Tampa Bay Fishing Report: Shark and Redfish Magic with Capt. Ted Nesti!

Every day, we at FishingBooker send hundreds of people fishing all over the world. Whether it’s trolling for grander Marlin in Puerto Vallarta (heating up this time of year) or chasing that Fly Grand Slam on the Belizean flats, we know a guy, who knows his fish. Still, it’s always a special treat when we get to meet one of the Captains we work with, and try him on ourselves! This time, as we wrapped up yet another incredible Florida Sportsman Expo, we’ve decided to pay a visit to Captain Ted Nesti, a bona fide fishing maven of the St Petersburg flats.

Capt. Ted is a Florida native, born and bred on the sunny St. Pete Beach. Ted has dedicated over 30 years to becoming one of the best fishing guides in the entire Tampa Bay area, so when we rang him up for a Half Day trip aboard his fully equipped 19ft Carolina skiff, we knew we were in for a treat. And boy, did he deliver.

As we arrived to the launch spot a few hundred yards south of Seminole Bridge, Captain Nesti was already there waiting for us, with his trusted Carolina all rigged-up and ready to roll. It took us less than 15 minutes before the fishing started, mainly because we spotted a pod of baby dolphins playing near the boat ramp, and just decided to swoon over it for about 10 minutes or so. Yes, hardcore fishermen swoon over baby dolphins too.

After the cuteness overload, it was time for the first fishing spot of the day. We went flats fishing just outside of the Seminole bridge, and soon discovered why not one of Ted’s many reviews is shining with less than the full 5 stars. The bite was on straight away! In the end, we closed the Seminole hotspot with a tally of 4 Bonnetheads of 5-10lbs, 1 grouper and 1 snapper: all catch and release. This was our first time fishing in Florida, and already turning out to be one of the coolest flats fishing trips we’ve taken. But Ted was far from being done with us.

We journeyed to the second location, close to Treasure Island, with our mind set on targeting the Speckled Trout. In what was turning out to be the motif of the day, we got what we came for on the very first cast! 2 more Bonnetheads quickly followed, joined by yet another snapper, a few 3-4 lbs Catfish, some Lizardfish and 4 MORE Speckled Trout! After declaring the hotspot #2 a major success, we set out to target Mackerel and Kingfish in the Gulf next, which meant catching some Shad for bait first. As the baitfish weren’t really cooperating, it was quickly back to our first location that treated us so well, looking to add Redfish to the day’s catch portfolio.

It took us about 20 minutes, few more sharks and another catfish, before the first Redfish decided to join the party. It was a thrill to catch, and as this one was just under the legal limit, it was soon back in the water. Another one followed soon, which we’ve decided to keep for lunch. And then finally, around 11AM, we snatched our biggest fish of the day – a 27-inch Redfish, which later made its way to our lunch plate as well! After that baby monster, we reeled in 2 more Redfish before officially calling it a day.

If we had to rate our entire experience with Captain Ted, it would be yet another stellar review Ted can add to his endless list. Captain Nesti was super patient, very funny and just great to be around. He taught us more than a few cool fishing tricks and worked his behind off to consistently get us on fish. The boat was nice & clean, and it would have easily fit a fourth person fishing. In the end, we are more than honored to be able to provide additional exposure to Ted’s charter service via our website – he deserves every bit of it. We’ll definitely be back.

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