What do I need to do different... Juvi Tarpon?

The past few weeks I've missed more tarpon than I care to remember. Last night I honestly missed a minimum of 20 solid hits by tarpon and I only hooked up once. These are all tarpon between 10 and 40 lbs for the most part. They hit so dang fast that I'm not fast enough to set the hook. It's REALLY frustrating. My hooks seem sharp but other than that I don't know what to do or change. Any ideas? BTW I was using terroreyz and baitbusters.
Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
2017 Tarpon Count: 109/431
Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
Instagram is @crooked_rod_charters

Replies

  • Lead slingerLead slinger Posts: 449 Officer
    Are you setting soon as you feel the strike or waiting?
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 2,804 Captain
    Are you setting soon as you feel the strike or waiting?

    I don't have time to set. They smack the lure so fast it's over before I can even react.
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    2017 Tarpon Count: 109/431
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
    Instagram is @crooked_rod_charters
  • stpetebaitmanstpetebaitman Posts: 893 Officer
    Once you feel the take, you want to wait approx 1-2seconds before setting the hook. When tarpon eat a lure they strike it and then generally do a 90-180 degree turn. By waiting for them to turn around the hook will stick in the corner of the mouth instead of popping out the front when you go to set. Great job getting them to eat. This takes a little practice. Reel your lure in at the same pace and once you feel the eat, keep reeling at the same pace until you feel the weight of the fish, then set the hook.
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 2,804 Captain
    Normally I can do what you describe but the past few weeks and especially last night they hit it and were gone before I could even react. I wonder if using some mono line that has stretch to it would help give them a second to turn? Seriously last night it was like they were just head butting the lures full steam... I just couldn't get one to keep the lure in its mouth for longer than the initial bump.
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    2017 Tarpon Count: 109/431
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
    Instagram is @crooked_rod_charters
  • stpetebaitmanstpetebaitman Posts: 893 Officer
    I've dealt with that before. Couple of options... Switch to live bait. Finger mullet, tiger minnows, creek chubs, pinfish and simply use a circle hook. Or, (and I would try to stay away from this)...switch to a mirrodine or something similar, with treble hooks. Bend down the barbs. But I really don't like using trebles for tarpon. Unhooking them can be a disaster and there is a possibility of harming the fish with all the hooks.

    Others will have different perspectives, but that is what has worked for me in situations you're describing.

    ps that is the most fun size, just small enough to still be able to use an inshore setup.
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 11,231 AG
    Trent (Stpetebaitmain) got it right in his first post, IMO.

    That said, I'd try a different hook and make sure it's really sharp, like dig into your fingernail sharp...because you're not likely to hook a small guy in the button, so the hook has to hold somewhere in the mouth.

    I had a similar problem when fly fishing, and it ended up being a bad hook point.

    Check your hook.
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 2,804 Captain
    Thanks guys. I'll try to sharpen the hooks better today. I keep a fine stone with me but in the dark last night everything seemed fine.
    Weird thing about the live bait... I've never been able to get one of these tarpon to take live bait at this spot. I know it makes no sense at all but they just don't take it. It's gotta be presentation. I've tried little 2-3" finger mullet under a cork floated with the current (lots of current here), I've tried sticking them on the bottom with a weight, free lining them... just nothing seems to work for some reason. I've also done the same with bigger finger mullet... around 5-6". They usually get torn up by the snook before the tarpon ever see them but sometimes they'll just sit and swim in the current for an hour with nothing. Tarpon rolling all around. It's so weird.
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    2017 Tarpon Count: 109/431
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
    Instagram is @crooked_rod_charters
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 2,804 Captain
    Oh and the water is so dark here (Charlotte Harbor/Myakka River) that I'm not sure leader size makes a difference... but I use everything from 30 lb up to 55 lb and I haven't noticed any difference in hits.
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    2017 Tarpon Count: 109/431
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
    Instagram is @crooked_rod_charters
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 2,804 Captain
    I just thought of a good idea... it just might work.
    I took a 3/0 circle hook and pushed it through a terroreyz just like a normal one, then I crimped a small split shot on the hook where the eye of the terroreyz normally is... I THINK this might give me a better chance but who knows... it's definitely worth a try.
    Will report back tomorrow.
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    2017 Tarpon Count: 109/431
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
    Instagram is @crooked_rod_charters
  • stpetebaitmanstpetebaitman Posts: 893 Officer
    I would stick to the j-hook. You cant exactly 'set' a circle hook, which is really what you need to do with those fish. Worth a shot I suppose.
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 2,804 Captain
    You're probably right... I just remember "Captain Ross" on here and the success he has had with Hogys and circle hooks... figure it's worth a shot. It definitely can't get any worse than it was last night. Lol.
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    2017 Tarpon Count: 109/431
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
    Instagram is @crooked_rod_charters
  • Real VReal V Posts: 465 Officer
    Are you seeing all these tarpon. The ladies have moved in. I know what your saying it happened Saturday night also, but we caught about 12 ladies. They hit wam-bam-thank you mam and are gone.
    What time did you get there last night. I left at 6:15
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 2,804 Captain
    Yes there were tarpon rolling everywhere once it got dark. I got there about 7:00. I did catch a few ladies and even used one as bait.
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    2017 Tarpon Count: 109/431
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
    Instagram is @crooked_rod_charters
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 2,804 Captain
    Here's a pic of the rigging:

    AEA7F1A4-B8C7-428D-AB89-E872CCDBCBBE_zpsbr9hnmcy.jpg

    2AB67DE4-66DB-4E90-91F3-237EDA2406F0_zpscxq3ibz2.jpg
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    2017 Tarpon Count: 109/431
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
    Instagram is @crooked_rod_charters
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 11,231 AG
    it's worth a shot, but a short and VERY sharp j-hook is what I'd use. you're more likely to hook those small tarpon inside the mouth than in the corner, in my experience. we never had any luck using circles with jigs or flies. but what do I know? try it and let us know how you do.

    p.s. sometimes tarpon simply won't eat and it doesn't matter what you throw at them. juvies seem to be even more selective than the larger fish in many ways. i'd go out an hour or so before moonrise or moonset, after dark, and see if those fish don't eat any artificial fished slow and steady. the bottom line is it's harder to find tarpon in an eating mood than it is to find an artificial or live bait they'll eat.
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