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two casts, one tarpon ... easy peasy

sunflowersunflower Posts: 745 Officer

So, this forum has been dead dead dead lately.

Might as well post something.
It's a little early for tarpon fishing in the ocean off the beach here in Venice Florida. I don't usually start until the middle to the end of May. (Our "season" is mid-May to end-of-June). Friends have been saying they see tarpon, and I was sweating as I walked to my car in the morning, and we have love bugs.
That usually means it is season.

I went out with a friend. I was fly, he was bait.
It was a little cooler and rougher than I expected. We saw a pod of tarpon within the first half hour. They were quiet, and nicely swimming in a daisy-chain. I couldn't get close quickly, because I had a couple of live-baits drifting off the back of my Talon.

(don't ask! ... bait-fishing for a friend !!)

My other friend was about 50 yards away in his boat. I called him and pointed out the fish moving towards him. He trolled closer, and hooked up after his second cast. He was using a purple bunny, slow two-handed retrieve. 

Well, there you go.

He landed a nice 110-pounder after about 45 minutes.
(I'll bet he doesn't get another one all season)

easy peasy.


grace finds goodness in everything ...


  • swampdogswampdog Posts: 5,684 Admiral
    Nice report. You went and were a good witness to what your friend did. I been there as well ;)
  • DES51DES51 Posts: 289 Deckhand
    Boca Grande Pass is pretty busy. They must be around.
  • tarpon41tarpon41 Posts: 304 Deckhand
    As she sang it..."that's what friends are for..."
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,908 Captain
    My angler last Monday got a 50 to 60lb fish on a 10wt up inside the backcountry on his fifth or sixth cast that morning... Then we spent the next two days in fish (on Tuesday we were in fish for hours... up a river - and not a single bite..). On Wednesday he did score a nice slot snook on an 8wt - but those tarpon?  I went home talking to myself... 

    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • sunflowersunflower Posts: 745 Officer

    Capt. LeMay,

                 so what do you do when fish won't bite? I realize it is a complicated issue. I imagine fish you change the strip from slow to fast, smooth to twitchy; then I guess the color? Then the size? Then type?
    Any tips for the first responses to refusal?


    grace finds goodness in everything ...

  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,908 Captain
    This time of year - all of our big fish have left my area (the interior and Gulf coast of the Everglades) - heading down to Islamorada to spawn (but they'll head back our way towards the end of summer and we'll get a "second season" in late September into October then it will all be over that first cold night about a week before Halloween (usually...).  The good news is that all the fish from 60lbs on down get left behind and that's what we're fishing now.... Note... on the plus side my area gets the first big tarpon up shallow in mid winter when it gets mild and the waters in Whitewater Bay are just warmer than anywhere else (including the Keys...)....

    At any rate we have fish along the coast, and around river mouths - as well as up inside many of the rivers that drain out of the interior and at times load up in Oyster Bay and nearby areas (they move around a lot..). All of our fish aren't going very far at all, moving with the tide at times - and sometimes holding in those small rivers I mentioned - for days on end - so we're not working fish that are going anywhere (compared to everyone else working migrating fish each day...) -  and our waters are dark so the fish are much more approachable.  Our usual strategy is to work rolling fish or floating fish when the conditions allow.  Some days they'll eat anything you toss at them - other days... you go home talking to yourself.. 

    You have a few different choices to make each day -providing you can find the fish in numbers... Keep working them hoping for a bite - or leave ones that aren't responding and go find fish in other places that might be more receptive.  I can tell you from long experience that you can be in fish for a few hours that just aren't interested - then suddenly for an hour or so - they'll eat anything that comes their way... It can be frustrating or wildly successful (and everything in between..). Fish at dawn or dusk are usually easier to feed -but if the ramp at Flamingo is a long way from where the fish are -most days it's a 21 mile run out to the Gulf coast north or south of the Little Shark river- so to be there at dawn.... means a very early day... 

    Since the fish range from babies to a solid sixty pounds this time of year (and all summer long...) we use a wide range of gear - from small popping bugs on a 7 or 8wt rod all the way up to a 12wt if we're working bigger fish up in the "rivers"... and the flies will range in size widely from a six to seven inch big dark fly down to a tiny maribou fly on a #4 hook... 

    Just nothing like the 'glades.. and once you leave Flamingo it's miles and miles of wilderness, wild mangrove jungle shorelines with creeks, rivers, bays - and it's a big big area to cover... The chart to look at for my area online is...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • sunflowersunflower Posts: 745 Officer
    A great description of a unique and world-famous fishery.
    Plus, great guides, great equipment, and no travel-troubles!
    I'm in!


    grace finds goodness in everything ...

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