Any Tarpon Reports?

Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,282 Officer
Here we are, almost into May and not a word from anybody on the tarpon season so far. March and (mostly) April used to be my favorite months in the Lower Keys for tarpon. Whazzup?????
.......Rick
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Replies

  • kbkeyskbkeys Posts: 688 Officer
    I'll be on the oceanside tomorrow with capt. john donnell who's reporting very good numbers of mostly south bound fish and they've been willing eaters. Can't wait! Will give a first-hand report to follow.
  • WPHornWPHorn Posts: 60 Deckhand
    Head to Marathon tomorrow to start 10 days on the water. And the wind forecasts starting Sat are rotten (20-30 mph winds thru next Thursday). That will make it tough if not impossible.
  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,282 Officer
    WP....Wow, that's a bummer. At least it's early and there will be fish in the backcountry....or you can head up towards Flamingo. Good Luck.
    .......Rick
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 8,519 Admiral
    They are here (Tampa) already and have been for a few weeks now. Early for us. I wonder if it's not the same down there.
  • mtd885mtd885 Posts: 1,159 Officer
    I'm anxious to hear your report. John certainly knows the fishery.
  • mtd885mtd885 Posts: 1,159 Officer
    WPHorn wrote: »
    Head to Marathon tomorrow to start 10 days on the water. And the wind forecasts starting Sat are rotten (20-30 mph winds thru next Thursday). That will make it tough if not impossible.

    Now that's optimism! What is your comfort level as far as wind Bill? I could not tell what the wind was doing last week and was sorely disappointed in my casting, come to find out it was gusting to 28 mph!!! I felt much better about my casting! Are you booked with your guide for all those days?
  • yeabuddyyeabuddy Posts: 45 Deckhand
    Was in Boca Grande pass today, tarpon are everywhere
  • Ol'DirtyCasterOl'DirtyCaster Posts: 2,180 Captain
    I ran the beach today from 8am - 2pm, didn't see a single tarpon.
  • mtd885mtd885 Posts: 1,159 Officer
    Hey Bill they are not on the beach, they are in the water...SHEESH!
  • sparse greysparse grey Posts: 1,743 Captain
    First one this dark AM at my "secret" spot. Have seen very few.
    Ron Conner Release the fish, keep the memories. Once a Knight is enough.
  • mtd885mtd885 Posts: 1,159 Officer
    Hey Ron, Nice to hear that spot is still active. Was it a big one? What did it eat?
  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,282 Officer
    mtd885 wrote: »
    Hey Ron, Nice to hear that spot is still active. Was it a big one?

    Funny, that's what she wanted to know, too. :huh
    .......Rick
  • sparse greysparse grey Posts: 1,743 Captain
    :-) Only one I saw that AM. 40lb.
    Ron Conner Release the fish, keep the memories. Once a Knight is enough.
  • mtd885mtd885 Posts: 1,159 Officer
    Perfect! That would be my size of choice. Keeping that a 'secret' hole is a good idea.
  • ZhunterZhunter Posts: 225 Deckhand
    Any reports from the lower/lower middle keys?
  • mtd885mtd885 Posts: 1,159 Officer
    Jay, You have mail.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 2,696 Captain
    It was a very strange winter, early spring season in the Everglades (Whitewater and nearby areas). I'm just guessing here but I think the very mild winter didn't provide sufficient reason for the vast majority of big fish to come inside - never seen that before... The ones that did come inside didn't behave the way they usually do, rolling and loafing around where you can see them and make your approach. Instead every fish we found was perfectly still, laid up - either floating just under the surface or right on the bottom. If I didn't know they were there you'd have never guessed it since you didn't see a thing until you were almost on top of them.... To top it off the fish didn't load up in the usual river spots either so we had to work to find fish. They should be thick now along the coast, we'll see tomorrow.
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • mtd885mtd885 Posts: 1,159 Officer
    Few and fewer. I've had some shots at singles and doubles but no one is seeing the big groups yet.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 2,696 Captain
    On Monday we jumped three, an 80 to the boat, two others jumped off on lures.... No joy on flies, though - and that's the way it's been, mostly out of Flamingo. Today out of Everglades City we found decent numbers of little fish (up to about 25lbs) but they all had lockjaw. Think I'm going to do some nightfishing so that the fly rods can get some use....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,282 Officer
    mtd885 wrote: »
    Few and fewer. I've had some shots at singles and doubles but no one is seeing the big groups yet.

    I am hoping that this is not going to be the scenario for the entire season.....but fear it might be, since this Winter was so warm. It has been my theory for many years now, that the Gulf is so warm that the fish don't go south but stay in the Gulf. The population gets spread out when this happens and the fish just trickle through (relatively speaking). This is not to say that there won't be days of lots of tarpon pushing through.....just a lot fewer of them.
    .......Rick
  • WPHornWPHorn Posts: 60 Deckhand
    Finished our annual "Tarpon Camp" that I host at our place in Marathon. The report is pretty grim. An unusual low pressure trough set up on Friday April 27 and it rained like hell and blew hard until the evening of Tuesday May 1. Scratched up a single 60 lber on Saturday morning the 28th blind casting in some channels. There was zero visibility in between the black squall lines. The 29th was a washout. Got on the water (oceanside) on the 30th, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd and did not see a single tarpon during those four days. And this was fishing with high quality veteran guides. The bait guys reported that the tarpon left Bahia Honda and the SEven Mile Bridge en masse during the storm. A few poons trickled back on Friday afternoon May 4 and my boatmate Ralph MacDonald caught one. Found a few more swimmers on Sat and Mac caught another. Got a decent push of fish on Sunday and we fed 10 and landed 4 (my boatmate was on fire feeding 3 and taking 2; my batting average was not so good). On Monday, had a two hour midday push of tarpon -- I fed and jumped 3 (just couldn't keep anything stuck) and Mac kept his average high feeding a pair and landing both.

    The backcountry was not option during the rain, cloud and winds. There was zero light and the water out there was a milky mess -- we looked.

    Things should be settling down now. In 20 years I've never seen a 4 day low pressure system squat over the Keys in late April/early May. We didn't like it and the tarpon hated it.

    Bill
  • mtd885mtd885 Posts: 1,159 Officer
    Right On Bill! Not a lot of love on the flats lately. I had some Googan pull up behind me so close if I chewed tobacco I could have spit in his eye. I had my pole down and was getting my rod out and this young guide with his charter pulls up and says he was in this spot but had left to check another spot. My first reaction was he was FOS but the young folks in his skiff gave me pause to consider. I told him take this spot and never leave fish to find fish again AND he owes me a beer! Being a believer in Karma I hope I earned a few points. I'll give it one more try in the morning and then it is back to reality.
  • ZhunterZhunter Posts: 225 Deckhand
    not to be an A$$hole, but that guide left to go to another spot, he has no right to claim that spot back. Sorry, but that is a typical guide move. I was at a VERY precious spot one time 3 years ago, sat and waited for the sun to get right for about 5 hours, then about an hour into the prime 4 hour window at this spot a guide idles up, and asks if I am willing to move back so he can have my spot!!! I politely declined. His next question was, would I mind if he cut in front of me. I then responded with no politeness he needed to get in line behind me and the other 3 boats behind me.

    I think those guys just think they can intimidate you. It was clear that you fishing alone were not a guide, and he tried to take advantage of you.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 2,696 Captain
    I have to disagree.... while there are a few guides I've seen that would pull that kind of stunt - not one of them is a first rate guy. Most that I know go out of their way not to ruin someone else's fishing.

    Yes, there are places where that sort of stuff does happen - I do everything that I can to avoid places like that (you won't find me anywhere near Islamorada, for instance). A little courtesy goes a long way in my book, and I've been a full time operator now for almost 16 years....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • WPHornWPHorn Posts: 60 Deckhand
    Capt LeMay is right -- almost all of the Middle Keys guides I know are careful to be courteous. Of course there are always an exception or two. I had an incident like Michael's (MTD) a couple of years back with a guide. When I passed the story along to the other area guides, the transgressor got a few calls from his peers about maintaining courtesy and apparently took the message to heart. Only incident I had last week was with a pair of unguided anglers cutting in on a school of tarpon we were casting to.
  • ZhunterZhunter Posts: 225 Deckhand
    lemaymiami wrote: »
    I have to disagree.... while there are a few guides I've seen that would pull that kind of stunt - not one of them is a first rate guy. Most that I know go out of their way not to ruin someone else's fishing.

    Yes, there are places where that sort of stuff does happen - I do everything that I can to avoid places like that (you won't find me anywhere near Islamorada, for instance). A little courtesy goes a long way in my book, and I've been a full time operator now for almost 16 years....

    Bob

    I am sorry, by my saying it was a typical guide move was certainly not true. There are a few that act like this, and unfortunately, most seem to hang out around Islamorada where I do most of my fishing. Let me put it another way, while a couple of non guided anglers might cut you off unknowingly, they would never idle up and try to claim a spot back or for that matter in the episode I mentioned above, would never try to muscle in on a spot.

    If in fact that type of claiming existed, it could lead to would lead to I was there yesterday, or I was there one day last week. Well you get the idea.

    When you leave a spot to go to another spot, and don't leave your push pole to "hold" that spot you have absolutely no claim to said spot.
  • mtd885mtd885 Posts: 1,159 Officer
    I did mention the incident to a few of my guide friends and all of them said the same thing, I should not have given up the spot. I based my decision on the young wide eyed couple this fellow was guiding. Heck I have enough on my hands with the condo ****, I certainly do not want 'issues' when I am on the water. Today I had a guy pole right up to my stake out. He complained the guy behind me was yelling at him for poling through with no regard for the staked out boats. I took a different approach and pointed out to him fish were rolling in the deeper water outside of my position and I do not pole. I could not have tolerated him poling right through the lane the fish were coming down. Bob is totally right there are some places that have become too popular. For the most part, the pro guides I have met are true professionals. I should also add that many of these guys have shown me courtesy on the water as well. It is a tough job and the way the fish numbers have declined has put a lot of pressure on these folks.
  • dmerryfielddmerryfield Posts: 24 Greenhorn
    I fished the PI sound/Charlote Harbor/Boca Grande area 5/3-5/7. I spent all of my time on the platform in an effort to show some new saltwater fly anglers, long time friends some tarpon action. 2 of the 5 days were very slow. The other three days produced some respectable pushes of fish for a few hours. We spent about 50 hours total on the water we didn't jump one fish, nor did we see any other boat jump a fish. We had approximately 30 very good shots in 5 days. For what our boat lacked in execution we made up for in laughs, mishaps and excuses. One friend got so excited when the first string of fish was coming at the boat he exclaimed, "I'm shaking so bad I have buck fever!'' That string pased one by one, nice and slow. The only problem was my friend forgot to cast. We laughed. That mishap was narrowly trumped when my other friend told us after two days his glasses weren't polarized. Now you know why we saw so few fish on the first two days. Luckily I had an extra pair in the console. No less than 10 seconds after putting them on he turns around looks up tide beyond the stern and says "these are great, three tarpon incoming at 7 o'clock." I spun the skiff and sure enough there they were.......and there they went. Right under the skiff. And those are two of the many entertainment snippets for the trip. You get the idea. This sport must have some allure because my friends are already asking about the dates for the next trip. On thing's for sure, you'll never have a chance to screw up catching a tarpon if you're not out there trying.

    Dave
  • WPHornWPHorn Posts: 60 Deckhand
    Dave -- great report (for the entertainment value!) and see you in July.

    Bill
  • mtd885mtd885 Posts: 1,159 Officer
    Gee Dave I've been looking for someone to pole me around the flats. When you coming back?...LOL
    That amount of shots is about what I have been experiencing down here in the Keys. I expect if the weather holds next week will bring some strings out front and some willing eaters out back.
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