Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Captains corner: Picky tarpon under bridges; kings and snapper are good offshore bets

Inshore: St. Petersburg tackle shop owner and tarpon guru Larry Mastry reports that multiple catches are coming from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Mastry likes to use pass crabs during the new and full moon "hill" tides when the extreme tides drag the crabs out of the bay. Tarpon can be seen gulping these small crabs without hesitation, and when this phenomenon occurs, it's hard to get the tarpon to eat anything else.

Offshore: Believe it or not, kingfish are still in the area. Dave Zalewski is catching kings using No. 2 or 3 planers with large silver spoons in the ships channel and over many of the artificial reefs. Snapper action is good in the 90-foot range. Mangrove, yellowtail, lane and American red are eating frozen sardines and pinfish. If the snapper bites are hard to come by, Zalewski suggests downsizing the tackle to a 2-ounce sinker and a 2/0 or 3/0 circle hook on 20-pound tackle. Gag grouper and scamp are being caught at the same depth with regularity. Start using frozen sardines until the bite slows, then offer live baits to spark the action once again.

Landlubber: Anglers on the toll bridges to Fort De Soto Park at Pinellas County's southern end are jigging every morning and evening for pompano, Spanish mackerel and just about everything else. Most are using heavy ¾-ounce yellow or pink Silly Willy or Doc's Goofy Jigs. Waders around the Pinellas Point area are finding redfish and snook on the oyster beds at high tide. Scaled sardines are the favorite live bait, while a gold spoon is the best artificial choice. The Skyway fishing piers, especially the north pier, are loaded with tarpon and cobia at night. Both can be seen ambushing greenbacks in the shadows. Rig heavy for these bruisers.

TournamentS: Team Kyle Hehenberger won the second Hill Tide Tarpon Tournament put on by the Suncoast Tarpon Roundup. In the race to be the first to weigh a fish, Hehenberger beat Team Super Dave Laggner and Justin Marlow, and Jason Gell and Team G-Force.

The 38th Old Salt Loop Tournament, being held this year in conjunction with the Mike Alstott Family Foundation Inshore/Offshore Shootout, starts with the captains meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Vinoy Marina in St. Petersburg. Loop tournament fishing begins Thursday at midnight and ends the morning of July 11 with a "weigh-in" later in the day. Fishing for the Alstott event is July 11 only. For information, call (727) 439-7945 or visit

Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376 or

Captains corner: Picky tarpon under bridges; kings and snapper are good offshore bets 07/02/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 2, 2009 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Buccaneers-Vikings Turning Point, Week 3: Overreaction vs. reality


    "None of us really know how this group of 53 guys is going to come together and how we're going to play this season."

    Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs torched a porous Bucs secondary Sunday with eight catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns. [Getty Images]
  2. Jake Dotchin on rule violation: 'It's hurting me'


    While defenseman Jake Dotchin continues to practice with the Lightning, it's uncertain when - or if - he'll get any preseason action.

    Jake Dotchin violated an unspecified team rule, which is why he hasn't played in the first four games.
  3. PolitiFact: Trump's Mostly False claim that NFL ratings are 'way down'


    The statement

    "NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country."

    Quarterback Jameis Winston is sacked during the first half of the Bucs' 34-17 loss to the Vikings on Sunday. (LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times)
  4. Bucs couldn't connect on or stop deep passes in loss to Vikings


    If two things were established as storylines entering Sunday's Bucs-Vikings game, it was that Tampa Bay was still struggling to establish the deep passes that were missing from its offense last year, and that …

    Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) gets into the end zone for a long touchdown reception as Bucs free safety Chris Conte (23) cannot stop him during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Nine Gators, including Antonio Callaway and Jordan Scarlett, face felony fraud accusations


    Nine Florida Gators face at least 62 potential felony charges on accusations of credit card fraud. 

    Star receiver Antonio Callaway is among at least four Florida Gators who face potential felony charges on accusations of fraud.