When speaking with anglers, Terra Ceia Bay rarely comes up in conversation. There are many great fishing spots in Tampa Bay. More prominent locations like Fort DeSoto, Bird Key, and the Skyway Fishing Pier come to mind. Locals who know great fishing follow the guides of history, and Terra Ceia Bay has been a favorite fishing spot for as long as we can remember.
The Timucuan Indians were the first to settle Terra Ceia. Hernando DeSoto used it as a respite on his journeys south in 1539. Not long after, Terra Ceia Bay became a temporary home to Spanish and Cuban fishers on their seasonal fishing expeditions. They would meet and trade with the natives while preparing fish for shipment to Cuba. One such fisherman was Miguel Guerero, who gave his name to Miguel Island and Miguel Bay.
Permanent settlers eventually made their way to Terra Ceia, staking claim to 160 acres of land and planting citrus, celery, and flowers. The first of them was the Aterzoth’s. Julia Aterzoth, later known as Madam Joe, came to Terra Ceia from Germany to heal her liver disease. We’d like to believe warm weather, sunshine, and a diet full of fish and citrus supported her success. It was not the glamorous pier-like docks and farmstead homes you’ll find as you drive the island today, but it must have been some paradise to withstand the elements while building the beauty we know today.
The bay itself is fed by Frog Creek and McMullen Creek, creating estuaries for our many fish species to reproduce. Joining the lower Tampa Bay and Manatee River watersheds provides plenty of seagrasses, mangroves, and artificial reefs for anglers to cast their lines into. Terra Ceia Preserve borders the bay’s northern waters protecting fish species, plant life, and water quality while also provide hiking trails through the salt marshes for an added wildlife experience.
For those hoping to fish bigger game fish in the Gulf of Mexico, you can launch from our private boat ramp and motor straight out to the Gulf from here. But frankly, Terra Ceia Bay offers just as much excitement. Anglers will find the following species in a variety of sizes right here at home.
- Red Snapper
- Spotted Sea Trout
- Black Drum
- Red Drum
- Spanish Mackerel
- and more!
The best fishing spots in Terra Ceia Bay are Miguel Bay, Flounder Pass, Emerson Point Preserve, and Fisherman’s Cove Resort. Join our resort pro, Captain Erik from Fishlikeus.com, on Saturday mornings in our free fishing clinics if you’re unsure how to catch. He also offers onboard guidance and a one-of-a-kind grouper charter from a kayak when you’re ready for adventure!
Originating from Terra Cielo, which means heavenly land, Terra Ceia Bay is a slice of heaven you won’t regret capturing during your Florida stay. Deep holes, shallow banks, or simply a seat to watch the action make Fisherman’s Cove the modern-day anglers’ respite and a great place to make fish stories.