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Baby Tarpon

RStyleRStyle Posts: 1,488 Officer
I leave near a bay where I am starting to see baby tarpon surfacing and gulping
in the early morning. Determined to try to catch one with live bait.
What size circle hook and what king of leader is necessary?
Have never caught one but saw someone hook up one last yr and lost it next to the boat. From a distance it looked like maybe 15-25lb range.

Replies

  • SwampratSwamprat Posts: 1,058 Officer
    2/0 hook with a fingering mullet, pinfish, or live shrimp under a popping cork ought to work.

    Have caught a few by sheer luck from 15-20 lbs on a mirrolure fishing for trout and no leader with anywhere from 8-12 lb mono. Smaller hook size by far than a 2/0 but the thrill of one blowing up a topwater bait is far beyond awesome.
    Jackson Cuda 12

    A wade fisherman is the most simplistic but the most adept for the quarry they are after. They are immersed in their challenger's habitat and are in tune with the subtle changes of current, temperature and bottom. In order to be successful at this noble and primal fishing form one must be submerged from their goobs to their boobs, anyone doing this outside of that boundary is either sunbathing or swimming. S.F. Stewart 2015
  • CameronCameron Posts: 208 Deckhand
    I have a dozen plus baby tarpon swimming by my dock light every night but they all seem to have lock jaw. Pinfish, white bait, shrimp, artificials... none of them seem to work. I have caught one on a DOA paddle tail but I think that was just luck since I haven't repeated the process. Someone "in the know" did tell me a white fly on a fly rod might work but haven't had a chance to try it yet.
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 3,237 Captain
    Swamp nailed it... finger mullet on a 2/0 circle.
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    Captain Keith - Crooked Rod Charters
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 21,116 AG
    1/8th oz white crappie jig and 6 or 8 lb mono....
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • pjstevkopjstevko Posts: 513 Officer
    DOA Terroreyz in red head/white body!!!!!!

    I used to buy them in bulk (50 at a time) directly from DOA this time of year just for juvi tarpon and snook
  • GhostmanGhostman Posts: 82 Deckhand
    Another option (at docks) is to slowly bounce a hook up jig http://www.hookuplures.com/jigs-light_tackle.html on the bottom with live shrimp (remove tail) or finger mullet. whichever is the predominant bait running at the time. This also works well at bridge fenders under the depth marker lights.
    "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Come Hell or High Water"

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • FLTXhunterFLTXhunter Posts: 516 Officer
    If they are babies, say, under 20 lbs....for shear ease and effectiveness, nothing beats a 2/0 circle hook, popping cork and nice lively shrimp. Hook the shrimp under the horn or just infront of the tail, cast into area they are rolling and no need to pop the cork at all. Cork is just for keeping track of where your bait is relative to the tarpon (and the fun of watching it disappear during the take). Should work with little fuss. Use light tackle because they are a blast.
  • NaplesOffshoreNaplesOffshore Posts: 284 Officer
    RStyle wrote: »
    I leave near a bay where I am starting to see baby tarpon surfacing and gulping
    in the early morning. Determined to try to catch one with live bait.
    What size circle hook and what king of leader is necessary?
    Have never caught one but saw someone hook up one last yr and lost it next to the boat. From a distance it looked like maybe 15-25lb range.

    Watched a fishing show on this not long ago (maybe a month), where they were catching what they called "juvenile tarpon". They were using a plug for them and smashing them. It was on Fox Sports Sun.
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 8,113 Admiral
    duckmanJR wrote: »
    1/8th oz white crappie jig and 6 or 8 lb mono....


    This . I catch them by the Dozens when the Summer rains fill up the Farm ditches and water flows thru the culverts.
    Bout the only thing they'll hit. I've had them up to 40 pounds but most are 1 to 5 pounders.
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 21,116 AG
    This . I catch them by the Dozens when the Summer rains fill up the Farm ditches and water flows thru the culverts.
    Bout the only thing they'll hit. I've had them up to 40 pounds but most are 1 to 5 pounders.

    I used to do a lot of the juvi Tarpon thing years ago....they will hit several colors but white was most consistent...along with one I called " Bumble bee" which was black & yellow.

    For topwater...a Yellow " River runt" with the front lip removed was DEADLY...but these were expensive and hard to find...so ...crappie jigs at 50 cents a pack of 4 was more cost effective.
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • Jim311Jim311 Posts: 4,961 Captain
    A 1-5 pound tarpon on an ultralight sounds like a freakin blast. Total different ballgame than the brute force battle with a 50+ pound fish on heavy tackle.
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 8,113 Admiral
    I've had to drag 24 inch Snook backwards thru running water culverts...with 6 pound braid.:hairraiser
    Fly Fishin ain't got nothing on that....:cool
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • RStyleRStyle Posts: 1,488 Officer
    So finger mullet or shrimp on a 2-0 circle hook.
    But.........what leader? I've read you use heavy leader on the big guys. 70-90lb range because they wrap or cut with their gills when they jump.
    Saw one yesterday that must have been 25 lb although hard to judge for sure.
    These are definitely not 5-10 lb range
  • JohncdbassJohncdbass Posts: 164 Deckhand
    RStyle wrote: »
    So finger mullet or shrimp on a 2-0 circle hook.
    But.........what leader? I've read you use heavy leader on the big guys. 70-90lb range because they wrap or cut with their gills when they jump.
    Saw one yesterday that must have been 25 lb although hard to judge for sure.
    These are definitely not 5-10 lb range

    Just wondering where you are seeing these fish. In canals, flats, at night? I'm dying to find these fish up in jupiter area and try and target them. Thanks!
  • jsrodguy1jsrodguy1 Posts: 550 Officer
    Look for these in the backend of canals and bays with very little tidal movement. Go in and sit still and just start looking around, if their you'll see them start rolling at the surface.
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 17,011 AG
    Fish after dark around the time the moon rises or sets.
  • Silent snookerSilent snooker Posts: 378 Deckhand
    we catch dozens in the 15-35 lb range every year using 8-12lb mono and 25 lb leader. if they are real finicky we've had to go down to 17lb floro for leader but you will get frayed off a few times with 17. live shrimp or a finger mullet is hard to beat. if their is obstacles such as docks/pilings around we use 15-20 lb braid instead of mono.
  • FusionZ06FusionZ06 Posts: 1,025 Officer
    Yozuri Pin's Minnow
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 8,113 Admiral
    Flowing Water Road Ditch Culverts near Salt water is where I find them .
    Baby Tarpon grow up way inside. Sometimes their Landlocked and can get up to 60 pounds.
    Scares the Bass population to death.:hairraiser
    If you can find flowing water anywhere from a Drainage ditch to a Weir or Spillway ..You'll find baby Tarpon.
    I got a spot where most are 8 to 16 inches long on average. Look like big Shiners but jump like kids at the Playground...:grin
    Killin and Grillin :grin
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