Prime time: The new and full moon periods for the coming month will provide the best opportunities for most inshore species. Leading that list are tarpon. They will peak in numbers as they migrate into Tampa Bay and along our beaches. Strong outgoing tides that reach maximum flow in the late afternoon provide the best opportunities. This is when blue and Calico "pass crabs" flush out of the back bays and creeks to spawn. The most popular area is the Egmont channel, but if you see an abundance of crabs coming out of any pass, tarpon are close by.
Techniques: A long-handled dip net is all you need to secure plenty of bait for an afternoon of fishing. It is best to disarm crabs by pinching off the top of the pincher on each claw, then hooking the crab out on the tip of the point of the shell. Most of the time, no weight is required, because the fish are feeding near the surface.
Tips: Boat position and a stealth approach are important. Setting up a good drift to avoid running the engine close to the fish is critical. Motor noise can turn off the bite and ruin the afternoon. Be courteous of other anglers, be patient, and you will get your chance to do battle with the silver king.
Troy P. Sapp with Fins and Tails Guide Service can be reached at (813) 920-6928.