Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Captain's Corner: Nasty weather slows tarpon bite

What's not hot: Though the passing weather system responsible for the pounding rains and gusty west winds this week have slowed the tarpon activity, it is only temporarily. As we return to our typical summer weather pattern of light easterly winds, look for action to fire back up, particularly along our gulf beaches.

Technique: Chumming has long been effective in nearly all the fishing we do, and tarpon are no exception. Heavy chumming can often slow an oncoming school of tarpon and draw them to your presentation of baits. Chumming with the same bait we're using works well, and shad is my first choice. Each shad can be cut in 10-12 pieces, and we sling them in all directions around the boat. With a hundred tasty morsels all around your baits, the odds increase dramatically that tarpon eventually will find one with the "toothpick" in it.

Tip: An increasingly popular method when tarpon fishing is "chunking," which is particularly effective in an area with good tidal flow. Pieces of greenbacks, whitebait or shad are cut into chunks and steadily let out the back of the boat. Tarpon might be drawn to the chum line and gang up, much the same way mackerel or kingfish do. Using those same chunks or a little larger, fly-line your baits into the mix. Allowing your hooked baits to appear as natural as those that aren't is key. Keep the spool open, and feed the slack out by hand. They now make light-wire hooks that are extremely strong and ideal for this method. Check with your tackle shop.

Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.


Captainís Corner: Spring fishing is fast approaching

Spring is trying to move in, with just a few cold fronts mixed in. The up-and-down air temperatures will slightly affect the water temperature and also affect the fishing. Fishing has been mostly incredible in North Pinellas. All of the species we ex...
Published: 03/18/18
Updated: 03/19/18

Captainís Corner: Cold causes spiny lobsters to go into hiding

The cold front that ended Wednesday drove the offshore bottom temperatures back down into the low 60s. On dives Friday, my dive computer read 62 degrees at the bottom in 54 feet of water. On the next dive it read 60 in 62 feet. We were looking for ho...
Published: 03/18/18

Captainís Corner: Snook are the hot bite

Surface water temperatures have dipped into the low 60s, but the fish donít seem to mind. The longer days get the temperature up and helps keep it from getting into the danger zone at night. Snook have been the hot bite this past week and, believe it...
Published: 03/16/18
Updated: 03/17/18

It has been a crazy month regarding all the drastic weather changes. We experienced a record-breaking warming trend in February, followed by an endless amount of cold weather this month. The arrival times for many spring migrations of fish has been i...
Published: 03/16/18

Captainís Corner: Big trout moving out of the shallows

February seemed like March with record-breaking heat, but now March seems like February with below-average temperatures. This is a good thing. Spring fishing has started way too early in the past few years. The cold-water temperature we have now will...
Published: 03/14/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Captainís Corner: Temperature changes affect fly fishing

Having a fantastic river trip one day where we caught a lot of snook in shallow water on a fly and going back to the same location three days later and not finding any cooperative fish can be very puzzling. What happened? Recent warm weather was repl...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/14/18

Captainís Corner: Warming trend increasing activity over grass flats

Water temperatures have finally started to climb into the low 70s on the flats. The temperatures have been fluctuating with the past few cold fronts moving through. Large schools of reds should start showing up on the flats in the Pinellas Point area...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/13/18
Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

We traditionally look at two holidays to signal the start of trolling season for kingfish and Spanish mackerel along with their attendant migratory companions, blackfin tuna, cobia and barracuda. These are St. Patrickís Day (March 17) and Columbus Da...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/12/18

Captainís Corner: Spring fishing is getting close

When the weather settles down in the bay area, spring fishing should shift quickly into high gear. Just before the recent heavy winds arrived and churned the nearshore gulf into a muddy mess, seasonal migratory fish were showing up all over town. For...
Published: 03/10/18
Updated: 03/11/18

Captainís Corner: Trout return to their early spring areas

Cool air has filtered down, giving us hopefully the last cold blow for awhile. Recent fronts have shaken things up. But fishing has been good considering the weather. Trout have pushed into their early spring areas, basically where they were five wee...
Published: 03/10/18