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Key to Success? Timing
summer conditions have settled in. Adjustments of both man and fish
are now made to escape the heat and humidity of August. Early
mornings, late afternoons and the evenings are most comfortable/
productive for those seeking the silver lining of Florida gamefish.
Giant tarpon have for the most
part left the emerald green waters of the Gulf and have entered the
larger bays and rivers to feast on the potpourri of menhaden, herring,
and glass minnows. All the classic spots are holding fish that travel
with the bait schools throughout Tampa Bay. With another summer
experiencing above normal water temperatures, the fish have not been
showing as well as they have in years past. That is not to say they
are not here. Tarpon acting in this manner make difficult targets for
plug casters when they are not rolling. Unless you are absolutely
confident by fishing a determined pattern of the fish, fishing blind
with plugs can be some of the most tedious fishing there is. The time
tested methods of soaking fresh shad or freelining live baits is a lot
less work and more productive in these type of conditions. The major
bridges, dredge holes, submerged oyster bars, limestone dredge bars,
rocky points, river mouths and bends are holding fish from 80 to 150
lbs at this time. Each spot holds its own unique lunch hour, some are
best at low light, others best on particular phases of the tide. When
the time of day, moon phases, solunar periods and tides line up, late
summer tarpon fishing can easily surpass the more classic periods of
Giant tarpon cruise the shadows created by the bridge above--- just inches under the surface. Anglers staked out under the cover of the bridge and in the darkness wait for the fish to cruise the shadow line in search of an easy snack. Once a fish is sighted, the savvy angler pitches live or artificial bait just beyond the fish that will be swept across the tarpon’s nose. What happens next is nothing short of pure chaos. I have caught and fished tarpon in near everyway imaginable. Visions of the fish striking, rolling, moving and jumping in every way imaginable are daily flashbacks in my life. However, there is nothing that can compare to a 100lbs of silver fury eating just inches from your feet and locking eyeballs as they jump over your head. Like most late season tarpon fishing, knowing which bridges, at what time of year, what tides and how the fish move along the bridge during different phases of current flow are the staple in consistent fishing.
snook are still available along the beaches and in the passes. The
fish will now break up before they makeup in retreating to their fall
lairs. Pompano fishing has been slow deep inside Tampa Bay (likely due
to the influx of freshwater runoff). Pompano extraordinaires are doing
best in areas just inside of the major passes. Redfish have yet to
school in the numbers we see in most years at this time. Next week the
moon will go full and hopefully that will bring the masses to the
shoreline. “Late” or an “off” cycle is yet to be determined
By making your efforts based on the time of day that you are most comfortable and accompanied with hardened experience, you too may find the bounty of comfortable Florida gamefish just a stones throw from land.
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Last Update 14AUG02
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