 60 degrees.  We relocated and found trout in the north Dunedin waters.  Brian landed some 15 fish with the biggest around 19 inches.  Also he scored on a nice 18 inch pompano in which he took back for dinner.  There’s nothing better than a beautiful day of catching fish in 58 degree water.

As long as these cold fronts are not very strong, look for the fishing to continue at an increasing pace.  We have had some beautiful days of fishing this January and I’m looking forward to more.

Capt. Gary Burch
www.allcatchcharters.com

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6th Annual Filthy Pelican Sheepshead Invitational Tournament, February 24-25, 2012, Tampa

by on Dec.12, 2011, under Old Tampa Bay--Above the Bridges, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg

Don’t miss this tournament at Tampa Harbor, 5200 W. Tyson Ave, Tampa, on February 24-25.  It’s sponsored by Saltwater Angler Magazine.  For complete information, call (813) 223-3474.

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40th Annual Old Salt Loop Tournament, May 26-29, 2011

by on May.08, 2011, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Old Tampa Bay--Above the Bridges, St. Pete Beaches, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs

Don’t miss this event!  It’s courageous men vs. billed beasts!  For complete information, contact Tom Verdensky at (727) 439-7945 or info@oldsaltfishingfoundation.org

The Old Salt Fishing Club is one of the largest clubs in the state.  Based in Pinellas County, they have 9 tournaments a year, as well as plenty of good events.

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Clearwater and Upper Tampa Bay April 2011 Fishing Report and May Forecast from Capt. Gary Burch

by on May.04, 2011, under Dunedin, Clearwater and Largo, Old Tampa Bay--Above the Bridges

April fishing has been off the charts.  The month started out good and
ended up being one of the best catching months in years.

I am attaching the April report because the photo’s are in the report. The
report is also on my web site.  All clients mentioned in the report, your
photo’s have been uploaded to my site.

Please note that the May forecast can be viewed on my web site at:

http://www.allcatchcharters.com/reports/may-fishing-forecast-for-the-clearwater-area-38.php

All indications are pointing to May turning out to be a great fishing
month as well.

Take care.

Capt Gary Burch

http://www.allcatchcharters.com

captgary@allcatchcharters.com
727 458-6335

For more information on a charter with Capt. Gary, please visit web site
above or call.  Thank you

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TAMCO Slam Tourney, Tampa Bay, April 14 and 15, 2011

by on Mar.03, 2011, under Old Tampa Bay--Above the Bridges, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg

From Capt. Gary Burch:

I wanted to share this info about the TAMCO Slam Tourney Thursday and
Friday the 14th and 15th of April.

This tournament raises money to directly support our Florida’s wounded
military veterans.

There are different levels of participation if interested.  Go to their
web site to get all the info.  Even if you just want to attend the
Captains Crawfish Boil Feast for the evening, please check it out at www.tamcofoundation.org

Attached is a flyer with additional details.

I will be one of the Pro Captains taking out our wounded veterans to
participate in the tourney.

Capt Gary Burch
http://www.allcatchcharters.com
captgary@allcatchcharters.com
727 458-6335

For more information on a charter with Capt. Gary, please logon to web
site above.  Thank you

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Tampa Bay Boat Show, March 11-13, St. Petersburg

by on Feb.28, 2011, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Dunedin, Clearwater and Largo, Old Tampa Bay--Above the Bridges, St. Pete Beaches, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, The Sunshine Skyway and Beyond to Egmont

From Capt. Gary Burch:

Just a quick reminder that the Tampa Bay Boat Show is back bigger than ever at the Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.  Mark your calendars for March 11, 12 and 13.  Millions of dollars of inventory will be on display.

And yes admission is free.

http://www.tampabayboatsale.com/fishingschool.jpg

Presented by the St. Petersburg Times.  http://www.tampabay.com

Don’t get confused, it’s not March 5th, it’s March 11, 12 and 13.

And again this year come out and see the “Gulf & Bay Florida Fishing School.  Learn and ask questions from the areas top Pro Captains and Fishing Experts.  Nineteen special presentations are slated for the three days.

I will be on stage Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm both days with my popular Inshore Fishing Techniques on Sat. and Cast Netting on Sun.

Come on by and say hey and check out the exhibits.

Capt Gary Burch

http://www.allcatchcharters.com

captgary@allcatchcharters.com

727 458-6335

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