Home Fly Fishing

October Keys Tarpon

Sage ManSage Man Posts: 195 Officer
Looking back at some old issues of Florida Sportsman, I ran across these comments in the "Best Bet" Keys section of the October 98 issue:

"Tarpon will lay up on the Gulfside of bridges this month when the weather is mild. You can catch them on flies or try to feel them small baits on spinning gear. They're hungry and you'll find many places to sight fish without spring-type crowds"

That sounds, as Schultz used to say on Hogan's Heros, "very, very interesting". We live in Alabama but I'm getting to the point where I'm nearing retirement and could swing a month down there. I've tried for years to get one on a fly with no luck.

I know this is spot on because it was in Florida Sportsman. :wink

Do you think these comments are still relevant? Has anything changed? I'm intrigued.


  • BacklashBacklash Posts: 880 Officer
    There are resident tarpon at the bridges year round.
    I went out for a quick wade and casting session last night and went 8 for 12 fish in 1.5hrs.
    Mostly juvi fish, but I did jump a few in the 60-80lb range as well.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,639 Captain
    The first three weeks of October can be outstanding along the Gulf coast of the Everglades for big tarpon (provided the warm weather holds...). We fish them along the coast, around river mouths, and up inside rivers between Lostman's and Cape Sable. The fishing's good enough that folks run 50 miles from Islamorada to the south or 35 miles from Chokoloskee/Everglades City to the northwest - just to fish that area that time of year... They eat live or dead bait, lures, and flies just about equally well... As you can guess that's what most of my anglers are there for in October -but everything else is feeding then too. Shorelines will have so much bait you have to open your net a bit to be able to lift if from the water some days....

    Of course it's also the height of the hurricane season and the weather will feel like it's still August...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • Sage ManSage Man Posts: 195 Officer
    Thanks Captain...

    I was thinking closer to the bridges so I couldn't get lost. :wink If I started out to where you're going I might end up like the skipper on Gilligan's Island.

    Do you think I'd get shots on the flats closer to the Keys?...like within sight of the bridges? Even I can find my way home from there.

    Of course the other option is to book a trip with you and then not worry about it. That's been on my bucket list for years BTW. When we were living in Memphis I crossed paths with a guy from up there that fished with you all the time and really sung your praises.

    When I first started trying to catch a tarpon on fly I guess I didn't realize how hard it was. I set three provisions: catch them on my own without a guide, catch them from my boat and catch them with flies I tied.

    I'm really starting to waver on my first one.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,639 Captain
    I came off the water just after 3Am this morning... We jumped a few fish last night up to around 40lbs under one particular bridge in the urban portions of Biscayne Bay between Miami and Miami Beach. The night scene is probably the easiest "first tarpon on fly" routine that I know of since the fish load up in the shadows under the bridges that connect Miami to Miami Beach (and you get multiple shots at fish you're looking at, right at the surface in the shadows. Since they're on the smaller side my anglers were using a 9 or a 10wt rod - and mostly looking at each fish they hooked... The night scene is based on the shrimp runs - there are two each year - the winter run will last through April - the summer run of shrimp will start up in June and go almost all the way through August... The best part is that everything is within five or ten minutes of the Miami Beach ramp we meet at....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
Sign In or Register to comment.
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.


Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now