The doldrum days of August have arrived. For many, this is the time to pack up the tarpon tackle until spring. For others, the late tarpon season has only begun, if they have the patience to look. There are more than 50 miles of bridges in Tampa Bay, and each one will house the silver giants through the summer until the cold fronts of fall move them to warmer, more food-laden waters for winter. The spawning season has ended, and the tarpon are inside the bay to do one thing: eat.
MirrOlures, topwater plugs and DOA's are good choices this time of year. Best days to search for tarpon are when waters are calm. Look for rolling tarpon at the surface — a flash of silver or the dark tip of a fin or back. Once the tarpon is spotted, an artificial can be cast in front of the fish. One must be close enough to make it look appealing to the tarpon but not so close that the fish is spooked or hit. Then reel it in as slowly as possible to make the fish strike.
Pro logic: Staple to finding summer tarpon is to look for the bait. Tarpon will follow and stay with food this time of year. Birds will fly over the school of glass minnows, menhaden have a distinctive flip to watch for at the surface, and balls of whitebait at depth might be found on a depth recorder. These are good places to soak dead bait for tarpon or sit and wait for their rolls.
Robert McCue can be reached gianttarpon.com or toll-free at 1-800- 833-0489.