What's hot: With water temperatures finally just about right, an early morning tide change and a major solunar period turned on the tarpon bite along our gulf beaches over the weekend. From Clearwater to St. Pete and all the way down to Sarasota, the reports were similar: The tarpon were chewing a variety of baits. All eight we caught Saturday morning were on fresh, dead shad presented on the bottom in front of oncoming schools. Others were throwing live baits; some with greenbacks or small crabs suspended beneath corks, some just fly-lined ahead of the bunches. With ideal weather, kayakers got in on the action, too. We observed a couple of tarpon being caught by those hearty souls off of Anna Maria.
What's ahead: Friday's full moon likely will spark some increased tarpon activity during the days surrounding it, particularly on the strength of the outgoing tide in the afternoon. The crab flow will be in full effect, and tarpon often will become more active during this phase.
Tips: A tide chart will reveal the strongest outgoing tides take place a bit later each day. You'll find the most productive hours to fish will eventually be late into the evening. I've had some of my best tarpon trips after the lights go out.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.