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Poons Get Right
|It took nearly 5 days after the passing of tropical storm Barry
for things to get back to more consistent tarpon fishing in Tampa Bay.
The immediate days following the storm were typically tough. The fish tightened up by last Saturday though the day started off as if not much had changed. A patient wait in the last places the fish inhabited saw no signs of the worlds greatest gamefish and I decided to wait out a tide change in another favorite August spot. Within the first hour of my arrival, I saw only one fish roll and it appeared it could possibly be several more days for things to get "right" again.
A slow quarter moon tide began to roll and so too, did the fish. Over the next 90 minutes the fish made decent targets for my clients to sight and semi-sight fish with ½ once Cotee jigs and 65M MirrOlures. While we witnessed no free jumping fish, the fish went on the bite. During this period there were 5 fish jumped and two landed between 60 and 100 pounds. While it is not for everyone, there is no greater gratification in tarpon fishing than fooling them by casting artificials. Sunday and Monday saw similar results with the fish on the feed on the mid morning minor solunar period.
The freshwater runoff has stained the water very dark and the abundance of bait usually found in this area was at a minimum. As in all explanations of wildlife, it is just theory to say these indifferent conditions likely acted in our favor. Providing the weather continues hold, giant tarpon will remain worthy targets the next 6 to 8 weeks. While we were spotted several times over the weekend and later fell victims of hi tech cell phones that resulted is some tardy company, for the most part the fish are seeing minimal pressure. While the fishing can be trying in bringing out the best in giant poon hunters, the season is far from over in the eyes of experienced experts. In fact, consistent reports are coming from all late summer spots across the Bay the past 3 to 5 days.
Juvenile tarpon have been semi active in the backwaters. Much like their parents, the best late season spots can take many years to discover. Unfortunately in my backyard, the fish are now common knowledge that have been leaked out under the easy come, easy go methodology of fishing. Simply, just the way it is these days. The end result is the fish not biting as well as they did when the fishery was exclusive, but still worth a shot. Deep residential canals and natural deep holes in the coastal rivers are best bets.
Summer masses of bait small fries have occurred off the beaches and deeper flats bringing in the first run of Spanish mackerel. A fresh mackerel trolled over the nearshore reefs and wrecks will result in some impressive barracuda to 50 lbs. The bait will too signal the start of some excellent mangrove snapper fishing on the nearshore structures.
Summer conditions remain, but with some patience, the payoffs are huge.
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