For some, this year’s tarpon season is winding down. For others, we’re right in the thick of it. Sight casters’ opportunities begin to diminish as we get deeper into the season. Many of the big schools have broken up. Singles, pairs and smaller pods will become the norm. Many will push up into the bays and backwaters. Now is when “dredging” can become most effective. Through August, big numbers of tarpon will migrate up and down gulf beaches. Some will show on the surface while others will sneak by undetected. Now is when I like to ”edge” fish. Anchoring just outside the swim buoys can get you in the flow. We’ll fish six or eight rods cast in all directions and adjust the depth we’re sitting in if need be. Sometimes, moving the distance of a cast can pay big dividends. Use fresh dead shad if you can get them — nothing works better. Ladyfish, mullet, pinfish and grunts would be a distant second choice. Chum hard and check baits often. Pinfish and crabs are at times a nuisance and can whittle your offerings down to the skeletal remains.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.