Tarpon: Reports of giant tarpon being hooked along our beaches have started to trickle in. Small pods of the "silver kings" can be spotted within a few hundred yards of shore, especially if the wind is out of the east, allowing the water's surface to stay smooth. Most baitfish will get their attention in the early part of this migration. I suggest a large threadfin herring or pinfish suspended under a float and tossed in their path.
Kingfish: We have been catching our limit in a matter of minutes each day. The hot spot is about 10 miles west of Clearwater Pass. The kings range from barely legal (24 inches, fork length) to 40 pounds. Schools of baitfish are luring in these speedy mackerels, as well as aggressive and entertaining spinner sharks, which often jump and spin.
Sailfish: A father-son team recently caught and released a huge sailfish in the same location as the kings. It inhaled a free-lined threadfin herring and tailwalked across the surface for about 10 seconds. After about 25 minutes the fish was brought alongside for a photo, then released.
Offshore: Grouper fishing remains strong 25 miles out and farther. There are fish in the shallower depths, but they are finicky due to the extra-clear water. As you travel deeper the hooks and leaders become less visible, allowing the action to increase. Amberjack are around wrecks in 80 feet of water and deeper. Watch for blackfin tuna; their biggest push has been reported 50 miles southwest of Egmont channel. They should arrive west of our area in the next day or two.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, jawstoo.com or (727) 595-3276.