Pass crabs are abundant at the Skyway Bridge during the outgoing tide, two to three days before and after the new and full moons in May, June, July and August. The key is to be at the Skyway on those few days during the strongest of the outgoing tides, and the outgoing tides only.
You would position your vessel on the west side of the Skyway Bridge a few hundred yards from the bridge itself. Point your bow at the bridge then put your boat in gear and idle slowly up towards the bridge, looking for the pass crabs drifting and swimming at the surface with the outgoing tide. They will be coming at you. You should be keeping an eye out for all the floating grass at the surface that will be coming your way. The pass crabs will be in and around all this floating grass.
Another person on your boat should be holding a very long-handled crab net. This person will scoop the crabs up as he see's them. The longer the net handle the better. The crabs will try to sound down if you get too close or take a shot at scooping them and you miss. I like to use a grid pattern or zig zag going up-tide looking for grass and crabs. Once you get to the bridge you could go under it for a distance while still looking.
What I like to do is, pass once at the bridge and then go back down the same line I came up, as not to spook any crabs to the left or right of me. I then move a few yards over to the north or south and head back up-tide searching in the same type pattern. During this time you should easily obtain 10 or more crabs. Remember to place them in a baitwell or bucket with some water, sand etc. Also make sure you break one of each of the pincher claws off on both crab arms before you Tarpon-fish with them. This way they can not tangle your leader, pinch it or damage it.
Another tip: Just as you chum with live bait or chunking fresh live cut menhaden, threadfins and sardines for catching tarpon, I always bring a bunch of other types of crabs I catch in a crab trap. I crush them up and chum and boy does this work well.
Captain David M Rieumont
The Online Fisherman Inc.