What's hot: Tarpon fishing is heating up. The best action is during the afternoon outgoing tide. This is when crabs flow out of the passes, and the tarpon are waiting to feast. The action is even better when the tide flows hard and the wind blows out of the west. The strong tide pushes the boat west, and the west wind keeps the boat from drifting faster than the bait. When you free-line the crabs in front of the boat, the westerly wind helps make the crabs drift naturally into the path of the tarpon. Tackle should be in the 50-pound class, and hooks should be 4 to 6/0. Drift areas where you see tarpon rolling on the surface.
Pro tips: Skyway bridge and Egmont Key are two of the best areas to free-line crabs for tarpon. Start your drift up current of the boats that are fishing. Drift through the area while looking for rolling fish. When tarpon roll in front of your drift, make sure you have a few free-lined crabs drifting in front of the boat. Let the tarpon strike the crab and wait until the rod bends and line starts to burn off the reel. This is when you set the hook and prepare for a jump. Point the rod at the tarpon when it jumps. If the rod is bent during a jump, more times than not, the tarpon will throw the hook.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.