Day time rolling tarpon

linemanlineman Posts: 36 Deckhand
Once you've found a school of baby tarpon what's your basic thought process and strategy? I found a school yesterday that where spread out over a couple acres in dark water from 1 to 6 feet deep. Got three hits from but no real takes on olive and white Clouser's.

Replies

  • deerflydeerfly Posts: 711 Officer
    lineman wrote: »
    Once you've found a school of baby tarpon what's your basic thought process and strategy? I found a school yesterday that where spread out over a couple acres in dark water from 1 to 6 feet deep. Got three hits from but no real takes on olive and white Clouser's.

    baby tarpon can be one of the most accommodating fly targets when you find them, but that doesn't mean they feed 24/7 either. If you got a few strikes, then at least a few were feeling some urge to feed.

    - The first thing I would do is to make sure I didn't disturb them any more than I had too in order to get a fly in front of them, keeping my distance and boat noise (assuming you're fishing from a boat) to a minimum.

    - Along those lines, the second thing I'd do, especially in dark or relatively dirty water and when they're not obviously feeding on something, is try to understand what they're doing. Are they laid up, nose to current? Are they bunched up in little groups, are they milling about randomly and so forth. I'd spend some time watching before I started slinging flies out there. You just want to be sure you're working the outer fish first and with as close to head on presentations as possible. Don't be tempted to throw a 90' cast across the lot hoping to entice a hit, that rarely ends well in these situations. Once you hook up of course, they may blow out of there anyway or require some time to settle down before you can get another one to eat.

    - The third thing I would do is switch from a clouser to a non-weighted, match the hatch streamer type pattern, like a seaducer, baitfish etc. IME the rise and fall of a weighted fly can cause missed strikes on relatively small, but aggressive tarpon. The upside to the aggression is they tend to hit more than once on the same retrieve. So I think having a fly that doesn't change elevation too much and can be kept close to where it was when they missed it will result in more positive takes overall, whether you get a good hook set or not is another matter.

    Other than that, I'd be very, very happy I found a a school of small tarpon to mess with all by myself. ;)
    "impossibility cannot be concluded from a sample of failed efforts" - Edsger W. Dijkstra
  • FS JeffFS Jeff Posts: 371 Moderator
    Ditto on the three suggestions above.

    One more: Fish a sinking line. Intermediate sink oughtta work fine in 1-6 feet of water, otherwise go to a 200-grain uniform sink or similar. Fast-rolling fish are usually going back to the bottom, where they may be more likely to strike. Slow, steady strips.
    Jeff Weakley
  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,283 Captain
    Deerfly made some excellent suggestions. I covet my baby tarpon spots with my life....or used to, when I was a guide. First of all, babies are usually resident fish. You'll find them outside the time frame of the migratory schools. And when the high wind has those schools somewhere offshore, you'll still be able to get some action on baby tarpon.

    I always tried to learn as much as I could about my schools of baby tarpon.....where they went at high tide, low tide, etc. I also learned not to harrass them. We only hooked a maximum of 2 fish per visit and then moved on, no matter what. Obviously don't go to the spot every day. In fact, one of my favorite spots was ruined by a kayak eco-tour that found my tarpon and they used to take their group along that area every day. The fish are no longer there.
    .......Rick
  • Tight LoopsTight Loops Posts: 205 Officer
    Great suggestions here. One more...if they are milling about randomly then sometimes a FAST cast where a fish just rolled will get them to turn around and eat. Overline the rod or get a heavy head line that will casts with minimal false casts to get the fly there fast.

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