Captain's Corner

Captains corner: Fresh dead bait still works on tarpon

By Robert McCue, Times Correspondent
In Print: Friday, August 12, 2011

What's hot: There were still decent numbers of tarpon in the gulf before the week's westerly wind. These fish either moved offshore or followed the migrating bait pods into the large estuaries such as Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor. We worked the holes in the larger rivers that provided some shelter from the winds.

Pro logic: Using fresh dead bait requires preparation. Any legal fish that is fresh will likely draw a strike from a bottom-hugging tarpon. We collect ladyfish, mullet, large pinfish, catfish and sand bream, and place them between layers of ice and keep the cooler drain open to prevent the baits from soaking in water. In the predawn, we motor to the up current edges of holes in a large river. We cut the baits and fish them on 4/0 conventional tackle, 50-pound monofilament line and a 100-pound-test fluorocarbon leader rigged with a circle hook.

Robert McCue can be reached toll-free at 1-800-833-0489 or via