What's hot: Tarpon season has started on fire and is likely to get hotter around Thursday's full moon. Jeff Owens of St. Petersburg took the early lead of the all-release Suncoast Tarpon Roundup with three releases over the weekend. Owens used fresh dead shad presented on the bottom along the gulf beaches in Manatee County. Rick Skrovanek's 168-pounder led the West Coast Anglers Tarpon Roundup at Redington Long Pier. St. Petersburg's John McLay and his crew took the first leg of the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series in Boca Grande. The team caught and released a 210-pound behemoth silver king. This week, afternoon and evening outgoing tides will be among the best times to join in. The ripping tide associated with the full moon will pull crabs from the bay and tarpon will gather at the Sunshine Skyway and the passes on either side of Egmont to ambush the easy pickings.
Alternative method: Those less enthusiastic about fishing in a crowd can pick a stretch along our gulf beaches. Schools of migrating tarpon have been reported from Sand Key in Clearwater to Longboat Key in Sarasota and just outside the swim buoys that dot the coastline. Anchoring in their path with a presentation of live baits suspended beneath corks combined with fly-lined dead baits, preferably shad, on the bottom can often result in spectacular action.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 321-2142.