Tarpon fishing during a full moon lived up to the hype. Capt. Jeff Mastry and his party focused on the rising moon Friday and between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. jumped 22 silver kings and released 10. Though the setting moon wasn't as effective, Kenny Kleber's 150-pounder was the largest of more than a half dozen of the fish we battled between 2 and sunup.
Since Saturday's full moon, several double-digit hookups have been reported and there likely are more to come. Ripping tides associated with the full moon will continue for a few days and increase the flow of fish along the gulf beaches.
Because all hours of the night are not created equal, choosing the productive ones is key when planning an after-hours trip. Keep one eye on the thunderstorms and the other on a tides chart. Check the paper for times of the moonrise and set, and focus on the hours with stronger tidal flow. Hours of slack tide or slow-moving water will be less productive.
Many types of bait may work but none better than a fresh shad fished on the bottom. Check hooked baits often. Crabs are nocturnal feeders and pinfish will gnaw on the baits.
Seaweed has been a nuisance along some stretches of the beach off Anna Maria and Longboat Key. Baits covered by the grass are ineffective and require checking more often.
- Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.