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The Giants of Summer
|We took a temporary set back with the influence of tropical storm Barry
last week. Giant tarpon fishing was good in Tampa Bay right up to last Wednesday when Bill
Stevenson and son-in-law Chaz of Ft. Worth, Texas jumped 4 fish over 100lbs and landed two
in a 6 hour trip. We were fishing fresh menhaden along a rocky point well inside the
The threat of what became Barry was evident by last Monday and began to become reality Wednesday night. Despite some miserable conditions Randy Harrison of Birmingham, Alabama and party decided to give it a try in some blustery winds and consistent showers. I elected for a plan B into an area the fish frequent at this time of year, yet one I had not fished since last year to get some sheltered conditions. After a patient wait, the fish popped up and were free jumping in the potpourri of baitfish. The frenzy lasted just an hour when a substantial downpour (one of many) put the fish down. They remained not be seen the rest of the trip. Though we did not jump any, we remained confident for the next day having found fish in some challenging inclement tropical weather. Friday saw the same trying weather conditions and the potentially productive area was saturated with dark-tannic freshwater runoff. We waited and waited; though this day they did not show.
Things did not get much better on Saturday when 48 tournament anglers who qualified to fish the Finale Day of the 10-week Suncoast Tarpon Round Up went to work. The proven qualifiers braved adverse weather conditions that plagued the competition and only one fish was caught. Linda MasrtySlicker of St. Petersburg took a new boat, motor and trailer with her 142lb catch.
Not much good news can be reported when a substantial low enters the Gulf of Mexico. Conditions improved starting on Monday and by today things seem to be getting back to a more typical summer time pattern though the water remains churned.
Giant tarpon will remain the target the next few weeks providing the weather holds in favorable conditions for finding and catching them. It is a great time to target them as pressure from even those who commercially advertise the fishery have not been seen. With the influx of abnormal amounts of freshwater, the staple pompano fishing inside the Bay has been off considerably from years past. A few good reports of some infrequent catches of the pompano are coming from the Gulf beaches and inside the passes.
On the shallow grass-flats off New Port Richey, tarpon first mate and accomplished angler Chris Bandl found the first signs of late summer schooling reds last week. He captured some great photography of a large school of reds tailing over some flat rock. He then fired up the creek opening by chumming with live sardines and proceeded to experience Florida fishing at its finest. The depression entered the Gulf on the following day of his find. Despite intense scouting, the fish had left the area in another typical scenario ahead of a major weather system. Now through the next 7 weeks, the annual summer school of reds will historically meet their potential.
The doldrums of summer are still upon us, though the dog days will continue to be highlighted by great catches when the weather remains stable. You dont know unless you go.
Screaming Drags and Tired Arms!
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