What's hot: Tarpon continue to be my main target. Start at first light and fill the well with threadfin herring, then run to a beach and look for rolling fish. I use a high definition GPS trolling motor that has a tracking function, which prevents me from running into schools. It also has an anchor function that holds me in place while I wait for schools to approach my position. When I see fish coming down the beach, I use the remote control to get me into the correct position to make a cast at the school.
Tackle: Don't use gear that is too light. Use rods rated to 100 pounds with large-capacity spinning reels and heavy line. Braided line cannot handle the shock, so I start with a loose setting. Once the fish makes an initial run, I get aggressive and start tightening the drag. The faster a tarpon is landed, the better it is for the fish. Lighter tackle and two-hour battles tire the fish too much and it could die from total exhaustion.
Sharks: Large bull sharks have moved in with the schools of tarpon. They know when tarpon are exhausted and will attack right next to the boat. These fish are very aggressive and will attack anything in sight. When a shark is seen, I will break the line and let the tarpon run.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit captainrobgorta.com.