The Tampa Bay Times
Late summer fishing can often mean hot stagnant conditions that can make you plenty uncomfortable. However, when the wind goes still this can be prime time to hunt down backwater tarpon.
Tampa bay holds plenty of tarpon this time of year, finding them requires slick calm conditions as the tarpon will surface more actively when the water is smooth. Target deep areas around all of the bridges, river mouths, creek mouths, deep holes around the Ports and definitely any bird activity that you come across.
Two popular methods for catching these fish would be casting plugs to surfacing or rolling fish and the other would-be soaking baits on the bottom where you see the fish rolling the most. Plug fishing can be excellent when the fish are active. Bottom fishing with cut mullet or mackerel will work when the sun gets high and the fish begin to refuse the plugs.
Juvenile tarpon in the 10-to-20-pound class can also be targeted right now. Back coves, residential canals and occasionally shallow flats will hold schools of smaller fish. Shallow diving plugs and weedless soft-plastic jerk baits will draw strikes at times from what can be pretty picky fish.
Redfish are schooling up on the new moon, target flats that have deep water nearby i.e. spoil islands and those that run along a channel edge. At times these schools will hang in the deeper water even on the high tide, a typical fall redfish pattern. Keep an eye out for mud spots that could give away the school’s location.