I’ve also witnessed some of the best tarpon-feeding activity I’ve ever encountered anywhere during camping trips in the ’glades, once again made possible by the broader window of fishing time that camping allows. During evenings and mornings when the wind relaxes, rendering a smooth liquid-mercury surface along the main waterways like Harney and Broad rivers and Tarpon Bay, tarpon seem most active. That’s when we drift quietly to hear or see rolling fish. MirrOlure Catch 2000s, MirrOlure MR5s, Bomber Long A’s, Rapala X-Raps and the Bagley silver Finger Mullet crankbaits are top producers. A moderate, steady retrieve using spinning gear such as a Shimano Sustain 4000 with 12- to 20-pound spinning tackle and 80- to 100-pound fluorocarbon leaders produce most bites for us. We’ve jumped 20 or even more poons some evenings. Topwaters like the MirrOlure TopDog, Zara Spook and Rapala Skitterwalk can also yield tremendous surface strikes when the tarpon are especially aggressive. During those winter months, the fish we come across often range from 30 to 150 pounds. Earlier this year, my colleague at the International Game Fish Association, Jack Vitek, hooked a fish more than 150, taking us for a one-hour ride for almost a mile down Harney River before we could release it.