Fishing the Gandy Bridge in Tampa Bay

in photography •  2 months ago


Just earlier this week some friends and I headed out towards the bay in search of a few tasty mangrove snapper under the Gandy Bridge. Unfortunately, my boat has been out of commission lately due to various mechanical issues. Over the past couple months, my friends and I have been learning to make the repairs ourselves in order to save hundreds if not thousands in shop repairs. After trying a few things, we were finally able to fix the problems I was having with my hydraulic steering, starter and engine combustion. We were anxious to take it out to the bay for a water test and some fishing after a successful repair.

As usual, there were plenty of pelicans and other birds posted up at the boat ramp looking for a handout as boaters came and went. Unfortunately, many people do actually feed them unused baits when they get off the water. Some even throw a few their way before leaving the dock. These birds have come to rely on humans as a food source instead of going out and hunting down their own food like they should be.

The steering seemed to be working just fine as we slowly glided across the still waters of the canal towards our destination under the bridge. We arrived right as the tide went slack in anticipation of fishing the first hour or so of the outgoing tide. It is right here under this bridge where I actually got hooked on fishing for life when I caught a giant black drum. From that point forward I've had fishing on the brain constantly! This actually happens to be one of the better spots inside the bay for catching my favorite fish to eat, mangrove snapper!

Not long after securely anchoring the boat, my friend had the first bite...but it was a nasty catfish. Unlike freshwater catfish, these are not good to eat and usually are considered a bit of a bad omen when it's the first fish of the day brought boat side. However, we kept fishing and as soon as the tide turned it was non-stop snapper bites. So much so I only picked up my camera once or twice because the bite was on fire. Only when I heard my friend's son's reel singing did I actually reel my bait in and get the camera ready.

From the runs that this fish was making it definitely wasn't a snapper. We were thinking it was some sort of pelagic or possibly a shark just by observing it's behavior after being hooked. Eventually he was able to gain line back on whatever was on the other end of his line and we caught a glimpse of what it was finally, a shark!

This was Cameron's very first shark and he was super excited, I think his dad and I might have been even more excited for him! This little 3 foot guy is known as a bonnethead shark, they are very similar in appearance to hammerhead sharks but the sides of their heads don't come out as far nor do they grow nearly as large.


Several snapper and about two hours later the tide began moving a bit too fast for the snapper to keep biting at the bridge so we pulled anchor and headed across the bay for a quick lunch at a waterside restaurant. When I pulled up and docked at the place I happened to notice someone vandalized one of the signs in a pretty humorous way!
photos captured with Canon 80D/18-135mm - ©2018

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This is really a favorite, I love fishing and great catch you got 😉🎣👍 beautiful pictures and I love the one with the Bonnet head sharks, really cool. And the sign about the lips cracked me up.
Thank you for sharing this, seem like you had a great time and beautiful place for fishing 😊
Great story you shared.
Made me smile. Happy Friday! 🌹

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it was definitely a great day, I love the look on kids faces when they catch fish...and catching a few myself is always fun too...thanks @saffisara!

What a great story. Thanks for sharing. It took me back to my younger days of fishing underneath the Antioch bridge pier in California. There are also secluded spots along the delta where my friends and I would love to go because strippers bite constantly. A lot of them are under the legal limit of 18”, but you can get some nice ones early in the morning or when the tide is favorable as you described in your post. Antioch is a delta where strippers come to spawn and the fishing is almost always good. It’s also great for crawfish, catfish, and sometimes the prize fighting sturgeon (which I have sadly never had the pleasure of reeling in).

That’s is awesome that you found a way to fix your boat. Having the time to do anything yourself is always so rewarding and saves you money to spend on more important things such as inverting in more STEEM so you can buy a yatch when STEEM hits $10+ next year, haha.

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Sturgeons are definitely still on my bucket list of fish to catch. In far north Florida they can be found along the Suwannee River. Every year someone gets hurt pretty bad when hit by one leaping out of the water. It's crazy, had one jump super close to my kayak once crossing the river while I was fishing for panfish, mainly redbellies

saves you money to spend on more important things such as inverting in more STEEM so you can buy a yatch when STEEM hits $10+ next year, haha.
fingers crossed!

I've never seen a Bonnethead shark, they are kind of cute!

I lived on the Florida panhandle for a year, near Destin. The fishing in the bay was great and I was on the water at least once or twice a week. Most of the time we were catching trout or redfish, but I did get some catfish. They are strong fish and you can tell you are about to bring one up because the line is covered in nasty snot balls.

I took one or two home to cook them. The meat is really tough and it curls up into a ball when it hits the pan. Very weird. The other problem is that the fish is like a giant head with a little body. You can get more meat off a guppy.

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Destin definitely has some great fishing in the area and I've certainly never complained about catching trout or red, actually reds are probably right up there next to snook when it comes to fishing on the flats for me.

While yes you can eat the saltwater cats, it's really not worth the effort and the meat does not taste very good at all!

Awe. That is an awesome looking fish! Great catch...

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thanks @deadgrlsuppastar, they look even better on a plate blackend with a squeeze of lemon!

Cool looking shark, love the pics.

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appreciate it @ksteem, thanks for stopping by!

@Ameliabartlett check it out! bring back any memories? I used to fish a handful of Tampa Bay’s bridges as a young’n. Thanks for sharing 🌿

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the bay bridges have plenty of great fishing spots around them. what was your favorite to catch in the bay?

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