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Friday, Apr 20, 2018
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Get out on bay and find some tarpon

GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Bill Miller.

I had a great day on Tampa Bay this week fishing with my son, captain Billy Miller. We were filming an episode of “Fishing with Bill Miller,” and our target was tarpon.

Our first stop for tarpon and bait was the Sunshine Skyway, where we cast-netted big scaled sardines and threadfin herring and started hunting for tarpon. There were tarpon there, but they were not hungry and the tide and wind were opposing each other, which made it rough and uncomfortable to fish.

We went up into Tampa Bay as the wind backed off, and saw a few tarpon rolling along the ship channel edge off St. Petersburg and decided to try it. Within minutes, I was hooked up. The tarpon jumped two times and threw the hook.

Shortly thereafter, I was solidly hooked up to a feisty 100-pound tarpon, which came boat-side for photos and release after a 20-minute struggle.

The bite ended as fast as it started and we headed for home. Running the channel markers back to the Skyway, we ran by a marker with a big cobia circling it.

I cast a jumbo white bait onto its head, and the cobia devoured it. The cobia ran me around the marker twice, but I was able to get it unwound and away from the structure. After a 15-minute fight using tarpon tackle, a 50-pound cobia was on film and ready for its national TV debut.

Plenty of cobia are in Tampa Bay now, so keep a lookout around the markers and have a rod specifically ready for cobia. These fish like crabs, pinfish, scaled sardines and dark 10-inch soft plastic eels.

The handicapped-friendly Skyway fishing piers report some cobia being caught, along with good pompano action.

Good Spanish mackerel and kingfish action is going in the Egmont ship channel around markers 9-10 and 7-8.

Catch “Fishing with Bill Miller” on the World Fishing Network on Sundays at 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Thursdays at 1 p.m. and 10 p.m., and Friday at 3 a.m. For charter information call captain Billy Miller (813) 363-9927.

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