Home Fly Fishing

Tarpon at Homosassa?

Sage ManSage Man Posts: 195 Officer
I remember many, many years ago when Homosassa was a top flight destination for tarpon....world records etc. Then, for whatever reason, it fell off.

Are there tarpon there in decent numbers these days? I don't read much about tarpon fishing there anymore.

I want to take my wife and daughters scalloping down that way and wonder if it would be worth it to build in a day or two or tarpon fishing.

TIA

Replies

  • sunflowersunflower osprey, floridaPosts: 685 Officer
    I have no personal experience, but I believe the season is earlier than July, which is when I believe scalloping begins.
    Mark

    grace finds goodness in everything ...



  • PilchardPilchard Posts: 1,373 Officer
    Homosassa has gone down hill to the point I no longer go there. I used to spend 2-4 weeks a year there tarpon fishing. Last time I went (2011) I got 4 shots in 3 days.... I can do that in my own back yard...

    In it's glory days the place was amazing... Schools of tarpon everywhere you looked and they would eat any fly you put in front of them.

    I'm not sure what caused the decline but the fish just don't go there like they used to.
  • Sage ManSage Man Posts: 195 Officer
    Pilchard wrote: »
    Homosassa has gone down hill to the point I no longer go there. I used to spend 2-4 weeks a year there tarpon fishing. Last time I went (2011) I got 4 shots in 3 days.... I can do that in my own back yard...

    In it's glory days the place was amazing... Schools of tarpon everywhere you looked and they would eat any fly you put in front of them.

    I'm not sure what caused the decline but the fish just don't go there like they used to.



    Thanks...not what I wanted to hear...but thanks. When were the glory years? The 70s and 80s? or later than that.
  • PilchardPilchard Posts: 1,373 Officer
    I wasn't around to see the 70s but a few friends and acquaintances were.

    I fished there every year from 1991- 2004 and it went down hill every year.

    There were still really big fish there and still are today but the numbers have declined significantly and the fish got smart. The shots you got were still easier to get to feed than oceanside, keys fish but nothing like what it used to be.
  • permit_mepermit_me Posts: 1,192 Officer
    Pilchard wrote: »
    Homosassa has gone down hill to the point I no longer go there. I used to spend 2-4 weeks a year there tarpon fishing. Last time I went (2011) I got 4 shots in 3 days.... I can do that in my own back yard...

    In it's glory days the place was amazing... Schools of tarpon everywhere you looked and they would eat any fly you put in front of them.

    I'm not sure what caused the decline but the fish just don't go there like they used to.

    I believe the fish first come here in April/May


    An old timer once told me that area down through Bayport used to have a huge prawn population and that it was wiped out sometime in the late 50's. I suspect that fish still came there out of habit, finding less and less bait. Mullet has been hit hard too over the years. I live up here and still fish down south...

    I also wonder if those fish are fish that come in from the deep ocean? To the south some of the biggest tarpon I've ever seen and or caught seem to come in from the deep in early season.
  • jaymjaym Posts: 121 Deckhand
    I have fished Homosassa since 1995 and can confirm the above. The guy I fish with was showed the area by Harold Lemaster (sp?), the guy who started mirrolure. I have kept track and 50% of the days I have not seen a fish. I will say that I have seen fish there that would eclipse the existing world records by quite a bit, one followed the fly until I had leader in the rod tip. The fish seem to be coming later every year.
  • jaymjaym Posts: 121 Deckhand
    A couple added thoughts.

    1. Most of the world records are from this area and came from early May, usually the first week.
    2. Why did the fishery decline. Here are my thoughts.
    1. Pressure - A guide recalled counting 100+ skiffs all tarpon fishing back in the peak.
    2. Commercial fishery - I personally counted 65 crab traps on the north side of the Bayport channel on the ride out. The south side had just as many. It was a mine field.
    3. This area has three spring fed rivers and the freshwater flow is way down from the 70s and 80s. From what I understand one of the main recharge zones for the Chaz river is directly where The Villages sits and pumps it water from.

    There are also some thoughts that the fish never got a chance to come in and relax. It was pretty popular for a while to make a run before daylight and throw plugs or bait at the fish that were laying up and chilling out.
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