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Depending on the time of year and what fish we are going after, fishing the bay can be very productive to say the least! Lower Tampa Bay and Sarasota Bay have a lot of artificial reefs, quite a few wrecks, ledges, rock piles, markers and even floating buoys, which can all hold nice quality fish. If I can catch the same amount and quality fish on the public spots I will, but when things get a little tougher I'll go to some of the many spots in both bays that aren't public spots. These spots are like your piggy bank where you save your money for a rainy day. The reason being is there's no point in going to the unknown spots if you can do just as good on the public spots because there are so many new guides out there now.
The veteran guides are being watched nonstop, and these spots can truly make the difference of catching or not, on tough days. All it takes is one person to see me sitting somewhere they've never seen a boat sitting and fishing and the word is out. That being said, it assures me that I can get on fish when most of the other guides are scratching their heads trying to figure out what to do after the public spots have been picked over to the point it's not worth fishing any more until a season change happens, bringing new fish to these reefs.
The other great thing about these bay spots is when it's too rough to get out off the beaches and fish in the Gulf of Mexico you can still have a great day without having to try and get to the nearshore spots in rough water! It's never fun trying to stand up and fish in rough water so I avoid that at all cost. Even though my custom built 24.5' by 9'4" beam Privateer boat is designed to handle the roughest of water, the boat can take a lot more than we can. I never want my clients to get beaten up by a bumpy ride, or soaked, while trying to get to a spot in rough water. I see guides do this kind of thing all the time and it usually isn't very productive to fish in dirty rough water, if the fish can't see the bait it cuts your chances extremely low. Therefore, I try to always fish in clean water. This is where experience of knowing the most detailed parts of catching quality fish can make or break the day!
Captain Shawn Crawford
Florida Sportfishing Outfitters offers fishing charter boat services in the Tampa, Florida, area. Enjoy a fishing charter in both shallow and deep waters aboard a customized Privateer® boat led by Captain Shawn Crawford. As a sixth-generation Floridian, Captain Crawford believes that 10 percent of the fishermen catch 90 percent of the fish.
Captain Crawford has more than 27 years of experience, and has earned many clients through the word of mouth. He gives seminars throughout the year, and teaches the finer points of fishing. He knows just about everything there is to know about the waters around Tampa Bay, like Longboat Key!
Captain Crawford and Sandi Adams won the 5th Annual Ranger Boats/Evinrude™ Outboards Saltwater Flats Fishing Championship Tournament held at the Bahi Beach Island Resort Marina in Ruskin, Florida, with a 145.5-inch catch. The prize was worth more than $24,000. The Megalops team (Captain Mark Rankin, John Yingling, and Louis Garcia) came in second with a 145.25-inch catch. Both teams had a double slam, catching three fish each day. Ernie Rubio caught the largest snook at 32.25 inches on the Megabite. Frank Heter caught the largest red fish at 32.5 inches on the Wrench'Em In. His teammate, Jim Stanek, caught the largest trout at 26.25 inches.