Tarpon hunting: For most people, tarpon fishing ends as we get into July. But for some anglers, this is the halfway mark of their fishing. Plenty of tarpon will be around until the first cold fronts arrive in October. During the summer, tarpon can be caught in several places from south of Boca Grande to north of Anclote Key, though they may not be in schools as big as they are during May and June.
Where to look: Pods of fish are moving north and south along the beaches. Several tarpon also are inside Tampa Bay and in Charlotte Harbor. Do not overlook the fish around the major bridges that span Tampa Bay. I have also spotted several small pods of tarpon around the stilt houses of New Port Richey.
Tactics: It's important to take a stealth approach to tarpon, which spook easily. A trolling motor or push pole is a must. When it comes to the tarpon along the beach, a small live crab, pinfish or live thread fin works best. When fishing inside the bay or a harbor, use a slow-sinking lure. Try to match the hatch with the baitfish in the area; that is, choose a lure close to the size and color of the baitfish.
Mike Manning runs Action Fishing Adventures out of Tarpon Springs. Call him toll-free at 1-800-644-5940.