Capt. Tom Stephens Jr.
” Being a Florida native, I have been able to fish the Florida waters my whole life. I have over 25 years experience fishing the ponds, lakes, rivers, bays and Gulf of Mexico. My job as a first mate on a 42 foot sportfish out of Sarasota really taught me a lot about the guiding business. I spent 5 years working with families, business partners, and friends that chartered this boat. The enjoyment of meeting new people and being part of the memories made on these fishing trips is what encouraged me to start my own business.
The Sarasota bay and near shore waters of the Gulf of Mexico have become my backyard getaway for the past 12 years. Learning the seasonal patterns of the fish and marine life has been intriguing to me over these years. Fish such as the tarpon return to our waters within the same 2 week period every year out of the blue. Snook came out from their winter homes to take advantage of the incoming baitfish in the Spring. It is this type of information that can really only come from experience. The small details are so important to pay attention to. I have been so lucky to spend the time I have on the waters here. What I have learned has become second nature. One thing is for sure local knowledge makes a good guide.
Working out of the New Pass Bait Shop has given me the chance to work with many other captains and meet all kinds of people. We are lucky to be able to work together and share information time to time.
I feel like I have become a part of this community because of all the people I have met along the way: Fish and Wildlife workers, Marine police officers, bait shop employees, and other captains and fishermen. We all share a common interest and we have good relationships. Some of these people have been fishing these waters for over 40 years.
Out of a calendar year, most of my days are spent on the Sarasota waters. The others are spent in my art studio where I work on acrylic and oil paintings. The Ringling School of Art & Design is what brought me to Sarasota. I have always been an artist before anything else. My work has always been inspired by Florida and the marine environment.”
Captain Tom Jr.
[email protected] | phone: 941-809-5793