Strong south winds all week have made it difficult to do much if any beach tarpon fishing, let alone any other type of fishing outside of the pass. However, tarpon are still a possibility.
Find those deepwater backbay haunts that might hold a few laid-up tarpon in the early morning.
Deep residential canals, canals with creeks dumping into them, dredged-out marinas and harbors, deep cuts between spoil islands and big basins that attract schools of threadfins or shad are all potential tarpon spots and most of these spots are still fishable when the wind is up. The one thing that these fish-holding environments have in common is that they offer deeper water than the surrounding areas.
Snook fishing has been very good on both the morning incoming tide and the afternoon outgoing tide. Jetties and barrier island points are holding schools of snook right now and the off-colored water brought on by last week’s strong south wind only helped the bite. Live grass grunts nose hooked and free-lined in the tide is a sure bet.
Micro baits schools easily marked by dipping terns are thick over grass shoals near the passes, attracting a host of predators, Spanish mackerel, trout and the occasional cobia can be chummed up on a good moving tide.
Starting the day with a good supply of white bait is great any day but is especially important when targeting trout and mackerel. Live chumming over deep grass flats just inside the passes at first light has had the fish in a frenzy the past couple of days. Both fish naturally feed better that first hour of daylight. Free-line baits on a long shank hook with a 30 or fluorocarbon leader.
Chumming up enough live bait for the day has been easy the past few days. Tropical fish food mixed to a cookie dough consistency works great for attracting pilchards. Target grass flat edges that have a good current flow for potential bait holding spots.
Tyson Wallerstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To get a fish photo in the paper, send the photo along with your name, when and where it was caught to editorial@TBNweekly.com or mail it to Tampa Bay Newspapers, 9911 Seminole Blvd., Seminole, FL 33772.