May to July is peak season and when spawning migration is in full swing. The Bay Area has a year-round shad fishery, but May 1 to July 3 is when giant spawning fish arrive in the tens of thousands. Anna Maria Island is the epicenter of Tampa Bay shad fishing. Shad fishing is almost a year-round activity here in Tamp Bay.
Practically when the water maintains a constant temperature, we have to catch shad here in the Tampa Bay area. Of course, at certain times of the year we have better shad fishing. Let's start with the first of the year. JANUARY — The water is cold, shad fishing practically doesn't happen, except for some bay shad in rivers and some medium-sized fish in power plants.
FEBRUARY: It is very similar to January, depending on the water temperature, sometimes, towards the middle or end of the month, the resident adult shad will make it possible to fish around bridges in the early season. They are very sensitive to temperature right now and only itch on warmer days. MARCH — This is really when our early season shad fishing starts once the water temperature stays above 70 degrees. It can be a very good month with a lot of multiple connections.
A good day can produce up to a dozen connections. All fish range from 50 to 200 pounds more around bays, bridges, large structures and rocky ledges. There is also good river shad fishing for smaller fish from 20 to 60 pounds. This is a great time of year to fish for shad in the early morning and then head to the plains for snook and redfish.
APRIL — It's a very good and consistent month for resident fish, similar to March but probably a little more consistent. The water has warmed up and fish metabolism works faster, so they need to eat more. They eat more throughout the day. Towards the end of the month there are some fish reaching the beaches and large bay passes migrating south, sometimes in quantities that can be fished, but it is usually a little early for those fish.
MAY — It truly marks the beginning of southward migration when thousands of shad shad hit beaches, pass and flood waters across Tampa Bay. It is undoubtedly the beginning of shad fever and what marks the start of the shad fishing season at first sight. Shad fishing is great on the beaches right now, with light boat traffic, making it premium fishing with light tackle and fishing. An average day is 7 to 12 hooked up with 2 to 3 landed, sometimes more.
Shad fishing is also very good for fish residing in the bay and offers plenty of opportunities in many directions. Average migratory tarpon of 70 to 140 pounds. Trophies start at 150 pounds and go up to 200 Plus. JUNE — It's a big month, right in the middle of peek season.
There are shad everywhere, more boat traffic but more fish, so it balances out. Sight fishing is great on the beaches. There are more fish in the countries than in the previous month. Resident fish are also biting well in the bay.
Practically the shad is everywhere. JULY — Shad fishing is still good on the beach. Tarps are thick in passes. Sometimes they get into large, scattered schools that can travel a mile long; all you have to do is get in the middle and skid.
It's really impressive and the fish can be seen rolling in all directions. Sometimes you can't even decide where to launch. You throw in one direction and see 5 roll in the other direction. It's very exciting and the schools are as big as May and June, not as crowded, so accurate casting isn't as important as the previous months.
AUGUST — Peak season has decreased, but it's still good for shad fishing. A Tampa Bay shad charter can still produce approximately half a dozen fish during the month of August. The migratory shad has slowed down and thinned at this point, but there are still some fish left in the migration steps. Resident fish can be very good at this time.
The water is hot, so they have to eat more a day to stay healthy. There is also spot fishing for resident shad in the rear bays looking for live bait, fly or artificial. SEPTEMBER — Shad fishing is very similar to that of August. The only difference is that the last migration has left in the passes; the resident shad is really where the best action is right now.
The good thing about shad fishing after the high season is that the shad fishing traffic is very light. You get a lot of good opportunities and don't have to worry about traffic from other ships. OCTOBER — Is it a good month to be on the water, great weather, and light boat traffic? Most shad fishing is done in the bays, deep-sea structures at that point. Sometimes the beach can be good with a scattering of shad heading south in search of warmer waters.
They are the same fish that we caught on the beaches in early summer. They are usually mixed up in large bait schools. Sometimes the shad can be very good at the beach at the time, but it is very successful or lost. The resident shad is a better bet for constant day-to-day action.
NOVEMBER — Shad fishing in November is very similar to October, but usually ends the year around the end of the month. It's still worth chasing the shad until the water drops below a sustained temperature of 70 degrees. DECEMBER — It is still possible to fish for small shad in rivers and in stagnant water canals. Occasionally, someone can catch a medium shad in one of the power plants, but in general it's better to find something else to fish for.
However, December is a good time to plan your shad fishing trips for next year. A good tarpon guide is booked well in advance. Tampa Bay shad fishing is open all year round, however, the ease and quality of the fish you catch is directly affected by water temperature. The shad (also known as the Silver King) likes the constant temperature of the water, between 74 and 88° F.
Southward migration begins in May when water temperatures warm. More Shad in Our Waters Makes Tampa Bay's Best Shad Fishing Season Between May and August. The average shad weighs between 70 and 140 pounds. A 150-200 pound shad is considered a trophy fish.
Shad is usually found near passes, bridges and closer to the beach. Here are my most important tips for catching this beautiful fish. By August, most of the Tampa Bay shad migration is gone, at which point it returns to resident fish. The shad season starts in late February in warmer years and is usually more consistent in mid-March, as the water warms.
It's no coincidence that your house is on the water, just a few hundred meters from some of the best shad fishing spots in the world. If you can't steer your shad off the main drift, alert other anglers to your situation. May is when the high season starts along with the shad fishing fever, from sight fishing to fly fishing for shad. Fishing for shad in Tampa Bay from May to July is a time and place that every angler should experience at least once.
After locating the shad banks, position them in the direction they are moving and let the shad approach you. Captain Matt is one of Tampa Bay's top tarpon fishing guides and continues to lead the sport with innovative tactics year after year that have brought his stats to nearly 100 percent Tarpon hire hookup rate. Tampa Bay shad fishing trips are no doubt what Captain Matt likes best of all the different Tampa fishing charters he offers. Early season shad fish are resident fish in Tampa Bay and range from 50 to 200 pounds more and are actually some of the largest shad in the world.
By October, most of the resident shad caught will be around large bridges and in rivers around Tampa Bay, and this ends in mid-November. . .