Well its late summer and while most of us are getting the kids back into the school grind in Tampa Bay, we try and get our schedules aligned and back to some type of normal daily pattern. Tampa Fishing is one of the things that takes a back burner. Well I’m here to tell you that you are missing out on one of the late summer Jewels…
This time of year, the rainy season is in full effect and the bay if full of dirty water and if you didn’t notice its blazing hot. Sounds like its time to take a break from Tampa Bay fishing? Not at all! If you are not out on the water, you are missing out on some of the best Tampa Tarpon fishing around. Tarpon fishing in Tampa Bay this time of year is some of the best around. While we do have some big Tampa Bay Tarpon roaming the bay around the wrecks and channels the prime target is the Juvenile Tarpon. Tampa Bay and its pristine rivers mixed in with deep water canals offer up a great home for the little guys. When I say little, I mean 10 to 40 lbs.…. Unlike the big fish rigging is simple and effective. Best of all no cut bait mess or spending hours hunting down pass crabs. Let’s go ahead and break down what when and where.
Tackle of choice when targeting the mini Silver King would have to be your typical flats set up. Mine is the 8-foot St Croix Tide master or Avid. I like the Daiwa J braid 20 lb. main line and 30 to 40 lb. leader. (You can go 40 this time of year because water is dirty) Have a 2/0 Daiichi wide gap circle hook, and you are ready for action. One last trick that really helps if you use is the Cajun Thunder Back Bay Floats. This is basically the same set up I use daily on my Tampa
inshore charters but works just as good on the Tarpon
Bait of choice is easy, LOTS of lively whitebait. Just fill your wells full of live white bait (AKA Greenbacks) and you will be ready for action. If you want to take some artificial baits, then try the Zman chatter bait or the Mirodine. Both have produced but my first option would have to be live bait for the little guys.
Last would have to be what time of day and where. I have caught them all times of the day but my best days with multiple fish have been right at sun up or sundown in the afternoon. They seem to be more productive during these times across the board. Areas of interest would be in the residential canals and river mouths the feed into the bay. Most people look towards the edges, but most fish will be right in the middle of the canal. Just shut your engine off and look for about 10 minutes in an area. They will roll if they are there. Then its game on for one of the most acrobatic fish on the planet. Tight lines!