Saturday, February 24, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Move off the flats when the sun gets high

Recent heavy rains in North Pinellas will keep the nearshore water dark with runoff. Within a few miles of the major river mouths the flats are going to be dark brown for quite a while. This dark water is then heated by the sun and can make the water temperature climb above 90 degrees. When it gets that hot, fishing is just plain lousy. Midday shallow-water fishing is going to be as tough as it gets. Rather than try and make something out of nothing, experienced anglers move off the flats when the sun gets high. There are several options for finding decent action on light tackle. A personal favorite is juvenile tarpon in the rivers. A high volume of freshwater pouring toward the gulf often moves small tarpon downstream. Fish that are usually scattered in tiny creeks and tributaries gather in deeper holes and channels closer to open water. To find them, anchor or drift in the deepest spot you can find, then simply watch for them to roll at the surface. Set the boat up just up-current and live chum with crippled scaled sardines. Even if you do not see any fish but suspect they might be there, try live chumming. Often a seemingly quiet hole can be turned into a full-blown tarpon rally by simply adding a scoop of chummers. Once the action starts, a frisky live bait on a 3/0 circle hook works best, but fly casting or working small topwater plugs are also productive.

Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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