Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Captain's Corner

Captain's Corner: The tarpon are near on the west coast of Florida, whether it's the Gulf of Mexico or Tampa Bay area bridges

What's hot: With strong westerly winds, beach fishing for tarpon has been hit or miss. Mornings with light winds have been best. Good numbers of tarpon are traveling the gulf beaches a few yards to a mile offshore. Typically, pods of four to 20 tarpon can be found rolling on the surface. Harder to spot but perhaps the better feeders are pods holding near the bottom in 10 to 20 feet. Look for gray areas resembling bait schools and muddy-water patches. A slow, quiet approach is important. All bay bridges are holding tarpon.

Equipment: Heavy 8-foot spinning tackle with 30-pound braid should work in shallow waters. Fishing around the bridges or in the deep passes may require heavier gear. An 8- to 9-foot "boat" rod matched with a 4/0 reel is a good choice. This tackle often doubles as a grouper rod. For the fly folks, a 12-weight rod with reel and line to match is the norm.

Bait: Popular choices are shad, threadfin herring, large whitebait (also known as horse minnows), pinfish and crabs. Drift the passes with a pass crab during falling tide. For the shallows, kill the engine a good distance from the pod and cast a bait in the pod's line of travel. Be patient.

Paul Hawkins runs FlatsGuy charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 560-6762.

Captain's Corner: The tarpon are near on the west coast of Florida, whether it's the Gulf of Mexico or Tampa Bay area bridges 06/06/09 [Last modified: Saturday, June 6, 2009 8:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals


    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'


    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

    Former Tampa Bay Lightning player center Brian Boyle (24), on the ice during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on March 16, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.