The number of species that can be caught wade fishing is staggering. Even species that experienced anglers consider “trash”, put up great fights. Unlike bass fishing, where you are fairly certain what you are going to catch, inshore fishing is a whole different world. A beginner only needs a few tactics to catch different fish. Something as easy as a shrimp on a #2 circle or bait hook under a float can produce many species. With that said, you must use the right braid, fluorocarbon hooks, you get the idea.
Some of our inshore species are pelagic (migrate to areas incumbent upon water temperature) and many are here all year round. There a definitely different presentations for different types of fish. There are predatory species and then there are slow movers, each caught by different techniques. If you are unsure of your catch, look it up on the FWC or similar applications. It really isn’t cute to ask experienced anglers for a fish identification just to get attention or troll. If you really have something unique and can’t find on your own, ask away, even experienced anglers may not know the species you are posting.
Tampa Bay is an enormous estuary and has limitless wading opportunities. Fish many areas, you will find your favorites. You can find locations that offer jettys, oyster beds, bridge, mangroves, and docks, all in one location. Fish for different species, they are all fun. Do your homework, learn about the different species you will be targeting. At some point, you will be able to go out there and catch the species you want. If you fish long enough, you will be able to know what kind of fish you have on the line before you have a visual, just by the fight.
Anglers have different terms for a group of species caught in an outing (day). The FWC terminology is different than our local terms. The FWC considers a “slam” a red fish, trout, and flounder. This is because these fish are available throughout the state. Our regional definition of a slam is a red fish, trout, and snook, add a tarpon and that is considered a “grand slam”. If you do your research and spend plenty of time on the water, we will see yo
u posting about your first “slam”.
Different equipment is needed for the different types of fish. You will not have the same rig for tarpon as you will for pompano. This is also something that you can glean from reports and posts. You can find set-ups that will catch the majority of the fish in our waters and build your arsenal from there.
Do your homework, get out on the water and pay some dues, you will be rewarded.
Below are links of my published articles in reference to many of our inshore species. This is not a complete list there are many more species, I just haven’t finished those articles. All photos posted have individual photo credits in the articles. Thanks to these skilled anglers for providing the visual!
Thanks for reading this series, only one more to go: Techniques and Ethical Angling