What's hot: Beach tarpon fishing has been nonexistent lately due to the west winds. Those wanting to do battle with the silver kings may want to focus their efforts on Tampa Bay and deep residential canals. Tarpon fishing in upper Tampa Bay has been spotty with the lingering presence of an algae bloom, but productive trips still have been possible.
Tactics: The key to finding the schools of tarpon is to first find the bait. Watch for any kind of bird activity. Start by looking around the deeper holes near the bridges. The best bite has been right at sunup until about 10 a.m. Cast slow-sinking plugs such as the D.O.A. Bait Buster or the MirrOlure TT series to rolling fish. Having a couple of rods out on the bottom with cut ladyfish, mackerel or mullet might help you pick up an extra bite or two.
Tips: Areas affected by the algae bloom don't seem to be holding bait or tarpon. However, productive areas can be found nearby. The affected areas are easy to spot by the noticeable orange coloration of the water. Once tarpon are spotted, drift into the approximate location you saw the fish roll and use a mushroom anchor to hold your position. The fish will stay in a general area and eventually will roll again, giving you a shot at casting to them. Chasing rolling fish with the trolling motor will only frustrate you and will also put the fish down.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 or via e-mail [email protected]