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keys Tarpon

561tyler561tyler Lantana Posts: 1 Greenhorn
Hey guys,
  Being February tarpon season is just around the corner i have a couple questions. I am 21 born and raised in west palm beach Florida and have been fishing my whole life but for the past year or so fly fishing has consumed my life. i have caught the likes of Snook, Redfish, and small tarpon. But im in search for that 60lb plus ****. I recently purchased a 10wt finnor no.3 reel 2nd gen and a tfo axiom 2. should that be enough for these fish. also would you guys recommend float intermediate sink tip? what pound bite leader? and what are your favorite flies for these migrating fish? thankyou :smiley:


  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,665 Captain
    edited March 16 #2
    I’m   Booked to fish tarpon today inthe backcountry out of Flamingo.  My anglers will be using flies, lures, or live bait - whatever it takes.  Call me any night between 7 and 9pm and I’ll try to answer your questions. (954)435-5666
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • sunflowersunflower osprey, floridaPosts: 695 Officer
    edited March 17 #3

    And floating.
    Fighting a 100 pound Keys tarpon with a 10-weight will kill her or him. Even if you land it, the fight will take too long. No way you can lift it. You need a 12.
    Almost all Keys tarpon are hooked in shallow areas, usually 3 - 10 feet at the most. A floating line is the general recommendation.
    For what it's worth, a 10 is an exotic choice. It's usually the choice for permit. 
    Think of the 8 for 10-20 pound fish, a 10 for 30 -40 pound fish, and a 12 for big fish.
    This of course also varies by body shape, fish fight, and fighting depth.
    For leader, it matters if you want to hook more fish, or land more fish. If you want to hook more, use 40#, if you want to land more, use #60 pound.
    The favorite fly varies through the years. The general rule is darker flies for darker skies, lighter brighter flies for sunlight. Marabou toads are probably 80% your go-to fly. Smaller Puglesi flies are popular nowadays, as are purple and red worm patterns.
    I would throw a purple toad 100% of the time, and strip it with a two-handed technique.


    grace finds goodness in everything ...

  • tarponhuntertarponhunter Posts: 487 Deckhand
    Sunflower has some good advice for 60+lb fish you would want a 12wt, especially since you are probably still learning how to really apply pressure on a fish. His advice is great for the ocean and flats fish and maybe even around the bridges but those are where the sharks and the most people are gonna be too. In reality those fish are probably not your best bet if you actually want to have success though. Captain Bob will give you some absolutely great advice and my guess is it will mostly center around the everglades where its muuuuch easier to get these fish to eat. You'll also have a lot ore opportunities at fresh from 30-70lbs which would be perfect for the 10wt imo. Murky water there so dark flies are the go to and also usually a bit bigger. Also don't think you have to go down to the keys to get your shots. The beaches, inlets, and bridges around your area to the north and south all have good potential for tarpon at night and this mostly range from 20-60lbs with the occasional big mamma showing up.
  • sunflowersunflower osprey, floridaPosts: 695 Officer

    For me, the main advantage of smaller rods is that they are easier to cast (multiple times).
    I realize not everyone has a 6, 8, 10, and 12.

    Your arm will get tired, and your technique will break down, if you try to make a hundred casts with a 12-weight. But tarpon fishing, and really most tropical flats fishing, doesn't typically involve a lot of (blind) casts. Many days you might make only dozens (or way fewer) of sight-casts in 8 hours. When I fish for tarpon here in Venice, I often make only a few casts in an entire 6-hour day.

    It is generally easier to get bigger flies farther in the wind with appropriate-sized rods and lines.
    It's pretty hard to turn over a big Skok lead-eyed permit fly with an 8 or 6. Some of the bigger flies for tarpon, which aren't favored nowadays, are like throwing a sock on the end of your line.

    Bring a gun if you are hoping to get in a gunfight.

    grace finds goodness in everything ...

  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,665 Captain
    Y'all have covered most of the bases but here's a bit different perspective... In the backcountry of the 'glades the water is dark and the fish aren't migrating at all - they're just kind of hanging out (before they head out to spawn) - and then afterwards... with a fall climax when all of the bait inshore is fully mature and the fish are just gorging on them inshore, getting ready for winter...

    Unlike the Keys fishery and everywhere else where folks are fishing migrating fish in clear waters... we make lots and lots of casts each day over rolling, laid up, or finning out and motionless fish.... Most of our flies are quite large by most standards (my Tarpon Snake in standard size is six to seven inches long and really needs a 12wt to lay it out properly).

      The reward?  Big fish in small rivers, or out in open bays that average only four to six feet deep and these fish will eat anything that's properly presented until they notice you.... Our hook-up ratio (bites to hooks...) is much much higher than you'll have out in clear waters since you tend to feel a strike as opposed to seeing it... 

    Just a different world entirely (and our tarpon season actually starts much earlier than down in the Keys since the interior of the 'glades has warmer waters than anywhere else inshore each winter and very, very early spring...).  When our tarpon finally head out to spawn (in my area they don't leave until the end of the first week of May... they leave behind all the fish that are sixty pounds and smaller - great fish for a 10wt, even up in a small river and they're in bays, creeks, and rivers all summer long...   
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • sunflowersunflower osprey, floridaPosts: 695 Officer

    Imagine I have spent a few dozens or hundreds of hours fly fishing.
    Imagine I have spent only a tiny fraction of that fishing for tarpon.

    Capt. LeMay has spent thousands and thousands of hours.

    Stick with what he says.


    grace finds goodness in everything ...

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