Thursday, January 18, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Tarpon still strong

What's hot: Tarpon fishing is still among the best bets until the opening of recreational gag grouper season in less than a week steals some of that thunder. Action has been widespread, and techniques have varied. Land-based anglers on Redington Long Pier have continued to get their share, and the gulf beaches from Clearwater to Longboat Key have remained productive. Techniques include sight-casting using fly rods, plugs and live bait (small crabs or large minnows) thrown ahead of approaching schools.

Technique: At this time of year, when many huge schools begin breaking into smaller bunches and don't show as well on the surface, "blind" fishing becomes more productive. Tarpon often use the edge of sandbars parallel to beaches in their migratory pattern. Often, anchoring in 11-15 feet and just outside the swim buoys will put anglers right in their path whether they see many fish rolling or not. Try using fresh dead shad on the bottom in this scenario, but live baits can be equally productive.

Tips: A bunch of silver kings have moved back into Tampa Bay. Bay tarpon tend to roam, often in large groups. One week they might be in the G-Cut, the next week maybe at Gadsen Point, the following week in the Bootleg. We jumped 14 tarpon on a recent trip and two days later never saw one roll.

Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.

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