What's hot: Strong tides associated with the recent full moon have inspired feeding activity among game fish. Late-afternoon outgoing tides are still flushing millions of pass crabs out of the estuaries, through the passes and into the gulf. Tarpon eat in passes such as at Egmont Key and Boca Grande Pass, but there is another, lesser-known crab bite going on farther offshore. When the crab run is on, great numbers of permit move to nearshore wrecks to gorge on the surface-swimming crustaceans.
Finding fish: Some of the best permit spots are the reefs and wrecks off Bradenton and Sarasota. It is common to find them within 3-4 miles of shore. Farther north, most of the better spots are 8-15 miles out. Wrecks with the tallest profile are usually best, but not always. On calm days, it is often possible to see the fish finning on the surface or shining under water as they turn on their sides. When they're not visible, simply drift free-lined live crabs over the structure to draw strikes from fish lower in the water column.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (727) 944-3474.