Looking for a fight? Tarpon are willing to oblige and there continues to be a good flow along the Pinellas and Manatee County beaches. Large schools of migrating tarpon that we were able to sight-cast to will begin to thin. Singles, pairs and smaller bunches traveling along our gulf beaches will become the norm as they settle into their later-in-the-season pattern. Anchoring, chumming and letting them come to you becomes an affected method this time of year. While "blind" fishing, I like to add a live bait or two suspended beneath corks along with my presentation of dead shad fished on the bottom. Many tarpon have roamed well inside Tampa Bay. We jumped a half-dozen and let go a couple of monsters Thursday morning near Port Tampa, just north of the Gandy Bridge. Tides tend to run stronger in some of the cuts, channels and narrowed areas of the bay. On days of strong tidal flow, it might become necessary to add a crimp-on or rubber core sinker to help keep bottom baits in place. Around here, rarely do we consider targeting kingfish in July. For whatever reason, an extraordinary number of kings has lingered longer than usual. The furthest markers of the Egmont Channel have recently produced astonishing numbers.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.