The Tampa Bay Times

It’s late May and around here it means tarpon time.  I’ve seen as many tarpon inside Tampa Bay this past week as I can recall.  The new moon phase we’re just coming off of had lots to do with it.  It’s had them bunched up at Bean Point, the north end of Anna Maria and the north and south passes at Egmont.  There are going to be tarpon at the Skyway Bridge all summer and particularly on the days surrounding the new and full moons these next two or three months.  On days when the fish are showing good and rolling on the surface it’s easy to figure out where to concentrate your drifts.  When they’re not, those in the know will cruise along the bridge using their side scanner to see which sets of pilings the fish are bunched up in.  When anchored and tarpon fishing these strong tides, adding a split shot on your leader can at times make a difference on your fly-lined baits.  Split shots come in a variety of sizes, strength of the tide will dictate how big to use.  The new moon has long been a favorite time of mine to mangrove snapper fish.  Bait is the key and right now much of what we’re catching is too big for the mangos.  Full grown greenbacks and whitebait are abundant but better suited for tarpon or kingfish.  Anchoring and chumming has been necessary to get enough three inch whitebait to go with on most of my favorite bait flats lately.

Captain Jay Mastry