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Lower Tampa Bay and Sarasota Bay are covered in sea grass beds and that in itself is a natural habitat for most of the fish that live in our waters. Sea grass flats release natural food for bait fish, crabs, shrimp, and just about any type of small fish and crustaceans that the fish we catch will be eating. And the more grass the more natural bait, which turns into more fish for us to catch.
When these grass flats are in a cove, they are the perfect place for the fish we are after to get when we are in the colder months of the year. This has been a debatable subject for years but regardless of what other captains believe, I tend to go off my gut feeling and let my eyes tell me yes or no to fishing one of these coves. The fact is, when we are getting into the colder months the one thing fish do not like is wind, and the shallower the water the more this comes into play. You see, wind is what really cools the water down and fish like a constant water temp. They don't like change, a lot like people, but if I know that the water temp is getting to the critical point of the fish leaving the flats for good for the upcoming season these coves can be 1-3 deg. warmer than the surrounding water and that my friends is a definite jackpot in those cooler months. However, I can be on good quality fish in one of these coves for a week or longer but as soon as the wind changes directions and blows into the cove it will run every fish in there to deeper water just to get out of the water chilling wind. Again, this is where experience can really pay off and make the day happen!
Captain Shawn Crawford
Florida Sportfishing Outfitters offers guided 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.