Tarpon and More Tarpon
Florida Bay "Flamingo" and Biscayne Bay
Fishing Report for April 2010
My eyes gradually open as the alarm sounds from my cell phone? and Three thirty comes around real quick especially when I just went to sleep a few hours before, I was tying flies until 11:30 again. The coffee is a little sweeter these mornings because Tarpon fishing is on! And I can only picture the day before of a huge Tarpon eating a fly and getting airborne while trying you clear line from the deck.
We have to be on the water at sunrise is what I explained to my guests the day before, and they were kinda skeptical about the time, but sure enough as soon as the sun broke there we were looking at hundreds of 100 pound Tarpon rolling free jumping and gulping air in front of us about a quarter mile.
Once we figure out their pattern it was time to get behind them and start poling toward the mass of fish. With a fly line tamer sitting on the casting platform and a 12 weight fly rod in my nervous angler's hand we started off. A few minutes is all it took before we see Tarpon sitting a foot or two under the surface not moving, sometimes they are lined up like huge bowling pins.
the Normally these fish will eat lures easily when presented correctly or large hand picked shrimp on spin casting rods but on this day we are fly fishing.
The third fish was the first one to pluck the fly from just under the surface and bolted out and away with 40 feet of fly line out of the tamer and through the fly rod, after a good 20 minutes he was released unharmed.
I am picky about the flies I us in certain conditions and today we are using a fly named Fred's delight, this fly has brown hackles and barred mattuka as kicker legs and some flash and a purple collar on a 3/0 Mustad hook sharpened with a diamond file to penetrate through the Tarpons bony mouth.
That day we managed to jump 4 fish and boat only one that was around 120 lbs, but there are mornings we have jumped up to 8 fish before 11 am, but on windy days it is a little harder to fish for them like this.
Also on the west coast and the Cape Sable area there are plenty of Tarpon on the move, they have been eating Rapala X Raps and Twitch Raps, some days better than others. I am seeing this year that most Tarpon are interested in eating very small baits like pinfish, but sometimes the problems are not the lack of Tarpon but the abundance of Sharks and Catfish eating the live baits.
In Biscayne Bay there are days where the fish are on the move ocean side and the very next day there will not be as many, I have been seeing them a little deeper this year, and the bait other than a fly is a hand picked shrimp on a 2/0 Mustad hook and the smaller creek Tarpon have been showing up are eating live Permit sized crabs.
This should be a great Tarpon season that just kicked off in the past few weeks.
It should remain good and get better through the next 2 months if the wind will stay down.
Good luck and tight lines.
Capt. Jim Hale
Photo by Richard Gibson
Tarpon and More Tarpon