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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: tarpon springs

Capt. Ray Markham’s Florida Sportsman Fishing4Cast- West Central- December 22-24, 2017

by on Dec.22, 2017, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

A string of beautiful weather days should allow holiday anglers to get on the water if desired. However, with the first day of winter arriving on this Thursday, the 21st, don’t expect to see anything that feels like winter. Go with what you know according to the water temperature.


As we approach the gag grouper closure at the end of the month, anglers are finding these fish in as shallow as 10-feet of water from inside Tampa Bay all along the beaches. A good rule of thumb is to find some hard bottom or structure where you may find stone crab traps. You may do double duty here as tripletails are also being taken on the crab trap floats and lines that mark the traps. Live pinfish with a trimmed tail to slow the baitfish down have been top baits for gags. DOA Shrimp or the live version rigged on a light jig head or under a popping cork with a 2-foot leader will take these tasty fish. While gags are found shallow this time of year, you’ll also find them well out into the Gulf.

Kingfish have slowed with the water temperature drop in the Gulf. The temperature has dropped into the lower 60’s but with this warm weather, it could bring surface temps back up to bring in some Spanish or king mackerel again. Bait schools scattered on the last cold front, but could re-group again by the weekend.

Although the bite has slowed, anglers continue to find some hogfish despite the temperature drop. Anglers say downsizing tackle is the secret. Using small-to-medium size live shrimp on 15-pound class tackle with a long fluorocarbon leader will get it done, but patience is the key. Hogs are somewhat shy and wait to chew as all the other reef fish feed. Be prepared to lose a lot of bait, as everything eats a live shrimp.


The recent warming trend has snook stalled that were moving into the backcountry. Look for them on points and over dark bottom adjacent to channels. Water temperatures back on the rise approaching the 70’s will make topwater lures effective again, but jigs will out-pace them. The 3-inch CAL Shad has been my top producer for catch and release snookin’.

Redfish have been tough lately, but doable. Smaller jerk baits have been deadly. The MirrOlure Lil’ John rigged on a light jig head has been a top producer of reds laid up on shallow backwater flats and in potholes on sandy bottoms. Where I’m still finding pinfish, both the Eppinger Rex Spoon and MirrOlure MirrOdine 37MR49 have been hit. The new MirrOdine is the largest model they make, and I’m replacing the hooks with slightly smaller and lighter hooks to make the lure buoyant so I can work it in 6-inches of water. If pinfish or sardines are present, USE THIS LURE! You won’t be sorry.

Trout fishing has taken a big swing upward. Look for these fish in potholes on the low tides. Coming off this past Monday’s new moon have produced some exceptionally low tides, pushing these fish into the holes and channels.

Flounder are making an appearance again around passes and on sand bottom where it meets shell, grass, rock, or a change in depth. Jigs worked slowly on the bottom are hard to beat.

Pompano have disappeared, but a brief showing near Bunces Pass might reveal that more fish remain in the area. Doc’s Goofy Jigs have been a go-to bait here in yellow with a pink teaser.


Bass fishing has been taking off. Anglers fishing spinnerbaits at Lakes Tarpon and Seminole report good action with white or white and chartreuse colors. Crappie fishing should improve as the weather cools again. ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!


The new FWC Fish/Hunt FL app for your phone is an amazing resource. Download it and you’ll have all the up to date information on rules, regulations, and some very good information on how, when, and where to hunt and fish.


Capt. Ray Markham

(941) 723-2655



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Tarpon Fishing Outfitters–Bigger and Bigger–and Better!

by on Jan.24, 2013, under Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs

I get into Tarpon Fishing Outfitters (on US19 near the intersection of ALT US19 in Tarpon Springs)every month or so and have been delighted to see its growth. When Mr. Lee, of Lee Fisher/Tampa Fishing Outfitters, bought the Tarpon Springs store, the selection was sparse and the place had a “lonely” feel.  Now, with the infusion of interest, capital and all those great Lee Fisher and Ohero products, it’s one of the premiere fishing tackle stores on Florida’s west coast.  In addition to Lee Fisher cast nets, a full line of Shimano reels, and Yeti coolers, you’ll find Ohero fluorocarbon leader material, Adrena lines, Trident hooks and affordable Ohero rods.  Tarpon Fishing Outfitters is also home to one on the best reel repair operations, still known as Dave’s.

Tarpon Fishing Outfitters, (727) 942-8944

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Looking For GPS Numbers for Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida?

by on Nov.27, 2012, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

I’ve had lots of requests on the site for GPS coordinates of reefs, wrecks and offshore fishing holes.  The list is too long to print, so it’s time to “belly-up” and get your very own copy of my latest (2012) book, The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida.  Click the link to the right (on the sidebar) and you’ll be magically taken to Amazon.com, where you can get a copy at a discounted price.

In addition to GPS numbers, the book also has essential information regarding fishing from all ports from Bayport (in Hernando County) to Chokoloskee (at the top of the ‘glades).

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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 Peter T. Assimack Fishing Tournament, Tarpon Springs, April 28

by on Apr.22, 2012, under Tarpon Springs

The Peter T. Assimack Memorial Fishing Tournament was founded in 1990.  Initially it was the Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce Annual Fishing tournament.  With the passing of Peter on August 21, 1996 the tournament was changed to his namesake.  The Tournament has found a home for the last few years at the Tarpon Springs Yacht Club providing outstanding waterfront facilities for both the Friday night Captain’s Meeting, the last Friday in April, and the Tournament fishing with the official photo finish judging and awards ceremony that is held on the next day, Saturday.

The focus of the tournament is to involve family and especially kids in the sport of fishing.  Peter was known for his contribution in the Tarpon Springs community and among his best times on the waters was introducing children and adults alike to the sport of inshore fishing.  Numerous adults now owe their joy of fishing to casual invite to join Peter on the flats.

The Tournament’s major and event sponsor is Mercury marine, which has supported this tournament Since its inception through Boat & Motor Superstores by providing Mercury outboards products as part of the prize packages awarded.  Other Sponsors such as Fisherman’s World By giving each child a new fishing rod and reel and many others have helped make this a premier tournament. The Tournament is a catch and release photo finish tournament, anglers submit photos only for judging, submitting actual fish is not allowed.

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Fish Earth Day–Hook Kids on Fishing to hold event in Tarpon Springs, 4/21/12

by on Mar.06, 2012, under CAPT. TOMMY'S BOOK SIGNINGS, TALKS, TRAVELS, St. Pete Beaches, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs

In partnership with other like-minded organizations, the Anglers for Conservation is coordinating a Fish Earth Day using the Anglers for Conservation’s Hook Kids on Fishing Program on Saturday, April 21, 2012 from 9-11a, in celebration of Earth Day. Is there any better way to celebrate Earth Day 2012 than bringing families together fishing and learning about the our planet Earth? The Hook Kids on Fishing program will take place at:

Craig Park Spring Bayou

City of Tarpon Springs Recreation Division

(727) 942-5628

400 South Walton Avenue

Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Kids ages 6 to 16, are welcome along with their parents. The first 80 kids registered will receive a free rod and reel. Registration is mandatory by calling the City of Tarpon Springs Recreation Division at  (727) 942-5628.

The Hook Kids on Fishing program teaches casting, fishing safety, knot tying, the tackle box, catch and release tactics, fishing habitat and conservation; and is taught by professional guides and knowledgeable anglers. Parents and kids bring your smiles, positive attitudes and patience along with you! Volunteers are needed.

Additional community sponsors include the Anglers For Conservation, Fish Florida Foundation, Coastal Angler Magazine, Florida Outdoor Writers Association (FOWA), Aylesworth’s Fish & Bait and Pure Ocean Productions.

The Hook Kids on Fishing program is a product of the Anglers for Conservation (AFC), a non-profit-501-C3, whose mission is to create a new generation of marine stewards using community-based angling education, habitat restoration and applied conservation science.

Volunteers are needed and sponsorships are available. For more information contact Rodney Smith at info@anglersforconservation.org; phone, (321) 750-3374; or visit the website, www.anglersforconservation.org.

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2011 Peter T. Assimack Memorial Fishing Tournament, Tarpon Springs, April 30

by on Mar.25, 2011, under Tarpon Springs

This is a great tournament with great prizes for professional anglers, sportsmen and kids (under 12).  There’s a mandatory Captains’ meeting on the 29th at the Tarpon Springs Yacht Club.  For complete information go to:  ptafishing.com or call (727) 938-1101

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