Inshore: Tarpon are cruising the beaches and working their way into the backwaters, drawn by an abundance of bait. Some will head to the Manatee River, and others into the Alafia River and the Hillsborough River inside old Tampa Bay. Traditionally, a herd will gather near Davis Island and roam with the glass minnows along Bayshore Boulevard and MacDill Air Force Base. A favorite spot is Gadsen Point, off the southern end of MacDill.
Check the major bridges, particularly at night. Tarpon cruise the light line waiting to ambush baits swept through the tide. Other silver kings like to work the bait schools hovering over hard-bottom spots between the bridges. Areas around Rocky Point have consistently held summer tarpon, as well as areas north of the Courtney Campbell when the "glassies" and schools of juvenile shad show up.
The St. Petersburg reef off Snell Isle is among the most productive of the artificial reefs in the bay. Don't overlook Clearwater, Boca Ceiga, and Sarasota bays. Tierra Ceia and Palma Sola bays, though relatively small, may hold the tarpon of a lifetime.
Offshore: Nearly every offshore report lately has included red snapper, and that trend is likely to continue. Go to 90 feet of water and beyond or the Pipeline area. On a recent trip to Southwest Pass near Egmont Key, Jeff Mastry and crew anchored and live chummed an impressive catch of mackerel.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.