What's hot: It's tarpon time, and if you've ever fished them, you know they can be moody. While it's true you could get a bite at any time — day or night — there are more productive times. Few fish seem more affected by moon phases and tidal flow. If fishing the Skyway Bridge or passes on either side of Egmont Key on days surrounding the full and current new moon phase, focus on the afternoon and evening outgoing tide. Crabs and other baits are swept from the bay on these stronger-than-normal tides, and tarpon instinctively gather to take advantage. When beach fishing — particularly on the full moon — sometimes I've struggled to get bites during the day but have rocked them at night.
Tips: The moon is critical because it influences the tides. Take note of not only the phases, but if it was rising or setting when you did well. I'm also a believer in solunar periods and will try to get at least one in a trip. I like that hour or two before and after tide changes as well.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.