The summer months are quickly approaching and the spring fishing will be winding down soon, but for now things are still looking pretty good as usual this time of the year.
Tarpon- Well, it’s that time of the year again and the talk of tarpon can be heard just about anywhere you go from Clearwater south to Boca. It’s no secret that Tampa bay and the Egmont/Skyway area has become a major attraction for tarpon chasers looking to stay clear of Boca Grande, yet still get the same thrill. The bite has been pretty consistent as of late May and will only get better over the coming weeks. Taking a look forward on the tide charts, I’m seeing a very good tarpon day on Monday the 13th with a 2.3 foot noon high tide and a -0.3 7:32 pm low. These are the days that I like. The moon will be at 88 percent and about 4 days from full, a time when the tides are faster and a major flushing of the crabs really turns on the bite. From my experience, those afternoon fast tides prior to a full June moon have proven to be the best to score big time tarpon action.
Right now we are catching poons in the 80 pound range, with some 120 pound plus fish occasionally showing up. Threadfins & crabs have both been effective around any structure and along the beaches nearest the pass. For low current areas along the inner beaches, jigs or threadfins may be a better choice. As we move further into June, look for many of the bigger tarpon to find their way ashore.
A good 7-8ft. heavy action spinning rod with 50 pound standing line and 80lb. fluorocarbon leader will do the trick. If you can break away for a day between now and June 13th, grab your crab nets and I’ll see you out there. You’ll still be in the action after June 13th, but again, the best tide of the month is falling around that date.
Snook- They just aren’t as wide spread as they were, but this time of the year a good majority of them are in the passes during the day and under docks lights at night. I’m still seeing a decent selection of early morning snook in the bay on the flats and in the mangroves. Look for them rolling on and off the deeper ledges and sitting in deeper holes, but come 9am on the flats it’s adios amigos. Moving water is the key to a successful trip.
Trout- Most of my success has been at sunrise and sunset over the last week or so. They are taking readily to top water popper style plugs in the early morning. Though the snook may vanish by 9am, this is when you can go after the trout by moving to deeper water. I like to switch from the popper plugs to a jig tipped with a fresh shrimp tail. Fort Desoto has been producing nice size trout, as well as the flats around Weedon Island.
Redfish- You are likely to get some reds right alongside the early morning trout and snook. I’ve caught a few while working my top water popper for trout, but cut bait will do a better job. As with the great tides for the tarpon coming around the 13th, look for the extra low evening tides to really showcase tailing reds. Weedon Island, Cockroach bay and Joe’s island have been good spots for me.
Bait- There is plenty of it! Sardines are finishing their spawn and heading to deeper water, but there are still pockets of them to be found. Threadfins are plentiful throughout the bay, both on the flats and in deeper water, but they are quickly moving out into the deeper water of the bay. Hopefully, they’ll hang around for the full season this year and be plentiful through late September or October. There are also plenty of pinfish in a variety of sizes on virtually every grass flat throughout the bay, and of course, the pass crabs are in full force.
Happy Fishing and Keep your Tip up!