New-moon tarpon fishing can be among the most productive times of the season, and we’re right in the middle of one. The new and full moon phases each month feature the strongest late-afternoon outgoing tides. Tarpon instinctively know and gather in traditional spots. The often finicky eaters become more aggressive and gorge on crabs and other bait flushed from the bays and backwaters. Bean Point, Southwest Pass and the “hole” on the north end of Egmont Key are among the top spots. The major bridges likely will see increased activity, particularly the Skyway. Be versatile, each day might vary. Some days they prefer a fly-lined greenback. Other days anchoring and “chunking” works better. That’s continually chumming with fresh cut chunks of bait, then dropping your hooked chunk back in the tide, letting it drift naturally with your chum chunks. There will be days when all they want are crabs. Drifting crabs through the bridge pilings can be effective. Proper presentation is key. Always allow your crab to drift naturally. Tarpon seldom hit one dragging backward and upside down behind the boat. Pitch it just uptide and allow it to drift along with you in the tide. You’ll often see an increase in the flow of tarpon along the gulf beaches during this phase. Sight-casting to them or anchoring and letting them come to you can be equally effective.

Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.

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