What's hot: The annual summer migration of tarpon along the Gulf beaches has been a little later than normal. Heavy winds have kept the schools from settling into their usual pattern. Typically by mid May tarpon show up along the beaches from Clearwater to Sarasota, but so far the numbers have been limited. Big migratory schools should appear soon, but for now anglers can still get big tarpon near the beach if they are crafty with their approach and target individual fish.
Tips: To target a fish, you need clear water. Odds are you will not see a single fish roll at the surface enough to make a cast. Look for highways where the fish are traveling, then find the shallowest and cleanest part of it. Sand bar edges or grass-to-sand edges are some of the best. Channel edges can also be good. Once you establish that there is a flow of fish passing a spot, anchor the boat in position to observe it. Stand ready to cast and wait for a fish to pass. Often the fish will veer off course and toward the boat. Cast ahead of the fish in its path. If it does not bite, wait for the next one. Small crabs or thread herring fished 3 feet below a float are my favorites for sight-casting live baits.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at email@example.com or at (727) 944-3474.