Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Go for tarpon at night

What's hot: Tarpon fishing around one of the bay bridges at night is a great way to avoid the hot sun. Start by casting your net directly under one of the bridge lights. A few throws should yield enough threadfins, scaled sardines and pinfish. I start by hitting the anchor function on my trolling motor under the brightest light on the upcurrent side of the bridge. When a fish is hooked, I hit manual mode and start the outboard to chase the fish, no line to worry about. Heavier tackle is needed because of the bridge pilings. I use only two rods, one with a float, the other free-lined. I drop the baits back to the shadow line of the bridge and wait. I will move up and down the bridge, anchoring under different lights trying to draw a strike.

Tips: Residential dock lights can attract a variety of species. Snook is my No. 1 target, but trout, redfish, jack crevalle, ladyfish and mangrove snapper are not uncommon. Approach is the most important factor. If you pull up to the area with the outboard motor running, the fish will spook or simply not bite. I like to use a trolling motor on the lowest setting to get within casting range. Heavier braided line along with a tighter drag will help if a fish runs for the pilings. "Select" sized shrimp is the best bait under the light. If you do not get a bite, move to the next dock light.

Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit captainrobgorta.com.

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