Pass-a-Grille to Anna Maria

Large schools of tarpon are showing up all over my area right now. There are pods of 20-200 fish on area beaches eating carbs, thread fin, and flies. These fish can be sight fished adding an extra element of excitement and anticipation. I like to run down the beach and actively search for rolling “happy” fish or dark masses under the water indicating a school and set up in front of the pod rather than sitting there waiting for the fish to come by like many other captains. With the amount of fish around right now, this “Hit and Run” method is extremely effective and way more fun than playing the waiting game. 7 trips in a row have boated a tarpon! Certain passes in my area are holding literally thousands of tarpon right now as well as they wait for the upcoming “hill tide”. This epic tidal scenario occurs around the full and new moons in May, June, and sometimes into July. The extremely strong outgoing tide flushes tens of thousands of helpless crabs out of the bay and hungry tarpon gorge themselves. The water is crystal clear especially from Egmont Key south and its not uncommon to see hundreds of fish at a time swimming by or rolling on the surface. Casting a live crab or bait in to these schools has yielded some great success in recent trips. Some of these fish are giants pushing 200lbs too. In certain areas, while tarpon fishing, large inshore grouper have made an outstanding appearance. Even though these fish are out of season until July 1, they are an exciting fish to catch and release. Grouper absolutely pummel a live bait then quickly head for nearby structure. You have to pretty much lock the drag down and pull as hard as you can just to turn their heads and lift them away from cover or else they quickly break off. Its typical to catch a dozen grouper in less than an hour of fishing and by then my bruised and sore armed clients are ready to do something else. 32″ have been landed this week and some fish bigger than that have been lost that we simply couldn’t turn away from the rocks. Topwater fishing for large trout has been outstanding in the early mornings. Its not uncommon to catch 40 fish before 8Am. Seeing a 20-25″ trout explode on your lure with the florida sunrise in the background is a beautiful sight. Blacktip sharks, redfish, snook, spanish mackerel, jack crevalle, bluefish, and ladyfish are also an option right now but when the tarpon fishing is this good, unless you want some fillets, why bother with anything else? Tight lines5-16-2012 (2)