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Best Tarpon fishing place and traditional month

Looking to head to the keys with a buddy for a memorable tarpon trip.  Thoughts on where and when and the best guides to book.



  • INTREPID377INTREPID377 Posts: 3,736 Captain
    April/May is the time.
    Islamorada is the place.
  • NorthernNorthern Posts: 903 Officer
    Bahia Honda Bridge area is another great  spot around the same time.  Piner Wahoo would be a good contact for guiding.
  • 91tiger91tiger Posts: 555 Officer
    Contact Captain brian Gwilliam in Islamorada.  Great guy to spend a day on the water with and he is a great fisherman.  If you really want to crush the tarpon consider letting the captain know you are open to a night charter too.  Tarpon feed so much more at night than they do during the day.  I used to think I only wanted to catch them in the daytime because i wanted to see the jump.  But they are so big and silver that you can see them jump at night just fine and usually you are pointing a spotlight at them anyway so you see them just fine.  
  • clamdog1clamdog1 Posts: 21 Deckhand
    I hear varying opinions on fishing Bahia Honda.  Never had the opportunity.  Is it a zoo?

    Whats the typical program for the area?  Drift crabs or live bait back?

    Are there plenty of crabs to scoop up around May June?

    Any assistance would be helpful.
  • 91tiger91tiger Posts: 555 Officer
    You would be lucky to scoop up any crabs there.  It's not like Boca Grande where there are massive numbers of crabs drifting out on the big tides and you can make you own bait.  You will have to secure your own crabs and the tarpon there are very size selective and want crabs on the smaller side.  You better have a bunch of them too because you are continuously free drifting them in a raging current from and anchored position and it kills them fast.  depth control of the crab is critical too.  They will also eat mullet and pinfish there but the right size crab presented exactly right is the way to really smoke them.  It's not easy without someone showing you the ropes.  My guess is, obtaining a good supply of crabs is going to be extremly difficult this year with all the storm damage.  There was a couple down around Cudjoe that would deliver them but I am afraid they may be wiped out because I haven't seen them post anything to instagram since the storm.  
  • clamdog1clamdog1 Posts: 21 Deckhand
    Anyone using artificial for these guy's besides on the fly?
  • NorthernNorthern Posts: 903 Officer
    Bahia Honda bridge tarpon prefer crabs.
    Islamorada tarpon seem to prefer mullet.

    I think that it is easier to take the Islamorada tarpon on artificial baits that are mullet imitations. It won't be as fast as live bait hits though.  

    However, If you have the right sized crabs for bait, I think that you can jump more tarpon per time spent at the BH bridge that anywhere else when the run is on.
  • jbdba01jbdba01 Posts: 144 Deckhand
    Captain Tommy Z - google him for contact info.  You'll want to book soon - the good ones are booking up if not already booked up.
  • WideSpread25WideSpread25 Posts: 92 Deckhand
    I'm interested in this as well. We will be in Isla towards the end of May, and I would really like to get out and Tarpon fish but I don't want to just sit at a bridge and sink bait. I want to use artificial's. 
  • mtbrider85mtbrider85 Posts: 341 Deckhand
    ^^^ If you don't want to soak bait at a bridge/channel, give Jared Raskob(Silverking tv show guy) a call. I never fished with him, and I'm certain he's booked up for the season at this point, but its worth calling him as the good guides tend to all work together on a daily basis.
  • drew1drew1 Posts: 3 Greenhorn
    I know April/May is the accepted best time to catch a tarpon in the keys, but I found a spot last August while on vacation that was the best I've ever experienced.  It was a channel next to a flat that just looked fishy.  Using pinfish and live ballyhoo it was non-stop action.  My son got one the first day that was HUGE.  We didn't even try to get it out of the water.  The next day I was jumping them almost continuously, getting a couple to the boat.  Mine were only in the 50-75 pound range but a lot of fun on spinning tackle.  In between the tarpon I also caught a couple sharks (nurse definitely and lemon I think) and got bit off a couple times by a large 'cuda. My point is they are there all summer if you want to catch a tarpon and can't make the prime season 
  • capt.cohocapt.coho Posts: 18 Greenhorn
    clamdog1 said:
    Anyone using artificial for these guy's besides on the fly?
    Hard no, But if you join the ranks of us fluff chuckers you'll catch a lot more fish, get a better show, and feed a lot less sharks.
  • spydermanspyderman Posts: 7 Deckhand
    "We didn't even try to get it out of the water"
    Drew, tarpon over 40 inches aren't supposed to be taken out of the water.
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