What's hot: The annual Suncoast Tarpon Roundup is coming to a close (Saturday for many divisions; Finale Day is July 25), and the second year of its all-release format has produced some impressive numbers. Jeff Owens is the regular division and overall leader with 48 releases. Robin Murphy tops the women's division with 27 releases. The landlubber division is led by Frank Vainis with 25 releases, impressive fishing from a fixed structure. Ashley Templeton, 14, heads the juniors with 11 releases. Additional prizes will be awarded to qualified anglers during fishoffs today in the junior division and next weekend for the top qualifiers in the regular division.
What's next: Though the 10-week tournament is over, there will be plenty of tarpon activity this month and next. There are fish in Tampa Bay and a good flow of migrating tarpon along the gulf beaches. On recent trips, we have jumped many of our tarpon while "blind" fishing. Anchoring along the edge of a sandbar (running parallel to the beach), chumming and offering fresh dead shad on the bottom has been effective even when not seeing a lot of fish rolling on the surface.
Tips: Take a lot of bait and check often. Schools of ravenous pinfish have been whittling away baits intended for the tarpon, sometimes taking just 15 minutes to eat them off the hook.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 321-2142.