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How to get very picky tarpon to eat

wahoo1900wahoo1900 Hillsboro InletPosts: 47 Deckhand
At the pier that I fish at there are so many tarpon that cruise by and around, but no matter what I throw to them they never seem to be interested. These are big tarpon too, smallest usually 70lbs+. I really want to sight fish and catch one. I’ve pitched everything you can imagine to them, live mullet, live bluerunners, live croakers, half alive baits, lures. Ironically the only thing I’ve ever hooked one on, was a tiny white crappie jig and a 100lber ate it, but there’s no chance of fighting one of those with those tiny hooks. Any suggestions for getting one of these things to eat?

Replies

  • conchydongconchydong Pompano BeachPosts: 12,286 AG
    Make them stupid. Get a five gallon bucket full of chunks of dead fish and just start tossing them in till you get them into a frenzy and then put a hook in one of the chunks.

    “Everyone behaves badly--given the chance.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • wahoo1900wahoo1900 Hillsboro InletPosts: 47 Deckhand
    Make them stupid. Get a five gallon bucket full of chunks of dead fish and just start tossing them in till you get them into a frenzy and then put a hook in one of the chunks.
    That’s not a bad idea actually, the problem is I don’t know if they will stay in the same area so that you can get them to start eating, they always seem to be on the moving going around the pier
  • Tony RomaTony Roma Posts: 2,755 Captain
    Catch a 6 inch catfish, cut barbs off and toss him out on a bobber or freeline
  • bocapup1bocapup1 Posts: 1,502 Captain
    Make them stupid. Get a five gallon bucket full of chunks of dead fish and just start tossing them in till you get them into a frenzy and then put a hook in one of the chunks.
    Nailed it for you sir ☝️
  • cortrcortr Posts: 517 Officer
    Live Pass Crab
  • poncedoradoponcedorado Posts: 767 Officer
    Sometimes they'll hit a freelined shrimp when they're not in enough of an aggressive feeding mood to go for a larger baitfish
  • tarponhuntertarponhunter Posts: 490 Deckhand
    I'd say try fishing for them at night if you can. They're mainly nocturnal predators and the lights of the pier attract all sorts of bait. Most guys I know that catch them during the day use runners or goggle eyes or pilchard so youre not doing it wrong they can just be picky during the day.
  • wahoo1900wahoo1900 Hillsboro InletPosts: 47 Deckhand
    I'd say try fishing for them at night if you can. They're mainly nocturnal predators and the lights of the pier attract all sorts of bait. Most guys I know that catch them during the day use runners or goggle eyes or pilchard so youre not doing it wrong they can just be picky during the day.
    At night, should I throw artificial, like a swimbait or jig, or should I use live bait?
  • brocktnormanbrocktnorman MiamiPosts: 10 Deckhand
    wahoo1900 said:
    I'd say try fishing for them at night if you can. They're mainly nocturnal predators and the lights of the pier attract all sorts of bait. Most guys I know that catch them during the day use runners or goggle eyes or pilchard so youre not doing it wrong they can just be picky during the day.
    At night, should I throw artificial, like a swimbait or jig, or should I use live bait?
    I think it'd be hard for a **** to turn down a large shrimp at night, especially if you drift the shrimp right on the edge of the shadow line.
  • 1FSM1FSM Posts: 147 Deckhand
    Couple suggestions I can offer based on my limited experience...
    Fish at night...later the better 
    When you see them try chumming with live shrimp.  You don't need a lot 2 or 3 at a time is sufficient.
    Bait with large frisky live shrimp. 
    Finally, free line the bait and use light leader (40 lb. floro) and small hook (about 3/0). 
     

  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 16,463 AG
    you gotta make airplane noises while you retrieve the lure past their mouths.  
    You can't pet a dead dog back to life 
  • wahoo1900wahoo1900 Hillsboro InletPosts: 47 Deckhand
    you gotta make airplane noises while you retrieve the lure past their mouths.  
    you gotta make airplane noises while you retrieve the lure past their mouths.  
    10-4 might even bring a bib, pacifier, and a baby chair for them to eat in
  • SUPER DSUPER D Posts: 737 Officer
    When they roll, do they stay on top or do they sink out of sight? Chances are they are feeding on bottom. Try a dark jig, let sink all the way to bottom then retrieve slow and steady, no jerks or pops. 
  • Tony RomaTony Roma Posts: 2,755 Captain
    wahoo1900 said:
    you gotta make airplane noises while you retrieve the lure past their mouths.  
    you gotta make airplane noises while you retrieve the lure past their mouths.  
    10-4 might even bring a bib, pacifier, and a baby chair for them to eat in
    “Here comes the airplane”
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 19,184 AG
    edited April 2021 #16
    While reading the responses to this thread, and to me, the two best ideas I read were to try to chum them up (they are very susceptible to this technique) and to try at night (they have that giant eye for just that reason).

    Chumming is pretty straightforward.  As far as fishing for them at night, I would strongly suggest a combination of large cut bait on the bottom (shad, catfish, mullet, etc.) and casting a DOA Baitbuster (trolling model in any dark color) repeatedly and fishing it mid-water (i.e. casting it out, letting it sink for a few seconds, then reeling it straight in slowly).

    If there are lights (and even more importantly a good shadow line), fish along the edge of where it goes from light to dark.  The feeding tarpon will generally be in the dark and feeding into the light.  If you can spot them traveling along the shadow line in the dark, so much the better -- those are fish that are actively feeding and you can pitch small live baits or lures (like the aforementioned baitbuster) at them.   

    Good luck.
  • MulletMaster239MulletMaster239 Southwest FloridaPosts: 873 Officer
    How long are your trips and what time of day do you typically fish?
  • BattlefishBattlefish Jacksonville, FLPosts: 334 Deckhand
    Simplify your rig. 50 lb braid with 80lb mono tied to it. No swivels no weights. Circle hook very sharp, 6 or 7 size. Snelled to the mono. 
    Fishing YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyKdiam7vzvGthpaR1Anrdw 

    BattleFish
  • Kokosing LoverKokosing Lover Posts: 1,157 Officer
    you gotta make airplane noises while you retrieve the lure past their mouths.  
    Does "here comes the choo-choo" also work?
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