Captain's Corner

Captain's Corner: Tips for late tarpon

By Robert McCue, Times Correspondent
In Print: Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What's hot: Each year tarpon mass along our gulf shoreline in numbers rarely seen anywhere else in the United States. This migration is related to the spawning cycle of the fish, which usually runs until the first major moon phase in July. After this, many anglers stow their gear for the year. Yet for a smaller group of savvy tarpon anglers, the season has just begun.

Location: After spawning, the fish return to the shoreline and migrate north in search of forage to regain lost body fat from the rigors of spawning. As the fish move north toward the nutrient-rich waters of the Mississippi Delta, some "break off' the beaten path and find bountiful areas of bait inside larger river, harbor, bay and other estuaries. Unlike the tarpon of spring, these fish are here to feed.

Pro logic: Any areas in or adjacent to deeper water, and holding massive schools of bait, are the places to start looking for the occasional fish rolling or "free jumping." Once anglers locate them, they can use slow sinking plugs, jigs and swimbaits fished on bass tackle; this is often the best way to test your mettle against backwater tarpon.

Robert McCue charters out of Ellenton and can be reached at (727) 597-0957 or