Sunday, June 17, 2018
Outdoors

Captains corner: Tarpon can be cooperative or finicky

What's hot: The recent new moon sparked tarpon action. One day they may be stacked up at the Skyway Bridge, the next jammed in the passes either on the north or south end of Egmont Key, and yet another they may be staged up on Bean Point (north end of Anna Maria Island). Tides and the moon phase often dictate where they can be found. Easterly winds have provided ideal conditions for locating tarpon along the gulf beaches. From Sand Key in Clearwater to Longboat Key in Sarasota and beyond, schools of tarpon can be seen rolling on the surface as they migrate along the coast.

Tip: Some schools of tarpon are cooperative, show often and are relatively easy to track. Many, however, show only once or twice. Because it's difficult to sightcast to those that aren't showing, a different approach may be required. Pay particular attention to the depth and bearing of the majority of fish you see rolling and anchor accordingly.

Technique: Some bites have been on live baits suspended beneath corks. But most have been on fresh dead shad fished on the bottom. If you're seeing a fair flow of fish going by, there's a bunch sneaking by that you're not seeing, so "blind fishing" is a viable option.

Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.

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