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Daily fishing report
By JAY MASTRY
Published May 17, 2005
There are still plenty of kingfish around, but soon the "king daddy," the silver king, will get top billing.
Many have filtered well inside the bays, bayous and harbors. A batch of early tarpon has settled into Bayboro Harbor. Others have begun to appear in the familiar early season haunts. A few have been observed rolling on the surface near Port Manatee, Gadsen Point and the Bootleg and near the Weedon Island power plant. They have been at all the major bridges since the water hit the mid 70s, and numbers will increase as the temperature does. Next week's full moon will likely help expedite the invasion.
Very soon, large schools of tarpon will work their way from Honeymoon Island to Naples and beyond.
Sightcasters will have the opportunity to battle the fiercest game fish on our coast. The successful ones will position their boats well ahead of the school and properly present a variety of baits. Greenbacks, shad, pinfish and small crabs work well.
Later in the season, large schools will break up and single fish, pairs and small pods will become the norm along the beaches. Anchoring along the edge, bottom fishing just outside the swash channel parallel to the beach will become more productive.
Though tarpon roll for a gulp of air, they don't necessarily need to very often. We once jumped 20 tarpon in four hours and never saw one roll. Figuring the depth of their pathway as they cruise is key, often in less than 15 feet.
--Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.