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Best live bait for Tarpon in Charlotte Harbor 20' holes

Been using live and chunk Ladyfish and Crabs to no avail.. in all of the 20' holes in the harbor. Usually getting there before 8 AM to drift. Does anyone have any suggestions on other live baits that they have had success with particularly in the CH 20' holes?


  • Bottom KnockerBottom Knocker PUNTA GORDAPosts: 28 Greenhorn
    I would think ladyfish would work great. Live one under a float, chuck on the bottom and chunk up for chum...

    Otherwise maybe smellier frozen baitfsh...

    Moharas also make good live bait and are biting in canals now...
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 3,222 Captain
    It's totally messed up right now man... there's a lot of guides getting skunked consistently out there since the red tide.  I have a theory... it might be full of crap but it's a theory... maybe the tarpon are running around stuffing their faces on dead and half-dead fish (from all the red tide) all night, so they couldn't care less about chasing after some bait during the day.  It's been a big, clear, moon this past week.  They could easily be eating all night long.  I will say the best bite I've had this past week was at 3AM.  All the fishing I did during the early AM and dusk hours was a big ole' skunk fest.  I know there's some guys having some good luck with them right now, but there's a lot more guys (myself included) that have been struggling.
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 14,071 AG
    edited July 2018 #4
    In that situation I use a baitbuster fished slowly and steadily and about 15' down -- you'll have to let it sink before starting to reel, then reel it more slowly that you'll think.   This technique works even when they are gorging themselves on half-dead baits.  We slammed them last summer in just such a situation in Tampa Bay using this technique, but to Keith's point above, it wasn't during the full moon phase when tarpon during the day becomes a bit of a crapshoot.

    As far as live bait in that situation, I'd go with a freshly dead shad or large threadfin -- and be ready to wade through catfish.
  • TimGleasonTimGleason Posts: 289 Deckhand
    Tarpon have not been biting for me this last week in the AM.  I agree with Keith that they are up with the moon eating.  I've been throwing flies at tons of fish the last week for not even a bite all AM.  Last week they were gobbling them up.  Even the babies right in front of my house, have been shutting down right before the sun comes up.  They are everywhere banging small baits and little flies and then totally gone before 7 AM.  Not much water moving this last week in the AM either.  Keep throwing, it's gotta change...
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