What's hot: David Rhea caught and released five tarpon on Saturday, capturing first place in the Suncoast Tarpon Roundup's finale day. Thirty of the top qualifiers competed with 19 reported releases. Kenny Deacon Jr. took second with two releases and barely beat out third-place winner Beckie Moore, who also released a pair of silver-kings. All three fished just off the beach along Longboat Key. In the junior division fishoff, 11-year-old Samantha Scribano caught and released three tarpon to win. Aaron Sprague released his third fish to take home second place and 14-year-old Ashley Templeton, the overall winner in this year's junior division, placed third.
What's warming up: Mangrove snapper fishing in Tampa Bay is good and will get hotter through August. Sunday, we caught mangoes in the 3- to 4-pound range along the ships channel inside the Sunshine Skyway bridge. Twenty-pound test line, a 2-foot length of 30-pound test leader, a 2-ounce egg sinker and a 1-ounce hook were most effective. Whitebait is hard to beat.
Tips: Since much of the available bait on the flats this time of year are small, a quarter-inch mesh cast net can pay dividends.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 321-2142.