What's hot: Tarpon are migrating down the west coast beaches. Watch for silver flashes as fish roll to breathe air. Any beach in the bay area is a good place to start. I use my high definition GPS trolling motor anchor to hold me in position. Pods of fish will eventually move toward where I am anchored. Once I find a pod, I will switch to manual mode on the trolling motor to carefully get into position.
Tips: I like to use a 12-foot cast net to throw for bait. This allows me to fill the well quickly and throw in deeper water. I like to have a variety of bait; you never know what a tarpon will eat. Scaled sardines, also known as "whitebait," is the choice. Threadfin herring, or "greenbacks," are just as good, but very sensitive and die quickly once their scales fall off. Crabs can be found floating on grass lines on outgoing tides. Use a long dip net to scoop them up.
Tactics: Approach schools of fish with care. I use my trolling motor on the lowest setting to get close. Running outboard motors will spook fish and shut them down. Tarpon will head west to deeper water when spooked, making it difficult to sight-cast.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit captainrobgorta.com.