Onshore winds have made it difficult to do much, if any, beach tarpon fishing, let alone any other fishing outside of the pass. But tarpon are still a possibility on the west winds, especially as we get further away from last weekís full moon; you just have to find those deepwater back bay haunts that might hold a few laid-up tarpon. Deep residential canals, canals with creeks dumping into them, dredged-out marinas and harbors, deep cuts between spoil islands, and big basins that attract schools of threadfin or shad are all potential tarpon spots. Most of those spots are still fishable when the wind is up. One thing all of these fish-holding environments have in common: They offer deeper water than the surrounding areas, so having a detailed chart of the inshore waters allows you to narrow the search. Laid-up tarpon roll most frequently in the early morning when the light is low, so staging well outside of where you think they might be holding and scanning the area allows you to pinpoint where the largest concentration of them are holding. Move the boat into position with the trolling motor on low speed and make long casts with slow-sinking twitch baits, or anchor up and put out a spread of fresh bottom baits such as shad, mullet or ladyfish.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email at flatsmonster.com.