The struggle to keep business afloat for Tampa Bay fishing charters is real, with gas prices and fewer customers discouraging captains and guides this 2022.

Tampa Bay is known to have the largest open-water estuary in the state, offering numerous fishing opportunities for inshore and offshore anglers alike. But even while the area remains open to fishing activities for locals anglers and tourists, the record-high gas prices have left charter captains and guides with two choices: increase prices or cancel charter trips that aren’t profitable.

“Fishing charters will need to charge more to keep up with the rising gas prices while earning enough to cater to other expenses and make some profit,” says Tim Stock, owner of Tampa Bay Fishing Charters. “Unfortunately, this has resulted in fewer customers, not only because of the increased rates but because of other economic uncertainties and higher inflation rates. People are spending less on the ‘non-essentials’ right now, and that includes taking trips to the waters.”

Because Tampa Bay is popular for its fishing action, fishing captains and guides depend on charters for their source of income. Amid the gas prices, fewer customers, and inflation of other expenses necessary for daily living and operations, there is the fear of having to cancel charters and look for other forms of income to get by.

“This continues to be an uphill battle that fishing charters will need to adjust to quickly if they want to stay afloat.” Tim Stock says. “We’re hoping that gas prices will see a downward trend soon for the benefit of both boaters and customers. But for now, charters must strategize to make the most out of every trip, finding ways to balance the expenses while earning profit without turning anglers away from the rates.”

Tampa Bay fishing charters continue providing their services to locals and tourists interested in going on inshore and offshore excursions. Despite the decline in bookings, the area still offers many opportunities to catch species like Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Snapper, Snook, Tarpon, and the like.

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