Captain’s Corner: Tarpon action about to get hot

What’s hot: Tarpon fishing is lukewarm but is about to become the hot ticket. Many tarpon-seeking Florida visitors head to more famous areas, such as the Florida Keys and Charlotte Harbor. Many do not know about the tarpon in Tampa Bay. This week we have new-moon tides, which will provide strong incoming and outgoing currents, and turn on a tarpon eating frenzy. Our spring migration is early, and the tarpon are here.

Techniques: If you have never fished for tarpon, Tampa Bay has many experienced guides. Or try it on your own by setting up just outside passes on an outgoing tide or inside on an incoming tide. You can anchor near a major bridge, cast baits uptide, allow them to drift back, then cast again leaving one rod in the holder behind your boat dead-sticking. Or you can drift through the bridge with the tide and allow bait to swim naturally.

Tips: The new moon means strong afternoon outgoing tides this week. Daylight savings allows for fishing most of the late day’s outgoing tide. Passes from Egmont to Dunedin will be productive. By-catches from pompano, mangrove snapper and mackerel will be available for line tightening and good eating.

Jackie Otto can be reached at Betts Fishing Center at (727) 518-7637 and jackieotto@msn.com.

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