What's hot: Tranquil weather over the past week has helped to kick backwater tarpon fishing into high gear. Slick, calm mornings have made it easy to spot rolling tarpon whether you're prospecting deep residential canals along the Intracoastal Waterway or perennial holding spots in Tampa Bay.
Tactics: Finding the fish is the easy part. Convincing them to eat is a different story. Laid-up tarpon are often lazy and unaggressive, so accurate casts are a must when using plugs or fly-casting. Paying attention to how the fish breach the surface will dictate your cast and retrieve. Choosing a lure that matches the dive rate of the fish will increase your strikes. Most often tarpon dive straight to the bottom, so many strikes come on the fall.
Options: When tarpon fishing gets slow in the afternoon, ducking underneath a bridge to cool off sounds good. Add the presence of 20- to 40-pound barnacle-crushing black drum and it starts sounding really good. These brutes aren't as picky as tarpon and will go for a quarter of fresh blue crab fished on either a traditional fish finder rig or a heavy enough jig head to hold in the current.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email firstname.lastname@example.org.