It's the same story year after year: Anglers trying to catch one of the most sought-after game fish in the world are plagued by unwanted species. For tarpon fishermen, that means sharks … and sometimes catfish. Though sharks are generally undesirable to those seeking tarpon, there are anglers who prefer to catch sharks. And though their numbers might be few, I really don't know who might want to catch a catfish. Tampa Bay and the gulf beaches are noted for an abundance of tarpon during May and June. Tampa Bay was once known in commercial circles as the shark capital of the world. The fish houses around John's Pass processed and sold more sharks than any other port in the world, but that was years ago. The commercial industry might be gone from the area, but the shark stocks remain and are improving. Because schools of tarpon and mackerel are close to the beaches, expect to see and catch a fair amount of sharks. First, locate the schools that sharks might be feeding on. Then it's a matter of offering a large fresh bait and being patient for a bite. Last June we were successful on every shark fishing excursion we took. Often we were rewarded with either a big hammerhead or a massive bull shark. You can almost count on a flurry of blacktips and other smaller sharks.
Larry Blue charters the Niki Joe from Madeira Beach Marina. Call (727) 871-1058 or visit captainlarryblue.com.