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Juvenile Tarpon - Personal Training

Hello 10,000 island anglers!

My son and I have been fishing out of Goodland for about a year now and before this had never fished before in our lives (sad I know). We totally got hooked on fishing and it is something that a 13 year old still wants to do with his dear old dad. We have some good redfish spots off of White Horse Key, some good snook spots around Pumpkin Bay, and some descent trout spots around Round Key. What we haven't been able to catch is a single JUVENILE tarpon! I say juvenile because we know the larger tarpon are starting to come in now and will be in the deeper channels towards the outside keys. But where are these year round juveniles?!

I've tried to do my research and figure it out on my own but with no luck. Maybe because I'm not able to get into the smaller backwater bays with my 17' bay boat I can't find them? Maybe I'm not exactly sure what to look for in some of the bay's I can get to? Maybe juvenile tarpon are just smarter than me?

Anyways, I'm not asking for you all to give up your secret fishing spot so when the next time you're out you see me and my son waving as you cruise in. I'm just asking for a few pro tips we might be missing...

I am a personal trainer so I'm willing to trade exercise tips for anyone willing to help us!

Thank you all for the information you all have posted and know it has helped us hook into some great fish while making some great memories with my son.

Tight Lines!

ml

Replies

  • snookaffinitysnookaffinity Naples, FLPosts: 1,171 Officer
    I have not hooked many. But every one I hooked was in the back country while fishing for snook and reds. There are many with more experience that I am sure will chime in. Good luck.
    "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." - Mark Twain
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 7,882 Admiral
    Baby Tarpon are not so much into bays. Think Creeks , the far north of the backcountry.
    I see them rolling most of the time . 15 to 40's. I don't fish for them but I catch one by accident every now and then.
    I fish your waters as well for 25 years or so.
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,906 Captain
    In your area I'd be looking right near wherever you launch for baby tarpon -over at Flamingo, Buttonwood canal is full of them (that's the canal that leads from the inside ramp up to **** Bay where there's also lots of babies). The only thing is that, in my area (Flamingo), you just won't see them much until the water begins to really warm up.... We fish them a bit between May and September and only make the effort when we can see them rolling.... Remember that tarpon wherever you find them really, really don't like outboard motors so approach quietly if you want their attention...

    Over on your side there's always babies around the marina at Port of the Islands as well... When we're not tossing flies or popping bugs at them the usual routine is small jigs (nothing with a head heavier than 1/8oz.) with either Gulp tails or bucktail and just work them slow and easy. Hooks need to be really sharp and leaders around 30lb - hope this helps.
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • Mr.SnookMr.Snook NaplesPosts: 90 Greenhorn
    Once it gets a little warmer I have found them in and around the passes. Some pretty decent sized ones too. Normally I have fished a live threadfin under a float and have always hooked at least one. You can also try sight fishing them on the flats around southern tip Keywayden Island.
  • Keywest1515Keywest1515 Posts: 6 Greenhorn
    Thank you! I will think more in the creeks and where I launch. I use Google Earth like no other to try and find spots to fish. Appreciate the responses from everyone!
  • Keywest1515Keywest1515 Posts: 6 Greenhorn
    I've never tried Keywayden... I will for sure now.
  • Keywest1515Keywest1515 Posts: 6 Greenhorn
    Thank you Bob! I think I've been using too heavy of a jig. Great tip.
  • OldfloridanglerOldfloridangler Posts: 9 Greenhorn
    Thank you! I will think more in the creeks and where I launch. I use Google Earth like no other to try and find spots to fish. Appreciate the responses from everyone!
    Hush... Try Bing Maps birds eye view... you will ditch google..
  • MegalopsAtlanticusMegalopsAtlanticus Port of the Islands, FLPosts: 91 Greenhorn
    As mentioned, every single creek in the 10,000 Islands will hold baby Tarpon all year round.

    Oddly, we get a weird push of bigger juveniles (40lbs or so) every winter right before Christmas. At least, we have the past three years, since I always fish Christmas Eve and have caught inshore Tarpon every time (usuall several).

    Near Goodland you can catch baby Tarpon right from shore in Fruit Farm Creek. Or along 41 between Collier-Seminole and Port of the Islands. There are LOTS of baby tarpon in the Tamiami Canal within the Ten Thousand Islands WIldlife Refuge. Use tiny jigs.

    Or you could simply launch your boat at Collier-Seminole instead of Goodland and pull plenty of 15lb Tarpon out of the Blackwater River (swimbaits trolled, or jerkbaits casted) and adjoining Gill Rattle Creek (that name just screams "Tarpon", right?)

    Most of the little guys never leave the creeks all year. A lot of guys will say that the creeks will "be too fresh" all summer for Snook and Tarpon. But my results prove entirely opposite. The creeks hold small Tarpon all year long, regardless of temps and salinity.
    "Once in awhile you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right"
  • Icecat21Icecat21 Posts: 634 Officer
    Juvie Tarpon can be very tricky to find and catch...but once you know what you are looking for it becomes easier.
    Lots of great information on this thread.

    Cheers to all who contributed!
  • Keywest1515Keywest1515 Posts: 6 Greenhorn
    Hush... Try Bing Maps birds eye view... you will ditch google..

    Doesn't Bing just use an older version of Google Earth views? I'll give it a go though...I'm a Google Earth snob I guess.
  • Keywest1515Keywest1515 Posts: 6 Greenhorn
    As mentioned, every single creek in the 10,000 Islands will hold baby Tarpon all year round.

    Oddly, we get a weird push of bigger juveniles (40lbs or so) every winter right before Christmas. At least, we have the past three years, since I always fish Christmas Eve and have caught inshore Tarpon every time (usuall several).

    Near Goodland you can catch baby Tarpon right from shore in Fruit Farm Creek. Or along 41 between Collier-Seminole and Port of the Islands. There are LOTS of baby tarpon in the Tamiami Canal within the Ten Thousand Islands WIldlife Refuge. Use tiny jigs.

    Or you could simply launch your boat at Collier-Seminole instead of Goodland and pull plenty of 15lb Tarpon out of the Blackwater River (swimbaits trolled, or jerkbaits casted) and adjoining Gill Rattle Creek (that name just screams "Tarpon", right?)

    Most of the little guys never leave the creeks all year. A lot of guys will say that the creeks will "be too fresh" all summer for Snook and Tarpon. But my results prove entirely opposite. The creeks hold small Tarpon all year long, regardless of temps and salinity.


    Thanks Megalops
    I've seen that small boat ramp at Collier-Seminole reserve but never thought about putting in there. I thought it was just for the canoes you could rent. Would a 17' Key West be able to troll around there? I think I need to take off work and get out there... You all have been a huge help!
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