What's hot: While the bulk of the tarpon migration has departed the North Pinellas area, there are enough still around to make a trip worthwhile. Some are being caught along the sandbars of Clearwater and Honeymoon Island where sight fishing is still possible. Further north the water is stained dark brown because of freshwater flow. Even in this low visibility water, tarpon can be caught.
Tips: When looking for tarpon on heavily stained flats, the key is spotting them finning or rolling on the surface. Even a light wind-chop will make seeing them harder. Your best chance is in calm water. In July there are typically two times in the day when the conditions are ideal: early morning and after a rainy squall. The latter is certainly harder to predict; we often run to a nearby marina or shelter on the shore then return after rain passes. The post-storm "slick-off" is one of the best times for tarpon fishing. Cooler water brings the fish to the top, there is little boat traffic, and you can see a fish roll hundreds of yards away. As it warms up and the breeze comes back the fish will sink but if you hit the window just right the fishing can be fantastic.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (727) 944-3474.