Tarpon fishing is good all summer, but there is something special about new and full moons. The most productive hours during these phases in June and July is late afternoon, the last of the outgoing tide.
If you don't mind a crowd, the passes on the north and south ends of Egmont Key are among the most popular. Tarpon often stack up there waiting to assault crabs swept through by strong tides.
Fly-lining these small crabs while drifting through the passes is the best way to fish them. Other live baits, including pinfish, greenbacks and sardines, also might work. To avoid traffic, choose a stretch of beach along the coast and anchor along the edge. Bottom fishing with shad in 10-15 feet might be most effective because tarpon use these pathways while migrating.
On Tuesday's new moon, we released 6 of 8 we jumped using this technique during daylight. Mark Wray and Larry Mastry lost count of how many they released at night. We released six more Friday night. The last, estimated at 135 pounds, was at midnight. July's full moon will be on the 2nd, and the new moon will be on the 17th. The three days before and after both promise to be bad for tarpon.
- Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.