Fishing the Tampa flats is an experience unparalleled. The waters surrounding the Tampa area are cut up with networks of mangrove islands, oyster bars and vast grass flats that are teeming with life. And that’s good for the fishery, because when you have a healthy ecosystem, the fish flourish. Tampa is a world renowned fishing destination where snook, redfish, speckled seatrout and even tarpon can be found in great numbers.
Although the fishable waters are virtually endless and seemingly vast, fishing from a small watercraft can be the difference between coming home sun burnt or sun burnt with a cooler full of fish.
Fishing from smaller, more compact boats are becoming more and more commonplace; and Tampa is no different. I’m talking kayaks, small jon boats, and the Roundabout Watercraft. These smaller vessels provide many benefits when it comes to fishing the backwaters of Tampa. Things such as portability, stealthiness, less maintenance and the ability to reach areas otherwise inaccessible via a larger boats propel these crafts to the forefront of the fishing movement.
Small watercrafts shine when it comes to portability. These small crafts can typically fit in the bed of a pickup truck or even on top of a vehicle, but they truly shine once you reach the water. Most are light enough (less than 150 lbs.) to be easily carried, dragged, or even rolled, yes, rolled. The Roundabout Watercraft’s unique design allows its 125 pound hull to be effectively rolled to the water’s edge virtually eliminating the need for a boat ramp. How many vessels can boast that? This is handy for those side-of-the-road launches that can cut travel time on the water in half.
Most smaller watercrafts don’t require a large outboard motor to push them around. Large motors result in louder noise and more intense vibrations. Instead, small watercrafts can be paddled, poled or pushed around with a small electric trolling motor. This reduces vibrations and noise that can alert and scare fish.
Maintenance is also less of an issue when fishing Tampa from a small watercraft. Less moving parts and a small electric motor provide little worries when it comes to getting prepared for a day of fishing. Once the day is over, a quick freshwater rinse of your gear and the trolling motor battery back to its charger and you have more time for cleaning your catch and sharing fish stories with your buddies.
My favorite part from fishing small watercraft within the Tampa area is the opportunity to reach areas inaccessible by larger boats.
Fishing small creeks that pour into Tampa Bay offer ample opportunities to haul in hungry fish; especially in winter. Not only do they shine in skinny water situations, but also in tight quarters. The Roundabout Watercraft’s circular makeup offers zero turn functionality making it a breeze to whip in and out of tight corners. If you do find yourself stuck or too shallow, the lightweight features of smaller boats make them easy to drag and portage if need be.
Next time you get out to fish the backwaters of Tampa, FL, try downsizing your vessel and see what you’ve been missing!