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Baby Tarpon on the LMR

Launched on the Little Manatee River just after noon today. Wind was blowing hard and water temp was 67 degrees. I got to my first spot and was working a 4" Rip Tide Mullet in Shadflash Shad. Reeling next to some structure on my second cast and my lure got hammered. Set the hook and a baby tarpon explodes out of the water. Get away from the structure and up he comes again. After an incredible aerial display, I slip the net under him. He came in at 27" to the fork. What a beauty and great start to the day.

Worked around a bit longer, but no more strikes there. Up river to a favorite back bay. An hour later and all I had to show for my efforts were 3 ladyfish (negative points) and 1 small jack. The wind was roaring and it was a cold wind too. So farther up river to another shallow bay. Finally got back on the board with a dink snook on a 3" RT mullet at 1:58pm. Two minutes later another snook about 16". Another dink at 2:04pm. Another on the next cast. Another dink on the cast after that. They were stacked on a bank that was sheltered from the wind. Did catch one more dinker and worked that bay a bit longer, but no other action.

Back down river to another backwater area. Set the hook on a decent 22 1/2" snook at 2:43pm. Hooked into a small tarpon just 4 minutes later, but he jumped and spit my lure. Caught a small jack at 2:57pm in this same cove. No more luck there so farther down river to another bay. Wind was howling. Worked the windy side, but it was miserable. Over to the calmer side. No action until I connected with a small snook at 3:36 pm. Got out of there.

Water was up so I decided to probe some docks. First dock and nada. Skipped my mullet under the 2nd dock and felt some heaviness. Set the hook at 3:59pm and a tarpon explodes out of the water under the dock and spits my lure. Cast back in. Reeling in and I see a flash of silver and a boil, but the fish did not commit or missed. Back under and out again. A fish strikes. Set the hook and up comes another 20" or so tarpon. Fight him to the boat and he spits the lure again. ****! Is there a school of tarpon under this dock? Lost another small tarpon at 4:08pm. Lose another on the next cast. He was decent. Didn't realize I had loosened my drag and that resulted in another lost tarpon at 4:11pm. No more strikes under that dock. Over to the next one and caught a small snook at 4:16pm. Next cast in there and hook and finally landed a small tarpon.

Back to the tarpon dock and landed a decent one at 4:22pm.

Worked a couple more docks and lost one other tarpon on that stretch. Up to another set of docks and not one strike. By this time it was almost 5:30pm, so I headed for the ramp. It was a pretty incredible day. Never had that much tarpon action in one day. It was pretty cool.
Improve Our Fishery - Practice Catch and Release

Replies

  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Oldsmar, FLPosts: 3,298 Moderator
    Good stuff, Dave. 
  • deerflydeerfly Posts: 813 Officer
    excellent, baby tarpon are the most fun to catch, way to get after it
    "impossibility cannot be concluded from a sample of failed efforts" - Edsger W. Dijkstra
  • Mackeral SnatcherMackeral Snatcher Posts: 11,755 AG
    Pretty good day I'd say.
    THERE SHOULD BE NO COMMERCIAL FISHING ALLOWED FOR ANY SPECIES THAT IS CONSIDERED OVERFISHED.
  • Bassin AssassinBassin Assassin Posts: 1,309 Officer
    Thanks guys. It was a fun time. 
    Improve Our Fishery - Practice Catch and Release
  • gogittumgogittum SW New MexicoPosts: 1,164 Officer
    The Little Manatee....??  In '04 I was on vacation in the area and a friend referred me to a campground on the LMR.  Just yesterday I was talking to someone about that trip and opened up Google Earth and looked for that campground.

    I remember that when I launched and headed down river, the campground was on my left.  Somewhat downstream I went under a very low railway bridge and kept on going.  I can't find that campground or bridge now.  I don't "think" I went under the freeway, but with my memory these days I wouldn't put money against that.  Any idea where I was ??

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/10LNOAwTuDlNImPyKm322iZj7PEBNBDYiqKTCydqJQps/edit?usp=sharing

    Here's the link to the story I published and shared on it.  I'd like to try that again.....whatever ate my shrimp took off like a space rocket and stood my hair on end.  I grinned for a long time afterward.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,727 Captain
    Love it!   Thanks for sharing. 
  • MulletMaster239MulletMaster239 Southwest FloridaPosts: 492 Deckhand
    gogittum said:
    The Little Manatee....??  In '04 I was on vacation in the area and a friend referred me to a campground on the LMR.  Just yesterday I was talking to someone about that trip and opened up Google Earth and looked for that campground.

    I remember that when I launched and headed down river, the campground was on my left.  Somewhat downstream I went under a very low railway bridge and kept on going.  I can't find that campground or bridge now.  I don't "think" I went under the freeway, but with my memory these days I wouldn't put money against that.  Any idea where I was ??

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/10LNOAwTuDlNImPyKm322iZj7PEBNBDYiqKTCydqJQps/edit?usp=sharing

    Here's the link to the story I published and shared on it.  I'd like to try that again.....whatever ate my shrimp took off like a space rocket and stood my hair on end.  I grinned for a long time afterward.
    Did the fish leave a big wake and did the line rise up like it was going to jump but it didn’t jump?  Could have been a giant, giant snook. Some of the biggest I’ve ever hooked they come on lighter tackle and smaller baits while targeting medium size snook they’re smart like that. I’ve been absolutely trashed on 4000 reels they can’t be stopped on that in a tight spot, head for the nearest cutoff hazard (they know exactly where to go) and open the hook out while I try in vain to pull it away.  Some spots full of cutoff hazards I sit out there for hours with heavy gear and big baits knowing they’re there and get nothing. Come back the next day with lighter gear targeting medium size snook and small tarpon, and of course the monster snook comes out and trashes me.  
  • gogittumgogittum SW New MexicoPosts: 1,164 Officer
    Didn't really have time to tell.....lots of adrenaline going in a huge hurry.  Based on my friend's recommendation, I was fishing light tackle - 6# test mono with no leader - the fish grabbed that live shrimp right beside the mangroves and took off.  I barely had time to get a look, then reached for motor start key to chase it and it broke off.  I doubt it was on for as much as 4 or 5 seconds.  Took a while to get my breathing sorted out again.   :smiley:

    Any idea where I was ??  What I'm seeing on Google Earth doesn't look familiar at all.
  • Bassin AssassinBassin Assassin Posts: 1,309 Officer
    edited January 12 #10
    That first pic is a great pic of Little Cockroach Bay. You came under the 41 bridge and under the train trestle heading for the mouth. Since this was 2004, that campground may be history. Older members may know, but I know of no campgrounds in that area now. You may have launched at Domino boat ramp. How far from the launch till you went under the 41 bride and train trestle?
    Improve Our Fishery - Practice Catch and Release
  • MulletMaster239MulletMaster239 Southwest FloridaPosts: 492 Deckhand
    gogittum said:
    Didn't really have time to tell.....lots of adrenaline going in a huge hurry.  Based on my friend's recommendation, I was fishing light tackle - 6# test mono with no leader - the fish grabbed that live shrimp right beside the mangroves and took off.  I barely had time to get a look, then reached for motor start key to chase it and it broke off.  I doubt it was on for as much as 4 or 5 seconds.  Took a while to get my breathing sorted out again.   :smiley:

    Any idea where I was ??  What I'm seeing on Google Earth doesn't look familiar at all.
    Not familiar with the area I’m a good ways south so I’m no help there.  Yes the adrenaline really picks up when one of those truly monster snook come along.  I am guessing that is what you hooked that day.  The way they take off is truly incredible.   Multiple line classes up on the gear and you’d have still been in awe.
  • gogittumgogittum SW New MexicoPosts: 1,164 Officer
    That first pic is a great pic of Little Cockroach Bay. You came under the 41 bridge and under the train trestle heading for the mouth. Since this was 2004, that campground may be history. Older members may know, but I know of no campgrounds in that area now. You may have launched at Domino boat ramp. How far from the launch till you went under the 41 bride and train trestle?
    Went back over it and the only possible place I could have launched is at the mobile home park just upstream of the 41 bridge.  Right next to Terry Dr.  They did have some transient spots there.  Looks different now and no more launch ramp, but as you say, that was 15 years before the current GE picture.
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