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May forecast

Published May 2, 2003

May is perhaps the best all-around month for fishing the North Suncoast. Stable water temperatures, strong tides and plenty of bait will combine to create a variety of opportunities.

May means tarpon for Citrus County. Their annual migration will bring schools of large tarpon to the deep grass flats. Though they may not be as numerous as they are at other locations this time of year, these tarpon are generally very large on average.

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In fact, many of the largest tarpon ever caught on fly rods have come from the Homosassa region. These fish will be quite spooky, so a stealthy approach and a subtle bait presentation is a necessity.

Offshore, kingfish and mackerel will push their way through the northern expanses of the region. Slow-trolling large live baits will produce the largest fish. Spoons will probably yield more action, though the fish are likely to be smaller.

May is the best month for tuna fishing. The migration of bait offshore will find blackfin tuna in hot pursuit. Since it can be difficult to isolate such a school, the best method is to find shrimp boats working the area.

Grouper and snapper should be concentrated beyond 100 feet as the water temperature continues to rise. The Middle Grounds will be at their best for the entire month. Typically, mild weather will allow anglers with larger boats to stay overnight. Fish large live baits for grouper during the day. At night, switch to smaller tackle and concentrate on snapper.

Redfish and trout fishing should remain steady throughout the month. Large tides associated with the new and full moons will allow these fish to get in thick concentrations around oyster bars, saw grass patches and overhanging mangrove trees.

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