Why do the tarpon just get up and leave?

So I fish this spot that has a pretty good # of tarpon at it in the early AM. Fishing is usually pretty decent there but every time I've ever gone there when it gets to about 9-10 o'clock the fish just go away. I've never been able to figure out where they go or why, and it drives me nuts. It's never tide related that I can tell... Any ideas?

I think I'm going to go out there tonight and basically sleep on the boat and see when they finally come back, because they were rolling all over when I got there this AM before daybreak.
Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
2017 Tarpon Count: 109/431
Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
Instagram is @crooked_rod_charters

Replies

  • PilchardPilchard Posts: 1,373 Officer
    They likely don't leave. Just quit showing. If you have the patience, put some dead bait on the bottom after they quit rolling. Might take a while to get one to eat but it will tell you if they are still there or are moving elsewhere.
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 2,651 Captain
    I agree that a lot of times they just quit rolling... but this spot I fish has a pretty narrow cut in it and that's where they all lay up when they're rolling... so I would assume that they'd be there (on the fish finder) still when they stopped rolling but man they just vanish... it's pretty annoying.
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    2017 Tarpon Count: 109/431
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
    Instagram is @crooked_rod_charters
  • PilchardPilchard Posts: 1,373 Officer
    How deep? It's difficult to mark single tarpon if they are spread out... If it is deeper than 10 feet or so I'd bet they stay put unless the area gets a lot of boat traffic.
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 2,651 Captain
    20'. Not really any boat traffic to speak of. Last weekend one boat went through and today 2 came by as I was leaving.
    When they're rolling I can troll that cut and mark 5-15 in a few minutes... but when they're gone they just vanish. I wonder if they're just following the tide and sort of roll through there, eat all the crabs, and take off.
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    2017 Tarpon Count: 109/431
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
    Instagram is @crooked_rod_charters
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 2,651 Captain
    Speaking of crabs... I need some. How the heck do I catch them aside from setting a crab trap (or pinfish trap) and checking it every day?
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    2017 Tarpon Count: 109/431
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
    Instagram is @crooked_rod_charters
  • PilchardPilchard Posts: 1,373 Officer
    Any hard outgoing tide in the evening or after dark you can dip net them. You need to be in a bottle-neck like a pass or narrow waterway that has heavy movement. Use a long handled dip net like 6 ft or more so you have plenty of reach.

    BGP is famous for the crab flush that happens a few days on either side of the new or full moon. But you can catch them in Venice and englewood also. I believe most catch them around the bridges at night in Venice due to the help of the lights so you can actually see.

    Since I wont be getting out often this year, I will just buy them as needed.

    Something to consider though, backcountry tarpon are normally not keyed in on crabs. You are better off with threadfins, ladyfish, mullet, pilchards or pinfish on a float to track your bait.

    Hope this helps. If you pm me with the scenario you are fishing, I can give you some more specific ideas.
  • stpetebaitmanstpetebaitman Posts: 885 Officer
    Couple of things to add from my perspective on top of Pilchards accurate comments.

    I have caught a LOT of tarpon in the 'backcountry' on crabs. But, only on specific tides and areas with a ton of tidal flow. Don't rule out crabs- but I would stick to a ladyfish and pinfish over all else - under a cork like Pilchard said.

    I have also had some of my best tarpon days when the tarpon show for a bit and then stop showing. Especially around areas of live/hard/gnarl bottom. The fish hug bottom to feed in these areas and sometimes do not show much. It does not sound like the area you are fishing is live bottom. But, don't be discouraged if the fish stop showing.
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 10,163 AG
    Tough to say for sure without giving up the spot, but I've found a few spots that fish congregate at overnight and early in the morning that once the sun gets up they tend to leave. Has nothing to do with traffic or fishing presssure -- it's simply the fish's daily routine.
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 2,651 Captain
    I'm thinking that this might be a similar situation... the local tarpon are just meeting up for a few beers at night and then in the AM they go back to wherever they came from. I might camp out there this weekend on the boat and see what I see.
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    2017 Tarpon Count: 109/431
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
    Instagram is @crooked_rod_charters

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