The Tampa Bay Times

his is when during our tarpon season we may have to change our strategy a bit to remain productive.  Tarpon returning from spawning offshore will break up into smaller batches, pairs, and even singles as they migrate along our gulf beaches.  Rather than idling up and down the beach looking for schools to sight cast to, time may be better spent anchoring, chumming and letting them come to you.  Known as “edge” fishing, this technique requires anchoring along the edge of the sandbar that runs parallel to the beach.  Figuring out the depth the majority of fish are traveling in on any given day is key.  Pay attention to fish rolling on the surface then adjust if need be.  Though fresh dead shad is my favorite bait when soaked on the bottom, they’ve not been readily available this year.  Mullet, ladyfish, mackerel, pinfish, grunts and large greenbacks can substitute.  I like offering a couple live baits suspended beneath corks in my spread to cover more of the water column.  You’ll notice that many of those roe laden females we were seeing earlier in the season shed some pounds while offshore.  Don’t be fooled.  What they may have lost in weight – they’ve made up for in heart.  They’re lean and mean now and willing to oblige anyone looking for a fight.

Captain Jay Mastry