Tarpon return, other species taking the hook
Although tarpon took a brief hiatus from our waters after Tropical Strom Colin they are definitely back and in greater numbers, too.
The sand bars of Passage Key and Bean Point are hot to hundreds of fish — if you’re there at the right time. Stealth plays a major role when fishing these clear, shallow waters in hopes of a bite. Keeping you distance from the fish and trying to stay as quiet as passible will definitely increase your odds of hooking up. If you’re not into fishing the bars, the passes around Anna Maria and Egmont Key are also productive. Casting live crabs to these fish pre-dawn is proving to be the best tactic.
Finally, finding schooling fish along the beaches in depths of 10-20 feet is a great scenario for casting live threadfins or shiners to the school.
On my own trips with Southernaire Fishing Charters I’m migrating toward other species of fish besides tarpon. Fishing local rock piles, reefs and wrecks is providing sizzling action on mangrove snapper and especially flounder. And in the backcountry catch-and-release snook fishing remains exceptional. Rallies of schooley fish are common with many catches of slot and over-slot fish.
Finally, spotted sea trout are still being found over deep grass areas. Slot and over-slot trout are readily taking live shiners free-lined or under a cork. Mixed in with this bite are Spanish mackerel, bluefish and jack crevalle.