What's smokin': Tarpon are showing up everywhere, with monsters caught from the Redington Long Pier and countless silver kings caught and released at the Sunshine Skyway bridge.
Tarpon stack up in the passes on either end of Egmont Key, particularly around the new and full moon phases, and it will be even better in June and July. Easterly winds have calmed near-shore waters of the gulf, providing perfect conditions to locate schools of migrating tarpon along our beaches. Tarpon were caught on consecutive days over Memorial Day weekend working schools of fish a quarter-mile off Manatee County beaches. Offering a variety of bait seemed to be the key.
Mood swings: Tarpon can be particular about when and what they eat. Whenever possible, give them choices. One day at the Skyway they may prefer a small crab drifting through with the tide, the next a free-lined frisky greenback. When working schools along the beaches, mix it up. Anchor well ahead of the oncoming school and have a minimum of four dead bottom baits laid out. A couple of properly presented live baits will increase odds of a hookup when they reach you.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142