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Moons & Weather

Summer Offers an Array of Silver

There is no doubt summer is here and there is silver em’ them hills. While it is hot here, it is as hot and if not, hotter everywhere else. Florida is sub-tropical. That means in short it does not get real cold here nor does it get real hot. Not real hot? Well compared to other locations around the country that burst thermometers in the high 90’s to low 100s, we rarely exceed 91 to 92. A late afternoon shower that cools things off considerably usually greets us by 4PM. Weather or not, there are many opportunities for those in search of Florida game fishing.

Tarpon thrive in the Florida sun. Over the next two weeks the fish will be making there way into the backwaters of the rivers and bays. The perfect scenario is one that offers a light east wind that leaves the waters slick. Next is a potpourri of baitfish nestled on hard bottom, dredge holes, channel edges and around the bridges. You stake out the theatre of probability in the morning light waiting for a glimpse of the silver king. When the king reveals himself you make your presentation. If done correctly, the battle is on.Florida Tarpon Fishing

Summer tarpon is no different than tarpon fishing at any other time of year with the exception of fishing in the darker waters. Like all tarpon fishing, summer too will require a bit of waiting. The best way to compare any tarpon fishing is to describe a hunter in a tree stand waiting for that big buck. Sometimes the bucks just keep coming, other times you’ve waited what seems like a long time and again others where it just does not happen. No matter the time of year or location, we are always waiting on these fish somewhere. It could be the tide, the time of day or other variables. The reward lasts a lifetime and people live for the adrenaline rush of 130 pounds of silver fury. It’s the stalking and waiting that you do not see on Saturday morning on ESPN. Tarpon fishing is not for everyone and it is wise to keep this in mind before entering the playing field. Summer fish (unlike spring fish) are here for the sole purpose to lounge and feed. They are suckers for plugs like the 65M MirrOlure, the Cotee Button Eye, and the DOA Baitbuster. They accept small crabs, scaled sardines, threadfin herring, and mullet alike. The deadliest of techniques is fresh dead baiting, but too can be boring as heck.

Florida Tarpon FishingThe ultimate in summer tarpon fishing and beating the heat is at night under the many bridges that span Tampa Bay. Giant and juvenile tarpon alike are attracted to the lights of the bridges like bugs to a porch light. They cruise the shadow lines created by the street lights above in search for an easy meal. The fishing can be so hot it becomes addicting. In not too many places can you actually watch a cruising tarpon eat your offering just 5 feet from the boat and then look at you eye to eye just feet in front of your face in something resembling a ballistic missile. The fish vary location to location within the Bay. As well, they move along different areas of the bridge according to the strength of the tide and whether it is flooding or ebbing. The bridges should not be over looked during the day as well. The strong tides of the full and dark moon get the nod for pitching bait at the pilings and can offer some very hot action in the cool shade offered by the bridge.

snook will continue to be found the next 2 to 3 weeks along the edges of the passes. While some of the biggest fish of the year will be caught in these areas, the season is closed. Spawning snook are no comparison to spring and fall fish in cooler water and that are nestled in every imaginable snarl of structure, but the action is good. Along the sugar-sand lined edges of the passes you often encounter sight-fishing opportunities. The fish shadows give the appearance of wooden logs just inside and outside of the first swash on the beach. While live bait gets the most attention, they are fools for jigs and flies.

Along the passes as well, permit and pompano will fall prey to fiddler crabs, jigs and live shrimp. While these fish offer limited sight fishing as well, they are best fished blind walking along the sand until you connect. These fish offer great table fare and major thrills once you learn the knack for the right twitch of the rod tip. It is a real finesse type fishing that you acquire and that offers up competition when fishing with a regular fishing foe.

Giant permit will frequent particular wrecks and artificial reefs from 15 to 40 feet of water for the next few weeks. While it can be a real here today gone tomorrow fishery, several structures offer consistent action on a daily basis, but in particular on the major moon phases.

The sure bets for summertime action are barracuda and sharks. The reefs starting in 20 feet of water are great starting points for cuda. The fish offer fast runs and in this area are safe to eat. The meat is white, flaky and very similar to snook. It is best and safest to harvest fish only under 3 feet. Sharks can be caught just about anywhere including the flats, passes, bridges, and ledges starting on the first hard bottom areas just off the beaches.

Best bet for consistent action and to beat the heat is to get an early start or by fishing at night. By adjusting your fishing to the patterns of the fish, you will be rewarded with some real Florida silver.

Screaming drags and tired arms!

Robert McCue

Past Reports

1999 Report Archive  11JANOO  19JAN00 29JANOO 11FEB00

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