By Ed Walker
Tarpon fishing along the Gulf beaches is starting pick up. The fish are starting to get back to normal patterns after going offshore to spawn. They have been settling in along the beaches at night, laying up on the surface at daybreak, then moving south down the beach during most of the day.
There are some spots that the fish will gather with regularity along the beach in the early morning. There is usually something about such places that causes the fish to hold there. It may be a certain piece of bottom, slightly deeper water, or a hard edge. Hardbottom areas along otherwise sandy stretches of beach can also be very good. The deep hole off Blind Pass is a famous beach tarpon spot. Honeymoon Island has a similar manmade hole off its south end which holds a lot of tarpon at times and the channel on its north side has also been good this year. Indian Rocks beach has a lot of natural live and artificial bottom features and has many good staging spots.
One of the biggest factors in beach tarpon fishing right now is the great visibility. Getting the fish to bite when the water is super clear is tough. Using lighter leader, such as 60 lb fluorocarbon can help. A better solution however is to seek dirtier water and fish there. The bay water flowing out inlets on outgoing tides is a great place to present your bait and get a strike. Many times we have following fish that refused to bite in clean water only to have them turn on and grab everything we offer when they swim into the off color water.