Spring is in the air that means one thing to fisherman, the "silver king" is on its way. Most tarpon enter the bay from May through late August every year as they prepare to spawn. There are also permanent local populations in backwater areas and brackish ponds.
They will take a variety of baits and lures. Tarpon feed on live baits like pinfish, whitebait or threadfins and pass crabs free-lined or under a bobber. Other days they want cut bait like shad and threadfins free lined in a chum slick.
Where and when you fish will dictate what bait technique to use. fishing bridges or passes, you will find free-lined baits work best. feed out the line and keep your bait flowing with the current. If the line is tight, the tarpon won't bite. This applies to live or cut bait. Off the beach fishing under a float works well with crabs, whitebait, or pinfish. But, always keep a free-lined bait out and crab rod ready to cast to passing pods of fish.
Tampa Bay bridges like the Gandy, Dick Misner, Ten Cent Bridge, and the Skyway provide especially hot action at night in the shadow lines of the bridge lights. Tarpon tackle consists of spinning gear in the 6000-size range and conventional gear of 10 to 30-pound class reels on 7 to 8-foot 20 to 40-pound class rods. Load the reels with 30 to 60-pound braid. Attach 5 to 6 feet of 60-pound Ohero fluorocarbon leader and attach a 6/0 circle hook. And then, find the fish. Now it's time to take these tips and get out there and fish!