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Captain's Corner

Captains Corner: Scout for tarpon near gulf beaches at first light

What's hot: Tarpon continue to be my main target. I start at first light and fill the well full of threadfin herring. I run to a beach and look for rolling fish. I use a high-definition global positioning system trolling motor with a track function that keeps me on course and prevents me from running into schools. It also has an anchor function that holds me in one place to await schools approaching my position. When I see fish coming down the beach, I use the remote control to get into the correct position to make a cast at the school.

Tackle: I use the appropriate tackle needed to land fish more than 100 pounds. Many anglers are using gear that is too light. Rods should be rated for 100-pound line, and spinning reels should have a large-line capacity to hold heavy braided line. Braided line cannot handle the shock, so I start with a loose drag setting. Once the fish makes its initial run, get aggressive and start tightening the drag. The faster a tarpon is landed, the better it is for the fish. Lighter tackle and two-hour battles tire out the fish too much and could end in death from total exhaustion.

Sharks: I have had 15 tarpon attacked by bull sharks this year. They have moved in with the schools of tarpon. They know when tarpon are exhausted and will attack right next to the boat. One shark even bumped my trolling motor twice. When a shark is seen in the area, break the line and let the tarpon run.

Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit

Captains Corner: Scout for tarpon near gulf beaches at first light 06/04/11 [Last modified: Saturday, June 4, 2011 7:33pm]
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