May is a great month in the west central. Snook fishing is still great as the pre spawn triggers the big girls to come out and play. Redfish start to show up in good numbers on the outer flats as schools start to form. Cobia and other bay fish also get the middle of the bay very active. While we have some many options in Tampa Bay this month to target, Tarpon has to be at the top of the list.
Tarpon fishing in May is great. You have fish in the bay that roam around the shipping channels and bridges and then the migration run starts to kick in. This is when fish make there way up the coast by the thousands. Its something everyone should experience. Tarpon are a fish that you never really figure out and are very subject to wind direction and tides. It can be inconsistent but when a good bit of planning and effort come together the end result is drags screaming and fish jumping.
Tarpon fishing is more about timing, technique and preparation than finding that secret spot. On any given morning along the beaches of Tampa Bay you will see plenty of fish rolling just a few hundred yards off the beach. While it might be tempting to use you outboard to maneuver to get close enough to get a shot at the Silver King using a quiet approach will prove to be the best method. Tackle is just as important as finding fish. My preferred choice of tackle is the all new Tsunami Evict 5000 matched with the Shield Carbon two rod. Daiichi wide gap circle hook #3843 is on the best Tarpon hooks around. Match that with some 60lb Fluorocarbon and you should be ready for action.
Everyone always wants to know some spots to start. I know I mentioned that spots are not hard to find but the key is to bounce around don't get honed in on one spot. Tarpon is known to move overnight and you will always do better with numbers when targeting Tarpon. As mentioned above the beaches hold good fish. All the bay area bridges also hold good fish. The Skyway bridge is a great spot to start at as there are almost always fish there this time of year. Also, look for fish on the outer flats as they move from one location to the next. They use these areas as highways. These are all areas that will be good starting points if you are looking to start targeting Tarpon.
Bait is the last piece to the puzzle. Tarpon like just about everything one time of another and they also have turned their nose at every bait just as easy. Cut bait, Live Threadfin, Pass Crabs, Pinfish and Greenbacks are all great baits but having just one is a common mistake we all make. Ideal situation is to have at least two different types of bait if not more. This will increase your chances of hooking up on a Silver KIng… The rest just comes with tie on the water and a little luck. Tightlines!!!
Capt Jason Prieto!