What's hot: Tarpon fishing remains good throughout Tampa Bay, where loose packs have established holding areas and should remain there until the first cold fronts of the fall. Light winds this week have made it easy to spot rolling fish. Look for areas of bait where the terns and pelicans are working the surface. Bridges, deep harbors and river mouths all attract good-sized fish but don't overlook open water areas between the bridge spans.
Tackle: These fish readily pounce on a well-presented D.O.A. Baitbuster, but the more consistent tactic is fishing on the bottom with fresh mullet, ladyfish or shad. Use an 8 to 10/0 circle hook, depending on the size of the bait, to ensure a good hookup and an 80- to 100-pound leader to help prevent against cutoffs from sharks.
Tidbits: Cobia are around in good numbers. Check the channel markers throughout Tampa Bay as well as inshore artificial reefs. Spanish mackerel are also a good option off area beaches. These fish are easily chummed up with live and cut whitebait, which can be found along the beach where the water in the swash channel is clean.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.