Egmont/ Tampa Bay/ Anna Maria

Fishing in Tampa Bay has been nothing short of spectacular over the past few weeks, especially when it comes to tarpon! There are more tarpon in the bay area than I have ever seen and we brought a fish to the boat for 17 trips in row which is a personal charter record! The tarpon are running on the larger side right now even for them with most fish in the 130lb – 180lb class. In the past two weeks we’ve hooked up on 3 fish in the 200 lb+ class but after some epic battles, one of them chewed through the 80lb fluorocarbon and the other two pulled the hook (one of them rolled over and was ready to be landed when the hook pulled right next to the boat after a 90min battle. What a heart breaker!!). There are also lots of grouper, sharks, bonito, and big jacks around that we have been catching as by catch while tarpon fishing. There are plenty of trout, mackerel, redfish, bluefish, and a few pompano and snook around on and around the grass flats but seriously, when the tarpon fishing is this spectacular its hard for me to even think about those species! Its been a little rough some days with a lot of moisture in the air but it has helped keep the water on the cool side for this time of year and the tarpon don t seem to mind at all. In fact they love it like that. We have seen “mega pods” consisting of hundreds or even thousands of fish just about every trip. Its just a matter of being able to get to them, pounding them with properly presented baits and the rest is history. Crabs and thread fin herring have been top baits but the key to success has been in the presentation. Often times there are 10-20 boats fishing the same huge school of fish with the same types of baits but only myself and a couple other captains are consistently hooking fish. One day last week, there were at least 15 boats on the fish and we hooked four tarpon before anyone else even hooked one! If you think its luck, think again. Its all about “the angle of the dangle”.  Because of the consistent west wind we’ve had, most of the tarpon fishing has taken place in deeper basins and channels such as areas around Egmont, Anna Maria, and the shipping channel rather than the typical beach fishing. With the relatively cooler water temps, large gag grouper have been very active in the bay. They absolutely slam live baits and powerfully sprint for cover so heavy tackle with locked a down drag is a must to turn their heads out of the rocks. Though the season is closed for another couple weeks, these brutes are a lot of fun to catch and after july 1st it should be pretty easy to bring home some of the best fillets the gulf has to offer! Topwater fishing first thing in the morning is excellent right now for trout, reds and a mixed bag. As it heats up I keep moving out into deeper and cooler water to stay on active fish. The night time dock light fishing is spectacular too for trout, reds, snook, snapper, grouper, ladyfish, and tarpon. Also, summer time is shark time and there will be plenty to catch for the next four or five months. Until next time, tight lines and catch a memory. Book your trips now on the “Book your charter” page Captain Tyler Kapela