The Tampa Bay Times
Beach tarpon fishing has been good the past couple of days and should really get good by the end of the week. East winds are in the forecast, making for calm clean conditions off the beach. Migrating schools of tarpon can be seen moving both north and south right now, this is typical after the last full moon. Some schools will still be moving slowly as they daisy chain down the beach, but the majority of the fish will be moving along at a pretty good clip.
The tarpon have been easiest to spot in that first hour of daylight, this is the time when the fish are “happy”, often they can be seen milling and slowly drifting with the tide. A well placed cast with a live pinfish, threadfin, scaled sardine or crab will usually draw a strike this time of day. Once the sun is a bit higher the fish don’t show as much, but are still there. Anchoring up in the same lanes where you have been spotting fish and keeping fresh baits out is a good option. Keep one rod baited and ready in case fish pop up out of you spread.
Eight foot rods are great for this style of fishing they allow for long casts and the long bend helps to keep fish hooked up. A reel spooled with 250 yards of fifty pound braid is a must, especially when two fish are hooked at the same time. 60 or 80 pound fluorocarbon finished off with a 7/0 circle hook completes the rig. Best bait lately has been jumbo threadfins, but put out whatever you have, pumpkinseeds, big scaled sardines and pinfish will all work along with live crabs.