Florida Fishing Report: Florida Fishing Charters

Our Florida fishing report page offers up to date information on fishing in the Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, Orlando and Boca Grande area of Florida's West Coast. For more information on our Florida fishing charters and tarpon fishing charters, please click the link below

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Silver Lining

LtoR: Aaron Woo, Brian, and Jerry Corcoran. Getter dun 101.

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The summer doldrums are upon us, but don’t tell the giant tarpon of Tampa Bay that. The spring of 2005 once again saw some late passing cold fronts that set the tarpon back in mid and late April. Father Time prevailed over Mother Nature. What followed was tens of thousands of giant tarpon in the likes that we have not seen in southwest Florida in near a decade.

Anglers to the north were not as fortunate as a severe and prolonged red tide epidemic plagued the beaches and the lower portion of Tampa Bay. Tarpon are survivors from the Jurassic period and have not made it this far by swimming in tainted waters. Likely the algae bloom pushed more fish to the south in clean emerald green waters. Red tide is a natural phenomenon that has been around since recorded history. We have had to deal with red tide many times in the past 5 years during the critical stages of the tarpon migration. This year we got a break and I more than obliged the fish god’s offerings. You’ve got to make hay when the sun is shinning.

Chief deck officer in charge, Brian Timmons prepares to release yet another giant tarpon aboard the Bounty Hunter

I returned to the Tampa Bay area late in the first week of July. My preliminary scouting trips revealed no indication that red tide was still present in the Bay. I searched several days looking for the silver kings in hopes that they would come into their summer haunts. At first things did not look promising. Then they showed. There still remain effects of the bloom in the lower Bay. From mid bay and upwards, the water is clean and the staple bait is intact. I remain uncertain whether more fish will make it back into the bay this year, however, there are more than enough fish here now to “getter dun”.

Tarpon migrate to our shoreline in the spring as part of their spawning ritual. After spawning is completed, the fish migrate to the north. Many of these fish “break off” into the larger harbors, sounds, rivers and bays to forage on the potpourri of bait in these areas. Where there is bait, there likely will be tarpon. Keeping up with the tides and the location of the bait is critical in finding the tarpon as it all changes daily. Every day is different with fish showing well one day and on hiatus the next.

LtoR: Timmy Longnecker, Brian, Sam Longnecker and Karen Longnecker pause for a quick photo
before releasing Timmy's big moo moo.

I am having my best success with throwing slow sinking MirrOluresä at the fish and the surrounding areas of bait. Tarpon seem to bring out an array of anglers of all social classes and this type of tarpon fishing may not be for everybody. Then again, tarpon are not for everybody to start with. The fishing almost always involves “staking out” and waiting for periods of time for the fish to move by or surface. Sometimes we wait and then we wait some more. On a good day, hours of boredom are shattered when the king goes bad. The water is shallow and the fish tend to dance like ballistic missiles in the harmonic symphony of chaos. Another giant has fallen helpless by the lure of plastic and a sharp hook designed in “impale” the beast. To most, there is little more satisfying in fishing or in life.

Short of any adverse weather, expect the giant tarpon to remain a viable target well into September. It’s not too late to test your mettle against the giant silver gladiator.

Thank you Megalops atlanticus for all you do!

Screaming Drags and Tired Arms!

Robert McCue



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Florida Fishing Report

Last Update 29JUL05
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