By JAY MASTRY
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 13, 2002
There are still kingfish in the ships channel and blackfin tuna offshore, but this month silver kings rule.
Tarpon season has begun in spectacular fashion. Adam Wrzesniewski landed a 181-pounder last weekend and several others were caught from Hurricane Pass to Longboat Key.
The flow along the gulf beaches has been the best bet. Southbound schools at Indian Rocks, Pass-a-Grille and Anna Maria will be easy to spot. Some will be moving fast and difficult to work. Don't spend a lot of time chasing those. They are more interested in getting where they are going than eating. Look for a slow-moving bunch or a group that is milling.
Getting ahead of the school and waiting until it gets to you will be more productive than approaching the herd and bombarding them with baits.
A properly presented greenback or small crab is hard to beat when fly-lined ahead of an oncoming school. A personal preference would be eight rods loaded with fresh shad casted in all directions as the school approaches.
Seaweed on the bottom has been a nuisance along the beaches in the southern end of Pinellas. If not checked often, baits become covered and ineffective. Live baits suspended beneath a cork can be a solution.
Look for the Skyway to get hot on this new moon phase. We caught a 100-pounder last week in the Manatee River, and many of the fish along the beach will filter their way up the bay as the month progresses.
-- Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.