Tarpon focus: Anglers from across the globe travel to the bay area in search of tarpon, which can be caught from piers, docks, roadside ditches, bridges, bays, rivers, beaches, passes, canals and jetties. Though the popular fish can be taken using a variety of tackle, they can break all that gear, too.
Activity: Tarpon migrate to the area and aggregate in passes as part of their reproduction cycle. Then the fish will separate into schools according to readiness in spawning maturity. In the afternoons, these schools head offshore to spawn. The fish return to the shoreline under cover of darkness. At dawn, they migrate down the beaches once again as they head back to the passes to repeat the cycle.
Techniques: Options abound. Anglers can sight fish with live bait or artificial lures, use a fly, pitch or drift bait around structures or anchor and use dead bait.
Pro logic: Use a passive approach. It is important to be as nonintrusive as possible to the tarpon's patterns and prespawning rituals. Anglers should take turns lining up in front of and in the path of approaching fish. Allowing tarpon to come to you will produce bites. Permitting the fish to pass and waiting for the next boat to make its presentation before heading back to the end of the line will preserve the fish's temperament.
Robert McCue can be reached toll-free at 1-800-833-0489 or online at gianttarpon.com.