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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: st. petersburg

Tips For Crowded Holiday Fishing in Tampa Bay–Capt. Ray Markham

by on Dec.25, 2015, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Every year I try to leave time around the holidays open for some things I want to do, and to get caught up on the others I never seem to have time for, but inevitably, there are folks who come in town on vacation, see how nice the weather is, and suddenly think….”let’s go fishing!” Well, the onslaught of calls is underway, and at times I take some unplanned trips, but the truth is, it can get mighty crowded on the water during the holidays. With the weather at record high temperatures on these beautiful days, the desire to go bend a rod is even stronger.

Fishing has been outstanding, and the full moon that pops up tonight on this Christmas night will create some strong tides that will undoubtedly make fish eat. Water temperature is very warm for this time of year and there is still plenty of baitfish in the bay. Red tide is spotty and is only affecting certain areas of the lower bay. Snook season is closed but run up any of the rivers, like the Alafia, Little Manatee, Manatee, Anclote, or most any of the deeper creeks and you’ll find a load of snook that are in the process of moving toward their winter haunts. Live shrimp or artificial shrimp like the DOA work exceptionally well. Whitebait, greenies, and pinfish for the natural bait users will get the job done as well. While it’s only catch and release for these fish right now, they will give you a lot of action and can be released with little or low mortality when handled minimally and released correctly.

Redfish have been blowing up topwater MirrOlures in the upper bay area. Portions of the flats around Rocky Creek and Double Branch all the way to Safety Harbor have been holding schools of upper-slot redfish. We’ve been nailing them on CAL Jigs with the 3-inch Shad tail in all colors that contain night glow. The Eppinger Rex weedless spoon has also been deadly on these reds and is especially good when there is a presence of small pinfish on a flat.

Flounder action around the mouth of Tampa Bay seems to have picked back up as the red tide moves away from the area. Good action with some nice sized flatties is to be had for anglers working the nearshore artificial reefs just off the coast of Pinellas.

Kingfish and Spanish mackerel are still out around Egmont Key Shipping Channel for anglers looking to troll up some fish for the smoker.

Regardless of what you want to target, look for some company on the water and remember to keep your distance from other anglers and respect their space, and they will respect yours. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Capt. Ray Markham specializes in fly and light tackle fishing with artificial lures, charters out of the Tampa Bay area, and may be reached via his website at www.CaptainRayMarkham.com, email at ray.markham@gmail.com, or at (941) 723-2655 for charter.

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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.
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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Pitch in for Tampa Bay Cleanup July 12, 2014

by on Jun.27, 2014, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Pitch in for our Mid-Summer Coastal Cleanup
Saturday, July 12, 9am – noon

Tampa Bay Watch, in partnership with Keep Pinellas Beautiful, is recruiting volunteers for a land and sea based cleanup of Fort De Soto Park, Tierra Verde and the Sunshine Skyway. We will also partner with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department for a shoreline cleanup of Coquina Beach.

This event is planned in an effort to clean up after the Fourth of July holiday. Tampa Bay Watch sees coastal cleanups as an important way to help clean up human-generated trash as well as marine debris that floats onto the shorelines from Tampa Bay and Gulf of Mexico. Cleanups also protect wildlife from unnecessary injury or death. This event is family-friendly and open to all ages. Volunteers are welcome to bring their own kayak or canoe to participate in the water based cleanup.

Register to clean up at one of the following sites:

Sunshine Skyway
Coquina Beach
Fort De Soto Park and Tierra Verde sites are already full.

Additionally, we are partnering with Tampa Bay Green Consortium to implement a Dive Cleanup at Bunces Pass Bridge (near the entrance to Fort De Soto Park) on Saturday, July 12, 8am-12pm. Kayakers, paddleboarders and data collectors are also needed to support the event.
Email Volunteer@tampabaygreenconsortium.org to volunteer today! -

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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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Tampa Bay Redfish Tour, 2012/2013, Fort DeSoto Park, St. Petersburg

by on Dec.06, 2012, under St. Pete Beaches, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg

The winter schedule for the Tampa Bay Redfish Tour has been announced.  The start for each event will be held at the Fort DeSoto Park boat ramp in St. Petersburg.  Dates are 12/15/12, 1/19/12, 2/16/13 and 3/23/13.  There are entry fees for each boat and for each angler, most of which goes to the winners of the winter tournaments and to the Team of the Year.

For complete information, email tampabayredfishtour@gmail.com , or call Chris Morelli (727-710-2601) or Jim Devine (727-647-0520).

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Florida’s MarineQuest Slated for St. Pete Oct. 27, 2012

by on Oct.23, 2012, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

From:  The Fishing Wire

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) welcomes the public to the 18th annual MarineQuest open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, October 27. At this free event, visitors of all ages can experience the fascinating world of science at FWRI headquarters, 100 8th Ave. S.E., in downtown St. Petersburg.

Held in conjunction with the second annual St. Petersburg Science Festival, MarineQuest offers more than 60 exhibits from FWRI and other government agencies and conservation groups.

MarineQuest 2012 features live fish and wildlife, including alligators, sharks and rays, and an alligator snapping turtle weighing in at over 100 pounds. FWRI biologists demonstrate how they rescue distressed manatees, tag fish and monitor red tide. Visitors can even catch a glimpse of the world-renowned “mystery eyeball,” found last week in Pompano Beach.

Several touch tanks provide up-close and personal interactions with critters from the Tampa Bay area as well as the Florida Keys. Visitors can try their hand at archery, courtesy of the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network. Children can create wildlife origami and marine magnets and take part in the Japanese art of “gyotaku” – fish printing. MarineQuest also offers face painting and marine tattoos.

Informative presentations include a journey into Florida’s backyards to find carnivorous plants, a look at the effects of this summer’s Tropical Storm Debby on manatees and a glimpse at tarpon, the “silver kings” of the ocean. Visitors can also talk one-on-one with some of Florida’s top scientists and law enforcement officers throughout the event.

Free event parking is available at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg parking garage at the corner of 5th Ave. S. and 3rd St. S.

Sponsors include the Tampa Bay Times, the city of St. Petersburg and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

For more information about MarineQuest 2012, visit MyFWC.com/Research.

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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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St. Petersburg Fishing Report from Capt. Gary Burch, January 13, 2011

by on Jan.13, 2011, under Dunedin, Clearwater and Largo, Old Tampa Bay--Above the Bridges, St. Pete Beaches

Hope all are warm.

Finally got this Dec. fishing report out.  Full report on web site here:


Fishing in December was at best spotty.  The usual residents, trout and redfish, were in cold water mode.  They took off to find the warmest water possible.

There were some days I had clients out searching and catching the willing fish.

As soon as the weather can settle into average conditions, the trout and redfish will start coming alive.  I look for the fish to gather in their seasonal areas for the rest of the winter.

Check out the reports and forecast on my web site.  Take care and stay warm.

Capt Gary Burch



727 458-6335

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