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Captain's Corner

Captain's Corner: Fish late-season tarpon out of inland waters

Still time: For late-season tarpon action, look in the muddy back bays, canals and deepwater basins that dot the St. Petersburg coastline. Tarpon are easy to spot in these protected areas because the water is calm. Look for rolling fish just after first light. These fish are finicky, but they can be caught using different techniques if the offering is presented properly.

One of the easiest methods is casting artificials at surfacing fish. Heavy 7-foot, 6-inch spinning rods will provide plenty of casting distance, especially if they're married to a 60 series-sized spinning reel. Fifty-pound braid with an 80-pound leader is adequate in this situation since most of these fish are less than 100 pounds. Try slinging a 65M11 MirrOlure or a black-and-silver DOA Baitbuster.

Another approach is to use live pinfish. Try the pinfish freelined at first, and if nothing happens then rig the pinfish under a float. Keep the line tight when using a float because the pinfish could swim circles and spin up the line around the float. The same spinning outfit described earlier works in this scenario too since casting to rolling fish is the key.

Then there's soaking dead shad or cut mullet on the bottom. Use an 8-foot conventional rod with 50-pound-class line reels because of the heavier drag systems they offer. Monofilament line gets the nod over braid for this technique since mono sinks and braid doesn't. Attach a 100-pound leader. You never know what kind of debris is on the bottom and the heavier leader could save the day.

Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376.

Captain's Corner: Fish late-season tarpon out of inland waters 08/31/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 8:51pm]
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