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Captain's corner


© St. Petersburg Times, published May 10, 2001

First it's Bean Point. Then Passage Key. You usually can see them traversing the shallow, clear water of these renowned fishing spots. And if you're lucky enough to get there before the next person, you could be just lucky enough to boat one.

If you're wondering what I'm talking about, it is May, after all. They migrate north and show up first off Anna Maria Island. A little while after, you can spot them making their way up Tampa Bay as they have since who knows when. Figured it out yet? Well, if you guessed the mighty silver king, dust off that tarpon gear and get going. Time's a wastin'!

One of the easiest ways to find a school of sabalos is to look for them coming to the surface and rolling. Tarpon are one of the few fish with air bladders that can gulp huge amounts of oxygen out of the air we breathe. When they come to the surface to grab a breath, the sun will reflect off their silvery scales like a mirror.

Pinfish, mullet, threadfins, grunts and sardines are favorite live bait for tarpon. Cast your offering, mostly free-lined or corked, well ahead of the rolling fish. A natural presentation is a must for a fish that's nearly 15 years old. They didn't get that old by making too many mistakes.

- Capt. Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 448-3817 or by e-mail at

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