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Captain's Corner

Captain's Corner: Tarpon tips

What's hot: Tarpon are migrating down the west coast beaches. Watch for silver flashes as fish roll. Anchor off the beach and wait. Have the anchor attached to an anchor ball, so you do not have to waste time pulling it in. Pods of fish will eventually move right toward you. Once you find a pod, throw the anchor ball and get into position, but be careful not to disturb the fish.

Tactic: Approach pods of tarpon with care. Use a push pole or a trolling motor on the lowest setting to get close enough to cast to the fish. Running outboard motors will make them head to deeper water, making it difficult to sightcast the pods.

Bait: I use a 12-foot cast net to throw for bait. This allows me to fill the well quickly and to throw in deeper water. Scaled sardines, also known as "whitebait," is everyone's top choice. Threadfin herring ("greenbacks") are just as good but are very sensitive and die quickly once their scales fall off. Crabs can be found floating on grass lines on outgoing tides. Use a long dip net to scoop them up.

Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit

Captain's Corner: Tarpon tips 05/13/13 [Last modified: Monday, May 13, 2013 6:14pm]
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