Fishing report for April 26: Rig for tarpon from the piers

April 27, 2015

Fishing report based on what the Bill Jackson’s staff is seeing and hearing about during the past week:

The tarpon migration is here and these silver kings are along the gulf beaches.

In addition, the king mackerel bite and the pompano bites remain strong.

But for the next few weeks, tarpon will be on the mind of most Tampa Bay area anglers. There are dedicated tarpon anglers who like to test their skills against these famed game fish from the area’s piers. They find the piers that reach far into the gulf and set up for hours waiting for a bite. Here is the basic setup many land-based tarpon anglers are using:

The rod and reel setup must be stout. Go with an 8-foot heavy action rod paired with an 8000 series reel capable of holding plenty of line. You may need it.

Spool the reel with 50- to 65-pound test line, at least 300 yards of it, and tie on a 60- to 80-pound fluorocarbon leader. You will need a hefty leader because tarpon are famous for wearing through them and slicing them with their gill plates.

At the end of the leader, tie on a 6/0 hook and bait it with a threadfin, shad or crab. Freelining the bait works best.

If you get a bite, hang on and plan to do battle for quite some time. Though some tarpon are landed quickly, most go on reel-ripping runs and do spectacular leaps in their attempts to toss the hook.