What's hot: Tarpon are migrating along the west coast beaches, holding in and around passes with strong tidal flows. The best place to find big numbers is along the beach in clear water. Look for large, dark shadows. Using a trolling motor, position the boat within casting range, and pitch baits in the path of fish.
Tips: I use a 12-foot cast net to throw for bait. This allows me to fill the well quickly and throw in deeper water. Catch a variety of bait. You never know what a tarpon will eat. Scaled sardines (whitebait) is the top choice. Threadfin herring (greenbacks) are just as good but are very sensitive and die quickly once their scales fall off. Crabs can be found floating on grass lines on outgoing tides. Use a long dip net to scoop them up. Pinfish usually end up in the cast net while you're throwing for sardines and herring.
Tactic: Approach schools with care. Running motors will spook tarpon. They will run to deeper water, making it difficult to sightcast. Use a push pole or trolling motor on the lowest setting to get close.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit captainrobgorta.com.