Tarpon are migrating down the west coast beaches. Watch for silver flashes as fish roll to breathe air. Any beach in the bay area is a good place to start. I anchor right off the beach and wait. Have the anchor attached to an anchor ball to avoid wasting time pulling it in. Pods of fish will eventually move toward where I am anchored. Once a pod is located, I throw my anchor ball and get into position, careful not to disturb the fish. I like to use a 12-foot cast net to throw for bait; it fills the well quickly and allows throws into deeper water. I have a variety of bait; you never know what tarpon will eat. Scaled sardines (whitebait) are the top choice. Threadfin herring (greenbacks) are just as good but are very sensitive and die quickly once their scales fall off. Crabs can be found floating on grass lines on outgoing tides. Use a long dip net to scoop them up. Approach schools of fish with care. Use a push pole or a trolling motor on the lowest setting to get close. Running motors will spook fish and shut them down. Tarpon will head west to deeper water when spooked, making it difficult to sight-cast.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit captainrobgorta.com.