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tarpon, anyone (everyone?)

Its that time of year again. Although we hit the water at 6 we saw lots of boats were heading out, earlier than usual. We got to our spot about 6:20. first cast, fish on and jumpin! by 630 three boats had come in on that school. One other boat was headed there same time as us and they just drifted, as we did, too. I looked over and they were on. Got the fish to boat in fifteen minutes. Set back up close to beach, and in a minute or so, had a guy, solo, motor between me and beach, where fish were and pulled between and the other boat that had hooked up. HE kills motor. a few minutes later he motors down onto the next batch of boats working fish...two more boats rolled in within five minutes. By seven the place was nuts and we had to leave. Next spot, no one in sight. no fish in sight. guy blows between me and beach and sets up a hundred yds to the south, the direction fish are coming from.  Had to move. next spot too many boats, had to move... fish seemed to go deeper and deeper. A solid bite, shut down by over zealous anglers.

As tarpon season gets underway, we are experiencing huge numbers of anglers on the water recently. While many display some or lots of etiquette many do not even understand that they are interfering with an angling process that requires a lot of work.  Motoring in between two boats hooking up will not get you a fish (or any new friends). The fish will go away. You are better off just drifting or anchoring and much more likely to hook a fish.

Take some time and read up some more on tarpon fishing etiquette and tarpon behavior. Trent posted this a couple years back. (he's a well of info if you pay attention, or can use the search button)
https://forums.floridasportsman.com/discussion/248052/tarpon-behavior-patterns-and-reading-fish

Good luck, be safe and courteous out there!

Replies

  • CaptainBlyCaptainBly Posts: 2,338 Captain
    Let the circus begin...In Boca Grande for the next 8 days so my zoo will be even worse than that but still can't wait...Tomorrow morning will be the first official trip.
    In Loving Memory of James Zielske, January 19, 1957-July 5, 2013
  • FusionZ06FusionZ06 Posts: 1,012 Officer
    Every year. Same stuff. Social media makes it worse. I don't bother posting stuff like this or trying it educate. Why? It falls on deaf ears. You'll never get people to do it the "right" way. Just move on. I used to care and try to educate and found out it was causing more frustration and fights. Now, I just go fishing and let others do as they please. I'll politely tell some one in person the proper thing to do if it comes to it but for the most part people are selfish, stubborn and stupid. 
  • TrevfishinTrevfishin In my mind I'm in my kayak fishing, unfortunately physically I'm at work :(Posts: 709 Officer
    Ok, so I read the article, but curious of your opinion of distancing between boats set up on the beach.  I kayak off the beach in Siesta Key, know where the trough/highway runs, how much distance do you want?  Last time I setup 50-75yds from someone and we both hooked up.  Heading to Anna Maria and will do the same.
  • Kokosing LoverKokosing Lover Posts: 775 Officer
    Ok, so I read the article, but curious of your opinion of distancing between boats set up on the beach.  I kayak off the beach in Siesta Key, know where the trough/highway runs, how much distance do you want?  Last time I setup 50-75yds from someone and we both hooked up.  Heading to Anna Maria and will do the same.
    If you're in a non-motorized kayak, then most of this criticism wouldn't apply to you anyway.  Paddles don't disrupt fish like outboards do.  Best distance for the actual fishing, that's a good question.
  • TrevfishinTrevfishin In my mind I'm in my kayak fishing, unfortunately physically I'm at work :(Posts: 709 Officer
    I'll typically drift for a little bit to see how the current is going and then anchor up accordingly.  I do one on the bottom and one under a float.  Let it drift at least 10yds before putting it in the rod holder.
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 16,985 AG
    edited May 30 #7
    Beach fishing is getting harder and harder to handle with each passing year.

    I'm glad to read you got on a few early -- that's about what we're left hoping for these days.
  • TrevfishinTrevfishin In my mind I'm in my kayak fishing, unfortunately physically I'm at work :(Posts: 709 Officer
    Why is beach fishing getting harder?  Crowds?  Pressure?  Interesting comment.
  • Kokosing LoverKokosing Lover Posts: 775 Officer
    Why is beach fishing getting harder?  Crowds?  Pressure?  Interesting comment.
    Too many idiots running at full throttle right through the fishing grounds instead of running a half mile farther out and then idling in closer when the choose to fish.
  • permit_mepermit_me Posts: 1,075 Officer
    KL - exactly. add  a few stop and try for the fish others have set up for.

    as for kayakers, they are not an issue. either is some one with their engine off, drifting, or anchored up in close.  

    If a few read, then experience it themselves its worth mentioning.  Most, however don't have any clue that we are even tarpon fishing, or about tarpon fishing itself, so that part is pointless.

    I don't believe most do it out of spite, but rather plain ignorance, on many levels.
    if you have no experience the best thing to do is anchor up about 100 yd off beach, drift a couple lines and throw to passing fish.  You lose no time moving. have an anchor ball attached and line ready to throw over when you get hooked up.
    next best thing to do is drift from beach out up to a mile, idle back in and set up on beach again for another drift.  

    However, a few weeks ago we were blessed a tarpon mid morning off a state park in the background with nobody on the beach, when they were closed, no boats in sight...then the reopening of life again. finding a place that is a ways away often pays off.  

  • stpetebaitmanstpetebaitman St. PetePosts: 940 Officer
    edited May 31 #11
    We are experiencing a massive increase in the amount of people targeting tarpon.  In my opinion the issue of etiquette stems from our grass flats. I will elaborate...

    We are experiencing more tarpon fisherman on the water because of the increased pressure on the flats. I think people are sick of the crowds, so they are moving to tarpon. If you go to a popular fishing area like Fort Desoto or Weedon Island on a weekend day there are 50 boats fishing within a 400 yard stretch of shoreline.  More often than not, they create a half moon around a school of redfish and trap them against the mangroves with boats. It is a pathetic way to fish. These guys are coming out to fish for tarpon with their flats fishing mentality. They will come right up on you like its no big deal. This obviously doesn't work with tarpon fishing. In fact it causes everyone pain by shutting down the fish. It is a real shame.

    My prediction is that these newbies will fish for tarpon this year, maybe hook one or three and probably won't land any. But you go out there and get skunked enough by running over the fish, sooner or later you're going to quit. Maybe if we are extremely lucky the people who only know how to catch tarpon by chunking will realize they are terrible at tarpon fishing and give up too :)

    Come late June, the crowds will settle down and the fish will be patrolling the zones where there are little to no tarpon fisherman to harass them.

    I can't wait for a month from now.




  • TrevfishinTrevfishin In my mind I'm in my kayak fishing, unfortunately physically I'm at work :(Posts: 709 Officer
    Took me 3 years to learn the pattern of the tarpon off Siesta Key POR. Once I figure it out I’ve hooked 4 landed 2 in my kayak. You might say that took me a while, but I only did it on my weeks vacation each year. 

    I get the frustration from the running and gunning guys going through the fishing grounds.  I’m a bobbing target to them. I do my best to get out early or after 6 due to reduced boat traffic. 

    Will be at Anna Maria in a week, hoping to hook a few. 
  • Kokosing LoverKokosing Lover Posts: 775 Officer
    These guys are coming out to fish for tarpon with their flats fishing mentality. They will come right up on you like its no big deal. This obviously doesn't work with tarpon fishing. 

    This doesn't work for flats fishing either.  This is mostly the tower boat crowd; the guys who only know how to live chum the mangrove edges to the point where they're just shifting biomass from one part of the bay to another.  I've always considered flats fishing to be working the potholes at either dawn or a particular tide as quietly as possible; that's where my bias is.

    I'll add what I consider to be another contributing factor:  The emergency closure of trout, snook and reds is pushing a LOT of inshore guys to look for alternatives.

    My modus operandi for this time of year and this level of crowding is always to fish at night.
  • FusionZ06FusionZ06 Posts: 1,012 Officer
    We are experiencing a massive increase in the amount of people targeting tarpon.  In my opinion the issue of etiquette stems from our grass flats. I will elaborate...

    We are experiencing more tarpon fisherman on the water because of the increased pressure on the flats. I think people are sick of the crowds, so they are moving to tarpon. If you go to a popular fishing area like Fort Desoto or Weedon Island on a weekend day there are 50 boats fishing within a 400 yard stretch of shoreline.  More often than not, they create a half moon around a school of redfish and trap them against the mangroves with boats. It is a pathetic way to fish. These guys are coming out to fish for tarpon with their flats fishing mentality. They will come right up on you like its no big deal. This obviously doesn't work with tarpon fishing. In fact it causes everyone pain by shutting down the fish. It is a real shame.

    My prediction is that these newbies will fish for tarpon this year, maybe hook one or three and probably won't land any. But you go out there and get skunked enough by running over the fish, sooner or later you're going to quit. Maybe if we are extremely lucky the people who only know how to catch tarpon by chunking will realize they are terrible at tarpon fishing and give up too :)

    Come late June, the crowds will settle down and the fish will be patrolling the zones where there are little to no tarpon fisherman to harass them.

    I can't wait for a month from now.




    It's not just the grass flats. It's social media. Remember every year around April there would be posts about tarpon and it'd be hush hush. Now it's all over social media mostly bean pickers. It's the downfall of fishing and really our society. It's ruining relationships,  breeding discontentment, mental health is suffering and suicide rates are alarming. This isn't unique to fishing just scour Instagram and see the "look at me" mentality in yoga, rock climbing, dancing, skating, sports, you name it the the unhealthy comparison competition never ends.  
  • spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 2,709 Captain
    edited May 31 #15
    I don't really target tarpon anymore, but the pressure all around, nowadays, is surreal.  It may finally be time to move and this is my home and I love it :/
    I do still know how to avoid the crowds, but I sure as heck ain't saying how.
    There will never be a really free and enlightened state until the state comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived.
  • scootybscootyb Posts: 111 Deckhand
    Ya I have lived in pinellas County my whole life grew up on a canal in shore acres area and I have come to the point I have been trying to talk my wife into moving north for a while now. I have been fishing around here for 45yrs and it just sucks to inshore fish anymore here, used to tarpon fish almost every day in late 80's and early 90's havent done the tarpon thing in a few years so went the other day was off beach at first light.and no one there then  all hell broke loose, pontoon boats,waverunners, and that was enough, now that  grouper season is starting i am gonna head offshore when weather permits in my 21bay boat, done alot of grouper fishing in it over the years but I am to the point I need a bigger boat 
  • Kokosing LoverKokosing Lover Posts: 775 Officer
    FusionZ06 said:
    It's not just the grass flats. It's social media. Remember every year around April there would be posts about tarpon and it'd be hush hush. Now it's all over social media mostly bean pickers. It's the downfall of fishing and really our society. It's ruining relationships,  breeding discontentment, mental health is suffering and suicide rates are alarming. This isn't unique to fishing just scour Instagram and see the "look at me" mentality in yoga, rock climbing, dancing, skating, sports, you name it the the unhealthy comparison competition never ends.  
    What are the "bean pickers"?
  • FusionZ06FusionZ06 Posts: 1,012 Officer
    edited May 31 #18
    FusionZ06 said:
    It's not just the grass flats. It's social media. Remember every year around April there would be posts about tarpon and it'd be hush hush. Now it's all over social media mostly bean pickers. It's the downfall of fishing and really our society. It's ruining relationships,  breeding discontentment, mental health is suffering and suicide rates are alarming. This isn't unique to fishing just scour Instagram and see the "look at me" mentality in yoga, rock climbing, dancing, skating, sports, you name it the the unhealthy comparison competition never ends.  
    What are the "bean pickers"?
    Those who go around and just snoop and snake spots on social media. Never putting in their own work. 

    Let me give you an example, a local well known captain who loves to post on social media and go live with no respect for hiding the background shows everyone where he is fishing. Next day all of the bean pickers are out there. What drives me crazy is when the captain complains that people are "following" him. Dude, you brought this upon yourself. 

    I have like an inner sanctum of people I fish with. You violate the trust we ain't fishing together...
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