What's hot: As the full moon approaches, migratory tarpon gather in large schools along west Florida beaches. Research suggests they run offshore to spawn during June's full moon. When they make this long journey, it is usually in massive schools, moving fast and seldom slowing to feed. Within a few days of their departure, however, these post-spawn schools start returning to the coast, providing some of the best fishing of the year.
Tips: Where the tarpon return to varies from year to year. Start by looking farther off the beach than normal. The best tarpon fishing we ever had took place 4 miles offshore and lasted three days. Generally, they will stage a mile or so offshore. Watch for free-jumping fish, which often give away the location. And don't expect to see dense schools splashing at the surface. Post-spawn schools are often loosely grouped and cover a wide area. Once you get in them, though, you are surrounded. So leave the motor off and drift or use a trolling motor to maneuver. We prefer drifting live-thread herring. But crabs, pinfish and scaled sardines will work.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at (727) 944-3474.