The biggest news in local fishing is the arrival of tarpon along Suncoast shores. While there have been tarpon in Tampa Bay for a month now, the fish are now appearing in good numbers along the beaches and deeper flats all the way to Hernando County.
Early season: Fishing along the beaches does not get real good until late May or June. This year, however, extended warm weather in April warmed the water quickly, and it appears the normal tarpon migration cycle has been moved up a few weeks. As the fish settle in along the coast, they will form schools of varying sizes. While the larger, more obvious schools might draw the attention of numerous boaters, there are almost always smaller or less apparent pods that can reward an observant angler.
Finding your own: There are many angles to locating tarpon. The first is obviously to go where there are fewer boats. Many anglers prefer to run to the best-known spots or where they see others fishing. This might get you some shots, but it seldom leads to more hookups. Having the first bait in front of a school of tarpon is key. Whenever possible, run the opposite direction as the other guys. You are far more likely to catch a tarpon with a school of 10 fish to yourself than 100 fish being chased by a group of boats. The same goes for time of day. Daybreak is nice, but often the fish bite best after the westerly sea breeze turns on and the gulf gets choppy. It is a little harder to see them, and the boat gets tossed around a little, but the fish bite really well and most tarpon anglers have gone home.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 944-3474.