Summer is the time to hit the beach for gamefish. Snook, speckled trout, pompano and tarpon cruised the swash channels between the beach and the outside sandbars along most of the coastline in recent weeks. Morning has been best, as afternoon breezes stir waves and reduce visibility.
Egmont Key has been the hot spot for tarpon this season. Many have gathered in the deep hole along the northern edge, but others have worked close to the sand toward the south side of the island. Live threadfin herring have been best, but pumpkin seeds (Atlantic bumpers), live pinfish and live crabs also have worked well.
Brian Fischer had an incredible outing at the beach at Honeymoon Island on Friday morning. Casting live shrimp, he landed 32-inch and 40-inch snook, a 20-inch trout and a 70-pound tarpon on 14-pound line with 30-pound monofilament leader. A small crowd watched as he fought the tarpon for nearly an hour before he dragged it onto the sand for a quick photo and released it.
Cobia are a possibility along the barrier islands. The big schools of spring have moved north, there are some big singles for anglers sightcasting along the beach.