What's hot: Tarpon and pompano are here in numbers, from upper Tampa Bay to Egmont Key and all along our beaches. Pompano are biting Doc's Goofy Jigs or Silly Willy Jigs at the Howard Frankland, Gandy and Tierra Verde bridges. Bunces, Pass-a-Grille, Blind's and Dunedin passes are holding good numbers of pompano and tarpon. Pompano will hit on any moving tide, whereas next week's full moon tides will have the tarpon going off the wall to eat any crab placed in their path.
Techniques: Pompano jigging is easy and fun, casting upcurrent and jigging the 3/8- or ½-ounce jig on the bottom. When jigging at the bridges, a straight up-and-down jigging motion near the pilings is best, and when in the passes a longer cast jigging toward you is best. Tackle can be light; pompano do not have teeth, so 20-pound leader is enough and 10- to 15-pound gear (rod and reel) is plenty. Tarpon fishing will require heavier tackle. Be at ready while in the passes; you never know when a pod will be right next to your boat.
Tips: While pompano fishing, have a crab net near; the outgoing tide will have many small blue crabs or pass crabs floating by. Hook up a crab and keep it at ready to cast at passing tarpon, or gather enough crabs when your creel is full of pompano and you'll be ready to hit the beach for tarpon.
Jackie Otto can be reached at Betts Fishing Center (727) 518-7637 or firstname.lastname@example.org.