What's hot: Sight casting to schools of tarpon along the gulf beaches can be a challenge. There are days when the fish will go out of their way to run down live bait flylined or suspended beneath a cork. Other days, you can't buy a bite on perfectly presented casts. It's frustrating to watch a school of fish part on either side of a cork and pass up the offerings. A different approach is sometimes the answer.
Technique: Each of the four tarpon we jumped Sunday working schools along Anna Maria passed up crabs, pinfish and greenbacks but preferred fresh dead shad. There will be days when tarpon won't chew anything. Offer a variety of baits to increase odds of a hookup. Anchoring well ahead of the school with a spread of five dead bottom baits and two live ones paid off.
Impressive catches: After nearly an hourlong battle and only one jump, Karen Nash of St. Petersburg released a monster silver king. We taped the girth at 42 inches, which, coupled with the 78-inch length, puts the roe-laden female at 185 pounds. On a recent trip off Longboat Key, Mark Wray and his group let one go that measured 44 inches around, which is consistent with a 200-pounder.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.