What's hot: August and September are often overlooked for tarpon fishing, but along the west coast beaches there is plenty of action from Boca Grande to Anclote Key, as well as the major bridges around Tampa Bay. My favorite way of catching these giant silverkings is sight casting to rolling fish with artificial plugs on the flats of Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor.
Tips: Fishing the bridges at night for tarpon is very productive. Tarpon travel the shadow lines of the bridge looking for an easy meal. An easy way to catch them is to anchor under the bridge about 6 feet from the edge of the shadow line on the uptide side of the bridge. From under the bridge you can see the tarpon traveling the shadow line, and can cast bait in front of the fish. Use any type of live bait — pinfish, threadfins, whitebait or ladyfish.
Sight fishing in the flats is a little bit harder than around the bridge. Tarpon follow schools of bait fish, so search for the large schools of bait fish. Once you locate some fish take a stealthy approach because they are very spooky. The best baits are 3- to 4-inch hard or soft plastic slow-sinking swim baits.
Mike Manning runs Action Fishing Adventures out of Tarpon Springs. Call him toll-free at 1-800-644-5940.