Am I wasting my time trying to get hooked up with artificals? I have caught size tarpon in the Keys on the FLY,but in 10k haven't had much luck with either fly or plugs. I tend to like large spooks early in the AM. Any thoughts or help. THanks JP
I've never had much luck with topwater plugs for tarpon in the islands. However, they will readily grab artifiicials at times. Best time for the artificials is early in the morning. If you are fishing areas you know tarpon to be and it is relatively shallow (8 foot or less), i like to use DOA mullet in silver and black. I also like using any of the 4-5 inch lipless, suspending type of mirrolures in chartruse/white, black and silver or blue and silver. Red/white can be a good color combo too. Since they have no lip, you have to give them action yourself but they look great and the "bycatch" (large snook) are a plus. If you are prospecting deeper holes in rivers or passes, try some of the larger 7-9 inch bomber long-A type of plugs. These will have lips and will dive deeper. A slow and steady retreive will get their attention. I like the silver/grey/black color schemes. For flies, I have always scored best with a dark grey, large mullet pattern. In the islands, for me, the more realistic mullet patterns in greys, blacks with large eyes have always outperformed the more traditional keys-style tarpon flies. I go big with flies (6-9 inches) and make sure you are using a very strong, very sharp hook. Also, replace the factory treble hooks on the plugs with single, super strong hooks. The factory hooks on plugs will likely bend or brake with a tarpon. Hope that helps. Good luck out there!
I'll tell ya another good tactic i use in the islands that has killed big tarpon for me. Haven't run across many people that believe me on this...but i am telling you it DOES work. In some of the deeper 10-20 foot "holes" in the backwater "rivers" and deep channels that empty out into the gulf where i know tarpon are holding (seen them rolling there or have caught them there before), I use a homemade, very large--like 7-10 inch long, jig. I use a fairly heavy jig head with a super sturdy hook and add very big eyes. Then tie on a good amount of synthetic materials (the kind that really breathes in the water and has a lot of action to it). I usually use whites/chartruse or white/black/grey. It's got to be large enough and bulky enough to really push a good amount of water. I will usually idle up into the river on one side, kill the engine and just drift with the current, making long casts up and across the current. Let the jig get down deep and then i use a slow and steady retrieve (no jigging or giving it action, just reel slowly.) I have caught some very large tarpon doing this. They will hit it like of ton of bricks when they are in the mood. It is a good way to prospect a lot of water. The dirtier or darker the water, the better. I don't know what it is about those big ol' jigs. There have been times i have taken poons that would not hit anything else, using this method. Hope that all makes sense. Try it out if you can, you may be surprised!
I will be trying your big jig suggestion in the coming wks and hope to find some tarpon to try the strategy out. BTW are you trolling the big flys in rthe spots that have deep holes? Thanks for you help I'll report back if I have sucess. JP
Not trolling flies. I will use flies when there are fish rolling. Even in the deeper areas, i usually use floating line. I think the fish are seeing the big mullet fly as they come up to roll. I hope the jigging method i use works out for you. It helps when you know there are tarpon in the area. Like you, I have always enjoyed using artificials for tarpon. Good luck and post up some pics if you get into them.
The lure type you use clearly depends on what the fish are doing. If they are rolling slow or fast makes a world of difference as to the type of artificial you throw. I would not be throwing a suspending lure at a fast rolling fish, unless I clearly am not interested in hooking up.