Saltwater Outfitters Inc. (Capt. Dan Malzone), FL

Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide in Tampa, Florida

Saltwater Outfitters Inc. (Capt. Dan Malzone), FL


Capt. Dan Malzone has been fishing the Tampa bay area for 36 years, providing fishing instruction for everyone, novices to experts. He was born and raised in Tampa, Florida and started fly fishing in the early '60s in fresh water and moved to salt water in the late '60s. He started guiding in 1978.

Capt. Dan Malzone was one of the forerunners of fly fishing at Homossassa in 1975, where he learned the area from well-known guide Capt. Gary Maconi and Norman Duncan, inventor of the Duncan loop knot. He was also a three-time winner of the MET fishing tournament fly division for mackerel, trout, and mutton snapper, a two-time IGFA world-record holder for tarpon on fly (8lb. - 83 lbs. and 12lb. - 167 lbs.), and guided Dr. Clyde Balch to the new IGFA world record for tarpon on the fly (12lb. - 177 lbs).

Capt. Dan Malzone also guided his wife in the Hillsborough Tarpon Tournament, where she won the largest tarpon ladies division, overall tournament champion, most releases, combined weight champion, and set the IGFA world record for speckled trout on 6lb. tippet.

His flies have been featured in the Orvis catalog , Tying Comtemporary Saltwater Flies by David Klausmeyer, and Saltwater Fly Fishing from Maine to Texas by Don Phillips. Capt Dan Malzone is a Member of the IGFA, Florida Outdoor Writers Association, Florida Keys Guides Association, Miami Rod and Reel Club, and the CCA. He is sponsored by Mercury Marine, Maverick Boats, and is an Orvis-Endorsed Guide for the west coast of Florida.

Date Range

Saltwater Outfitters Inc. is open year-round.

What is Provided to Customer

All equipment will be furnished by us, including flies. You are welcome to bring your favorite rods, reels, flies, and waders. 8½ - or 9-foot five-weight rods are our favorites for their versatility; however, many of the smaller streams may be fished with shorter three and four-weights. You may also try out any of the many new Orvis rods available in the Pro-Shop. We carry primarily 4-, 5-, and 6- weight rods and reels. We have a selection of weight forward and double taper floating lines as well as clear intermediate and slow sinking lines for the stillwaters. If you bring your own waders we suggest that they be breathable for your overall comfort and ease. We provide Orvis breathable waders in most sizes. Please advise us if a special size will be required. We stock a large selection of our favorite flies as well as two fly-tying stations to produce any special fly pattern on your own.

Region/Terrain Where You Fish

Tampa Bay, Florida's largest open-water estuary, stretches to an area of 398 square miles at high tide. Popular for sports and recreation, the bay also supports one of the world's most productive natural ecosystems. Estuaries such as Tampa Bay, where salt water from the Gulf mixes with fresh water from rivers and upland drainage, are nurseries for young fish, shrimp, and crabs. More than 70% of all finfish, shellfish, and crustaceans spend critical stages of their development in these near shore waters, protected from larger predators that swim in the open Gulf. Wildlife abounds along the shores of Tampa Bay. As many as 50,000 pairs of birds, from brown pelicans to the colorful roseate spoonbills, nest in Tampa Bay every year. Many other species, such as white pelicans and sandpipers, are seasonal visitors.

Tampa Bay consists of four distinct areas: the Gulf, the upper, the lower, and the middle regions. In the lower region at the mouth of Tampa Bay, you have Fort DeSota Park to the north and Terra Ceia Bay to the south, and both are aquatic preserves with no-motor zones. These are some of the best wading flats in Florida and large schools of redfish, sea trout, and jack crevalle are common. Since the adoption of the net ban, it's also not uncommon to see tailing permits on these flats. All fish coming into Tampa Bay must pass by one of these two flats. Tailing redfish in these areas are rated as the supreme fly-rod challenge.

The middle region is bounded by Pinellas Point and Weedon Island to west and the Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve to the east. This region of the bay has two of greater Tampa's largest power plants, one on each side of the bay. In the winter, these plants produce a warmwater outflow which attracts large schools of jack crevalle, tarpon, ladyfish, and some of the best cobia in Florida. To some extent, this is somewhat like fishing in a fish bowl! During the warmer months, these same fish move out onto the flats, where they are great targets for sight fishing.

The upper part of the bay is probably the least fished of all four regions. Water clarity can be a problem in the summer because of the influx of silt from the rivers during the frequent rainstorms. Visibility improves during the winter, but wade fishing is difficult because of the soft bottom. Nevertheless, there are plenty of fish in this region year-round, for those willing to do lots of blind casting. This is one of the best areas in Tampa Bay to catch large snook.

The Gulf coast region is a mecca for the fly fisher seeking multiple species from a boat. Large schools of king mackerel, tuna, bonito, and redfish abound near shore. Early morning shoreline wading for snook is a popular pastime for the fly anglers,during the summer when these superb game fish are in their spawning season.

Typical Weather by Season

Florida very seldom gets below 30 degrees in winter; summer has the hot months, with July and August being the hottest.


Sample of Typical Itinerary

We usually start the day at 7:30 am and fish to 3pm on full days. We furnish lunch and drinks, all flies, fishing licenses, and rods and reels.


Species You Fish for by Season

January: tailing redfish and trout on the flats, in 1 to 3 feet of water; jack crevalle and ladyfish at the power plant hot-water run off; not many other boats on the water now through February.

February: speckled trout and reds start to group up for spawn; when water temperature hits 68 degrees, reds school on high tide.

March: spring starts to come in with warmer days and water. Reds really start to school up, with schools of 300 to 500 fish per school. It is not uncommon to see schools of 1,000 fish. Large speckled trout, up to 10 lbs., can be caught at this time. Reds will go 10 lbs. to 25 lbs. The flats really come alive.

April: spring is here and everything starts to feed; mackerel, king mackerel, cobia, jacks, snook, reds, and trout; late April the tarpon migration starts.

May and June: this is the time the giant Tarpon show up at Homossassa flats; the average weight of these fish is 125 lbs.; reds, trout, and snook fishing is still at its prime; permit are on the flats.

July: some tarpon are still on the flats, others leave to go into the bays and rivers; trout are slowing down; reds are building up for their September – October spawn; permit are on the flats.

August: water really gets hot; flats temperatures may exceed 90 degrees; there still are a lot of reds and snook around; tarpon are on plugs in the bays; permit are still on the flats.

September: water starts to cool down a little; red and snook fishing is still excellent; tarpon are in the bays; permit schools start showing up on the edge of the flats at dead-low tide.

October: reds still in large schools but starting to go offshore; snook are still on the flats but preparing to get ready for winter migration; jack schools are starting to show; trout fishing picks up.

November and December: winter; minus tides start, so there are small schools of tailing redfish along with trout.


What Should Customers Bring?

• Rain gear
• Sunscreen
• Sunglasses
• Hat


Saltwater Outfitters Inc.
Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide
Capt. Dan Malzone
4709 W. Cherokee Road
Tampa, FL 33629

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