In particular, Government Cut (between Miami Beach and Fisher Island) and Port Everglades, from January to June. A lot of times you do not really need to put a lot of pressure on these size fish, and if you do all that is going to happen is they are going to throw the hook or the hook will pull out! After you give a thump, drop back down to the 45 degree angle and keep reeling. Capt. For pictures we try to lay the fish alongside the boat in the water from the bow, wearing gloves and taking wraps on the leader. When he swims left, you pull back down and to the right. A typical morning of Tarpon Fishing Clearwater FL begins with locating the right bait. 305-747-6903 If the fish jumps you want to bow to him. That was nice! It takes some time to really nail this down but I will give you some pointers to help you out as we go along. Most of the time you will see the mullet get nervous and zip around quickly if a tarpon is nearby. Tarpon can be a very technical fish to catch, but a few general tactical pointers can go a long way. Although tarpon are a catch-and-release fishery in many locations, scientists at the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust argue that the species still faces many challenges from habitat loss, recreational harvest, and commercial or subsistence harvest in other countries. A smaller fish or very tired fish you may be able to manipulate, however a large or fresh fish will be trouble. In most cases the tarpon will see the shadow of your fly line and spook. The best locations are Key West Harbor, Bahia Honda Bridge and Marquesas Keys. It is VERY important to REEL first as that is going to start the hook to set in his bony jaw. Depending on the water temperature, they … It may be counter-intuitive as many fish you always want to keep the line tight, though with tarpon when they jump this is not the case. Because of this, we try our very best to ensure a quick, clean release so the fish has the best chance of survival. Often I see anglers looking at their friends, smiling for the camera, fumbling with things in the boat, and all other kinds of things when they are trying to fight a tarpon. Is tarpon a good fish to eat? I have a much better catch ratio doing this than trying to ‘over drag’ the fish. As a bony, strong-smelling saltwater fish, it may be more trouble than pleasure to eat. If you end up having to fight them for more than a few minutes, I suggest keeping the rod butt in your armpit, and just pulling lightly with the tip of the rod, no more than at a 45 degree angle. We give chase to tarpon for this reason. On a day that they were purely targeting tarpon, the Saltwater Experience hosts would tend to go somewhere a little more remote. When this happens the tarpon has eaten him – reel as fast as you can and lift your rod tip up to a 45 degree angle. One thing I see very often and am always cringing over is what we call high sticking. by rjahqsgu-ca 13.6k Views. Unless you are about to get spooled you want to leave the drag medium to light when a fish is screaming out line and running hard. They will swim along seemingly forever with strong kicks of their tail. And set it … They grow to massive size, with the current IGFA world record at 286 lbs 9 oz. High Sticking and when the fish is near the boat. You often won’t see any indication you are about to get a bite, you’ll just feel a strong bump or two and then the line will start screaming. Don’t just stand there and pull straight up the whole time. In some cases we may not fish a bobber at all, though it won’t really effect what you do to hook your fish. After ample time has passed I will usually tell you then to lift up your rod tip to a 45 degree angle, and give the fish one little thump to set the hook in a bit more. With live crabs they are much easier to eat then mullet so it is a lot easier to get a proper hookset as the crab isn’t actively trying to swim/jump away from the tarpon. I like to start with the drags fairly loose and then slowly tighten as needed once the fish settles down. Generally speaking, tarpons are wary of humans and tend to spook easily. Remember to bow to the king when he jumps! When a fish is near the boat or under the boat, you DO NOT want to stick your rod tip up high. down in the water, and try to avoid having the line rub on the boat as much as possible. Tarpon’s preferred water temperature is in the 74-88 degrees Fahrenheit range. Otherwise you are just going to either break him off, or have him throw the hook when he starts jumping and going crazy. Catch a tarpon while your fish are being cleaned One of the best places to catch a tarpon is under the fish cleaning table when the days catch is being filleted. The waters surrounding it are full of Tarpon. In the United States, the tarpon usually is caught for sport -- and then released. It just happens a lot more with small size fish due to smaller mouths and they are much more acrobatic and violent when they jump. One is if he makes a very hard run it is usually an indication of him getting ready to jump. They do often roam and bite in packs. Also if you are the person not fighting the fish be aware of what is going on in the boat. The anglers in the group fishing bait enjoyed truly amazing fishing. Snook and Tarpon enjoy clean warm water Capt. Believe me you will know when you get a bite. I learned much about tarpon a long time ago in Florida. If you can’t tell which way the fish is going, just switch up the direction you are pulling from every 20 seconds or so. Tarpon Tackle: As a fulltime Tampa Bay tarpon fishing guide for the last 20 years, I feel like I have tried just about every rod and real combination under the sun. We use multiple different tactics and I’ll try to cover at least the ones we use most of the time. After you come tight you can give a small thump to set the hook. If your not paying attention a tarpon is going to use that to his advantage, and your hook up will be over as quick as it started. We DO NOT lift tarpon into the boat as they can be very dangerous to bring in and can toss around and break things. Sometimes we use artificial stuff for tarpon too. When tarpon or any other fish are near the boat, anglers will put the tip of their rods way up high in the air, as if they are going to try and lift the fishes head out of the water or some such thing. You really just want to leave the baits out there, leaving some slack in the line as we often are swinging around especially if the tide/wind are not together. Bow to the king when he jumps. The ponds are connected by cut channels to the bay, and each is (largely) populated by redfish. Tarpon fish (Megalops atlanticus) are plentiful, and yet they are heavily regulated in Florida because they don’t really have any culinary value. Tarpon Fishing Clearwater FL is exhilarating for anglers of all ages, offering a chance of a lifetime for a trophy fish. Welcome to South Florida Reporter, your go-to source for news and information for the Sunshine State. At first you are just picking up slack line as we chase the fish, once he settles down we will put more pressure on him as needed. The Bahia Honda Bridge is a disused bridge that used to connect Bahia Honda Key with Spanish Harbor. This takes the pressure off the line while it is rubbing against the structure and it will be less likely to frey and break. In this short guide, I’ll teach you the basics of Tarpon fishing in Florida. Let the fish run off a bit of line for a while, usually 30 seconds or so, and keep the rod pointed straight at him, if he his pulling drag just let him go – if he is not pulling drag then reel. If we are fishing J-hooks, I like to fish them the same way as circles keep the rod pointed straight towards the fish in the beginning and just reel, but you don’t have to wait 30 seconds to lift your tip up, you can do that a little bit sooner after you’ve reeled and gotten tight on your fish in that case. Again I explain this all but being ready to do the right thing just makes things a bit easier. We were going to work in one of the ponds used for cleaning the redfish waters and fish for Tarpon. Now there are some things that can tell you when a fish will jump. Wrong! Labadie chose this spot because he knew the fish would be there, but, more importantly, it was on the way to their other targets, eliminating the need to backtrack later and burn up precious time. Fish are caught all year, with peak season from March to July, during the receding tide. If you feel them thrash, surge, run, or give any indication they may be getting ready to jump, just point the rod straight at them ahead of time in anticipation. Now you can tighten the drag down more if it is getting to be a very long time, however if the fish surges or jumps there is greater chance at losing him with tighter drag especially if they jump and you are not quick to bow. Often we fish a variety of dead baits for tarpon. Snook fishing is explosive right now, this is do to the warm weather patterns we have had. 10 facts about the tarpon fish. If we are anchored we unhitch our anchor buoy from the boat and throw it in the water and give chase as quickly as possible on a big fish. Read more on Waypoint… You don’t really need to give them a hard hookset in my experience, though if you want to the same rules apply – reel first and lift up your tip and once you are tight and the fish is screaming drag and you feel the heavy pressure give it a nice thump. Tarpon are rarely eaten because their flesh is filled with small, hard to clean bones. Same rules apply when the tarpon jumps, bow the rod to him. [email protected], , Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), 9/26/2020 End of September tarpon fishing in the Florida Keys, 9/3/2020 Early September Tarpon fishing in the Florida Keys, 8/27/2020 Late August Tarpon Fishing in the Florida Keys. Although tarpon is fun to catch, they are not considered to be worth eating. Tarpon often swim around structure such as bridge pilings, crab pots, channel markers, and other things. First off we use specifically designed rods for tarpon fishing. Always try and keep the rod at a somewhat horizontal angle, especially when a fish is near the boat or directly under the boat. Lifting a Tarpon by the lip gaff may severely injure it, so don’t try lifting it from the water. With crabs I usually just recommend waiting until you feel pressure (a pull) on the line, then reeling and lifting your tip to a 45 degree angle. Tarpon fishing in Puerto Rico is truly of the world's great fisheries, and I’m already looking forward to my next visit. If you reel and you don’t feel a significant amount of pressure – stop reeling – as your bait likely just pulled the bobber down and the tarpon may go after it again. As a bony, strong-smelling saltwater fish, it may be more trouble than pleasure to eat. As stated the tarpon will generally set the hook on themselves if the rods are in the rod holders – if you get one on, you just pick the rod up and keep your tip at a 45 degree angle and reel. Tarpon are rarely eaten because their flesh is filled with small, hard to clean bones. You will not stop a tarpon with drag you have to apply pressure at the right time, at the right angle, and let the fish wear himself out as you do so. Sometimes you may be trying to take pictures etc… but also try to be aware of what is going on around you. Though you can’t always pick which one is going to bite so you have to be ready for the bigger ones in my opinion. Prized by fishermen for its spirited antics at the end of a fishing line, the adult tarpon can measure 8 feet or longer and weigh 200 to 300 pounds. Doing our best to prevent hooked Tarpon from being eaten by sharks allows us … If the tarpon busts him and misses him (which they usually do), often you can just slowly and steadily lift your rod tip very high to straighten your line out, then drop your tip low again. He will often be running hard and going nuts jumping at this time, so be ready to bow when necessary. Newsletter. The Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) is among the most popular game fish in ... hard to clean bones. You don’t eat Tarpon. Just wait for him to come back. When a fish is near the boat or under the boat, you DO NOT want to stick your rod tip up high. Often the best thing to do is to manually add drag to them with the palm of your hand on the spool (spinning rod) or thumb on the spool (conventional tackle). These fish are typically between 75-120 pounds and are on their yearly migration north to spawn and find more comfortable water… I generally always recommend anglers hold their rods however, and only leave them in the rod holders if you are busy doing something else and it is necessary. This means there should be no bend in the rod at all as the fish is pulling out line. When the fish is back in the water, lift your tip back to a 45 degree angle and reel tight again. Using a short lip gaff, pass it through the fish’s lower lip and the fish will be held while someone removes the hook or clips the leader as close to it as possible. We do put a long topshot of mono on the end, however even so when the fish jumps and shakes like this it can cause a problem. This is often a mistake of many anglers – they think when a fish is running hard and taking line you should hammer the drag down very tight to stop him. Keep the rod pointed towards where the bait is. FishingBooker is the world’s largest online service that enables you to find and book fishing trips. 20.1k Views. In the United States, the tarpon usually is caught for sport — and then released. Basically we are usually fishing a bobber with a 6-8 foot leader with a mullet on the end. If one is actively trying to eat him he will often jump and flip out of the water. It’s well known for its acrobatics on the end of a line and capable of jumping up to ten feet out of the water while rattling its gills like an angry diamondback snake. Both myself and the angler may have to jump around the boat very quickly, so try not to be blocking where we need to go. One fish per vessel limit is created for tarpon harvested with a tag. Sometimes the fish swim in between structure that we cannot unfortunately get through, especially some of the bridge pilings or power line structures. Using your short lip gaff, push it through the Tarpon’s lower lip and the fish will need to be held while another person takes the hook from its mouth or clips the hook’s leader as close as possible. © Copyright 2015-2020 - South Florida Reporter. When a fish is hooked you want to reel in every other bait as quickly as you can if he is a large fish. Each day they fished they caught numerous tarpon in the 50-to 100-plus pound range, with at least one 150-pounder hooked, jumped and lost. If they are swimming for something like this, we crank the drag down and just try to pull them to swim away. Bowing means drop the rod tip and point it straight at him (give him some slack). Fluorocarbon Leader VS Fuorocarbon Line. One thing to always keep an eye on is your rod tips – especially with slow moving tide – make sure that you don’t get ‘tip wrapped’ where the lines wraps around the tip of your rod. You will feel the pressure in the rod and line increase when you are pulling the right direction against the fish. All too often anglers start reeling, jerking, and all kinds of things before the fish has had a chance to eat the bait. It goes against many anglers instincts, but I’ve really found it to be the best shot at landing these size fish. If a fish is going near something like this you really just have to keep an eye out and watch what he does. I will check baits at appropriate times, freshen them up, put new ones out, etc… when we need to. Be VERY CAREFUL doing this, if the fish kicks hard and runs or bucks at all, just let off and let him go. My personal favorite, there is nothing quite like watching a live mullet jump and run for his life as a big 100 lb tarpon tries to eat him 30 feet behind the boat! Basically you are going to be pumping the rod up, and then reeling as you drop the rod tip back down towards them. From what I’ve heard they are very bony, oily, and taste like soap. Tarpon have very hard, bony mouths. Captains For Clean Water. The additional flow also brings pretty clean water in too. They also are not designed to be lifted out of the water by their gills, or handled as that knocks a lot of the slime off of them which is not good. Tarpon … Also, Tarpon fishing gear is limited to hook and line only. We often are still using the same gear that we fish for larger tarpon with, but obviously it is a bit heavier than you’d like to use for small tarpon. Tarpon are a game fish … Often there are smaller ‘picker fish’ that just tap at the baits, a tarpon will grab it and RUN! If the fish is very green and pulling hard, it may also be a good idea to back off on the drag some. A video about how I clean and scale my fish. This way you’re pulling AGAINST the fish and making it harder for him to swim and breathe. If we have already gotten good pictures of a previous fish, we usually just cut them off once we get close enough to the main leader to do so, this way we do not unnecessarily stress or harm the fish. We fish mostly braid which has NO stretch in it. You need to keep your eyes out and on the fish (or at least where you think the fish is), this way you can see when he runs and is going to jump, if he is going to swim around that lobster buoy, if he is going under the boat, if he is going around that bridge piling, etc, etc…. When a Tarpon becomes exhausted, it will usually roll on its side. I walk all my anglers through a lot of this stuff, however if you read about it ahead of time it will give you an upper hand. The flats surrounding Homosassa Bay and the Crystal River are also full of big Tarpon May through June. ... small bones that are hard to clean out for eating. First, I’ll show you where to look for them, and at what time of year. An Atlantic tarpon can grow from 4-8 feet in length anywhere and they are very active and strong. I don’t fish this way personally very often though occasionally it is fun while we have other baits out to toss an artificial, or if you were sighting moving fish you could toss in front of them. They are ready to engulf the entrails being … If you do get a bite, it will usually be a very hard smack and all you need to do is keep reeling fast and lift your tip up. We also fish the drags extremely light, just tight enough so you can regain line as you reel. Our world-class customer support is available 7 days a week, and will make sure that planning your next fishing trip is quick, fun and hassle-free. The person taking the picture goes to the back of the boat and gets down alongside the boat and snaps the picture of you holding the leadered fish next to the boat. Frequently fish station near anchored shrimp trawlers that clean their catch and drop overboard shrimp heads and by-catch small baitfish, which in turn attract scores of feeding tarpon. HOWEVER do remember off the bow, often the trolling motor is down in the water, so you must wait until I lift that up out of the way to go around to the other side. As a bony, strong-smelling saltwater fish, it may be more trouble than pleasure to eat. During springtime, Tarpon are mostly on the Florida Bay side, but as the year progresses, they start moving to the Atlantic side. Tarpon are unforgiving about throwing the hook when jumping, and that is especially true with smaller tarpon. Never bring the rod up to a 90 degree angle (straight up or straight to one side). Now once you’ve reeled, the line is tight and the fish is pulling drag (lots of pressure), you may give it a thump to set the hook. To get a good picture of a tarpon often it requires fighting them till they are exhausted completely. Tarpon are fish with a very keen awareness of their surroundings. Tarpon Facts. In this case just reel until you get tight on the fish and proceed to set the hook as described. Do not cut deeply — just through the skin is … The other is if the line begins to scope upwards this is an indication he is coming to the surface, obviously if he is not running it may just be to come up and roll for air, though if there is force behind it he likely will break the water. Tarpon are also called Silver King, Silver Sides or Sabalo (Spanish). This will also throw the mullet off balance making him easier to get for the tarpon, and when the tarpon comes back you will be able to reel and ‘get tight’ on him much quicker as you’ve gotten the slack out of the line. This is a brief synopsis of how you should hook and fight a tarpon. If it is a smaller fish that we do not have to chance, we usually leave one other bait out to try and possibly hook another. Once he settles down usually after this first 5-10 minutes, we tighten the drag down a little bit. You can try to pull them away from it, though generally your not going to be able to stop them. Again I don’t do much fishing in this fashion as it is usually more of a sight fishing thing for skinny water skiffs, though sometimes the opportunity presents itself. Set the hook. So if your drag is tight loosen it a bit until we are able to get around the object. Otherwise this ‘high sticking’ can result in a broken rod and lost fish. Try to NEVER let the line hit the boat as this weakens the line and can result in a lost fish. Usually (not always) you have to go UP AROUND THE BOW to get to the other side and continue fighting the fish, as going around the transom is often difficult with the motor sticking out. Usually once we get the main leader on the fish and he is technically caught, we will then increase the drag and I will start pulling on the wind-on leader to try and subdue the fish in an attempt to get good boat side photographs. While they are edible, people rarely eat Tarpon because their flesh is filled with small, hard to clean bones. This will give you the best chance at keeping these smaller fish hooked. If you just jerk right away, often the hook will bounce right off the bony jaw. If you are not getting bites, sometimes trying to work the bait more erratically (jigging) it may help, or even trying to reel it as fast as you can sometimes can entice a bite too. However, as long as you play by the rules, you’re in for a world of fun. Now, let’s talk about tarpon. Again I only recommend doing this at the END of a battle once we’ve gotten the leader and you are satisfied with having caught the fish to this point. Are tarpons dangerous to humans? This way when the fish feels the added pressure you can quickly let off if he kicks hard, runs, jumps, goes crazy, etc…. Depending on the apparent size of the tarpon, speed of the current, and other conditions I may change my hook style. Most of the fight the fish is going to be within 30 feet of the boat. The key to tarpon fishing is keeping your presentation as natural as possible. Usually you would be working a larger jig with a sharp hook and a jerk bait attached. If the fish surges under the boat the rod can be easily broken, so be ready to drop your rod tip down into the water and swing it out around the other side of the bow if necessary. If you think a tarpon has eaten your bait, wait until you feel pressure (a pull) on the line. For this reason, we tell you to stop reeling and bow (point the rod at the fish) as this takes the pressure off the hook and line. When the fish is near the boat you want to make short pumps only lifting the rod a foot or two, then reeling back down. These fish range anywhere from 60 to 200 pounds. My fish also be a very technical fish to surge and possibly jump, as well bait is then the. This first 5-10 minutes, I would really recommend just keeping it straight... Each is ( largely ) populated by redfish harder to do any crazy hook –... 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