Flats Fishing in Florida

Flats fishing in west central Florida

The Flats of West Central Florida Gulf coast stretch for miles and miles full of backcountry shallow water, mangrove islands, rivers, bayous, bays barrier islands, estuary tidal creeks, and deeper passes. There are no parallels, no comparisons, and no training grounds in any other type of Florida flats fishing. This is an opportunity; Florida fishing at it’s finest where an angler can stalk his quarry with the skill and finesse of a hunter. The shallow flats are unique and addictive. Florida Flats’ fishing is the fastest growing sport in the nation. Our home base area is in close proximity to Tampa Bay, Clearwater, Palm Harbor, New Port Richey, Tarpon Springs, Port Richey, Spring Hill, Brooksville, St. Petersburg and Orlando Disney World area.

Florida Flats form a specific estuarial ecosystem and are usually characterized by relatively level or slow sloping terrain. Turtle and eelgrass and other types of marine vegetation require sunlight to thrive, marine grasses can only grow in shallow water; however, sharp drop-offs or man made channels are the exception. Most flats lie in rich intertidal zone with vast portions exposed to the air and sun or barely covered with water at low tide. Others, of course, are deeper waters to 15 feet.

Because of the abundance of food in this constantly changing environment, game fish, such as tarpon, snook, redfish, trout and more, leave the sanctuary of the depths to search for a meal. To them these sallow expanses represent eateries with treats (meals) cramming interlining structures such as flat rock (limestone) oyster bars, rock piles, sand potholes and the grasses itself. Thin water makes every fish spooky. They are out of their element and know it. Given a choice, these creatures would abandon the idea of prowling these areas but they return day after day because that is where the majority of their food supplies lives. On any given day you could catch a Florida inshore fishing charter slam, i.e. snook, redfish and trout, same day in the same place.

In our area miles of Florida flats stretch interrupted only by rivers, man-made channels, and deep finger channels that provide easy access for fish entering and leaving the shallows. These deeper areas also hold fish as they wait to move on the high ground via some swash channel.

From a fishing standpoint, a productive flat generally has a good tidal flow, connects with deep water and offers tarpon, snook, redfish, trout and others some type of structure or cover along their route to the flat. As shallows taper into deeper waters, these sand and grass dotted edges become holding areas for fish at times.

Timing is critical, being on a flat during the right season, water temperature, wind direction, tide, bait on the flat, birds, can all attribute to many fish or no fish at all.

Fishing Florida flats presents an abundance of different kinds of fish and novice to expert fishermen can enjoy a full or half day of friendly-guided fishing trips with a one to three person capacity. In our area we have Tarpon, Snook, Redfish, Trout, Cobia, Kingfish, Spanish mackerel, Jack Crevalle, Flounder, Grouper, Snapper, Blue fish, Ladyfish and more all on or near the flats and beautiful backcountry bays, near shore and inshore fishing calm clear waters.

Start your day on the beautiful flats of the west central gulf coast of Florida in shallow, clean, clear calm waters teaming with tarpon, snook, redfish, speckled sea trout, cobia, mackerel, flounder and more with longtime local guide, Capt. John Fitchbach. Rarely are you fishing an area where you could not stand in. Novices to experienced anglers all receive personal instruction to get you started using top of the line light tackle spinning, plug or fly fishing gear and utilizing techniques, honed by a seasoned professional who is on these waters over 200 days a year with charter fishing clients, guests and fishermen from all over the world, shared and explained in plain English. You will be rewarded hundredfold related to the size and power of these fish and the expanse of the fishable waters. This is the world of tidal flats – barrier islands, sand bars with distinct drop offs, beautiful turtle grass flats dotted with sand potholes, oyster bars, rock piles, deep channels, deep holes bumping up against mangrove shorelines, creeks and mouths of rivers, sand and grass points get awful fishy at times. All this just minutes from the dock, not to mention the southern climate and sun that we have to offer. It is an angler’s world where your guide’s knowledge, skill and experience combine to connect the unwary fisherman to the call of the sea. Bent rods and smiling anglers are the norm on one of our professionally rigged, state of the art skiffs and bay boats. Be sure to view our state of the art boat’s page.

Absolute Florida Flats Fishing and Tarpon Fishing Charter Guides Service offers world class light tackle fishing trips and can accommodate 1 to 3 person capacity on our professionally rigged fishing charter boats. Florida Flats Fishing can also arrange multiple boat charters for groups of up to 50 anglers with our staff of professional flats fishing guides-Tarpon fishing guides, Snook fishing guides, Redfish fishing Guides, Trout fishing guides and more! Our fishing guides have years of local knowledge; USCG licensed and are fully insured. Corporate charter trips are welcomed with a variety of packages. Come fish with tournament winning Capt. Rich Knox, full time fishing guide for over 20 years and a lifetime of local knowledge and a great attitude.

Florida Flats Fishing is year round. Everything is included on our Florida fishing charters – fishing license, bait, rods & reels, tackle, artificial lures, fresh spring water, Ice and a great attitude. All you need to bring are non-marking boat shoes (non-marking black soles OK), sunglasses, hat, camera, sun block and a favorite snack, food and/or beverage !