March and April started out with incredible winds, but May presents better fishing opportunities this season. Tarpon will be showing in the large passes and inshore reefs this time of year. Break out your heavier tackle for these giant silver kings.
Tarpon can be caught on pass crabs, thread fins and dead cut mullet. They are both live-bait eaters and dead-bait scavengers. They get a little moody sometimes so don’t get frustrated. Once they start to feed, it’s not uncommon to hook up with several in a row. When you target these beasts, pay attention to the tides and moon phases. Keep that knowledge in your brain bank and adjust the times to the same environmental settings.
Start with 4/0 to 7/0 hooks on a 60# to 80# leader line. It’s somewhat of a waiting game with these fish, but idle around in the passes or casually drift till you see them breaking the surface or show up on the depth finder, then hold on!
Snook will be closed in May, June, July and August to harvest but can still be caught. Many of the large females and males will head into the bigger passes for the season spawn, but there will still be plenty in the shallows.
The grasses are back and flush. This will hold many trout and snapper for the anglers to play with and potentially harvest. Try to use plastic baits for the trout. You will find a much better catch rate and a much better release result using the plastics. Find the depth that the trout are resting in and work the areas.
Spanish mackerel will also be running the flats. Plastics work for them also, but live greenies tend to give the best results. Don’t resort to using a steel leader for these toothy critters, but instead try a #40 leader. They tend to shy away from the steel. Also, run an extra-long shank, #1 silver hook. This will give you a little better chance to keep the fish on the hook.