Well I’ve had a few days off this week and spent some time up in Miami, and the few trips I did before that we didn’t really focus on tarpon as there had been some excellent snook/redfish fishing, and my anglers were all about catching fish. Tarpon have still been just kind of hit and miss, you can definitely catch them but often have to really dedicate time to get a bite or two… Today though we just were really doing snook/redfish stuff, but we saw some little guys in an area and got a few shots on them. A couple of small 5-10 lbers we hooked a double header and landed both fish, but just got one up for a picture. It worked out great as we were doing an article for Florida Sportsman, and we also caught probably 30 snook (including 3 that were jumbo 15-20 lbers!), maybe 10 redfish, and a handful of snapper, ladyfish, jacks, and trout. Just awesome fishing especially on a day when you can use it for something like that. 2 for 3
Also as far as this hurricane dorian goes – the keys should be fine. East coast of florida… not so much. We are on the ‘good’ side of the storm (southwestern side). This means we’re not going to get the heavy wind/surge, so even if this thing ends up hitting closer in Miami/homestead, it really doesn’t look like it’ll do a whole lot here. But right now all signs point to hitting closer to somewhere between palm beach and central florida area. Probably be a couple of wet days with some 20-25 mph winds, so maybe not the greatest fishing conditions but nothing crazy. In the long run it’ll probably be good for our fishing as it’ll help lower salinity in the bay with all the rain, and keep things a bit cooler with the wind/clouds/rain as we get into some of the hottest months of the year.
Got out with Peter visiting from Australia today for a 3/4 day. It was a little wet to start but once we got into the backcountry we never had another drop. Bait was fairly easy so we loaded up. We found tarpon where we first stopped, had a good bite right away that we missed and then the sharks moved in. The tarpon seemed to thin out quick, and after 30 miuntes we made a move. Found more tarpon in spot 2, where I’d been seeing them most regularly lately. Unfortunatley they were kind of hard to line up on, just kept moving around and as soon as you’d stop, they would seem to be somewhere else. We fished hard, caught a couple big jacks and some sharks, and finally jumped 1 more tarpon off. After that the tide started to quit. We moved again and saw 1 fish roll but with slack tide no response. So we ran back to where we first started as the tide would be falling there now. Saw more tarpon there, but again hard to line up on. We moved 3 or 4 times, and the sharks were pretty thick and didn’t get another tarpon strike. Anyways we gave it a good effort and had a couple shots just couldn’t keep ’em on the hook. At least there were a good amount of fish to see, could definitely get better and September may be good – who knows! Back at it tomorrow. 0 for 2
8/16/19 – I fished for fun with my wife Elizabeth and mother in law Ginger. We tried some spots I just don’t fish a lot and some stuff that is even somewhat new to me. We ended up finding some baby tarpon and snook in a couple of those spots, and managed to catch one baby tarpon and jumped off another. Didn’t get any pictures though as I caught it and got it to the boat but he jumped away after we leadered him. Also caught a handful of redfish and trout too. 1 for 2
8/17/19 – Fished with Stephen and Daria today return customers of mine. We focused on tarpon mostly but started out catching a good handful of redfish and a small snook. We found a couple larger schools of tarpon in two different areas – great to see! Spot 1 they were mostly small guys, 15 to 30 lbers. Unfortuantely they were not staying on the hook very well at all. We got one to the boat, but he went under the boat once we got him on the leader and jumped a few times and pulled the hook. Good enough for a technical catch just not very photogenic! After that though they just kept getting off, either spitting the bait right away or jumping a couple times and throwing the hook. We found some larger tarpon in the 2nd spot, but we didn’t have a ton of bait left at that point though we did jump 1 here too. But still lots of action and we caught some big lemon sharks and blacktips too for an all around great day. Good signs to see more tarpon numbers, it could definitely still be good for the next couple months! 1 for 8
Got out with Trevor, Chad, and Gary today for a 3/4 day trip. We left out early. Had bait stashed away from a few days ago. With the falling tides in the morning, bait is very difficult to get. Luckily I was able to stash enough away for this trip and my trip tomorrow, then I won’t be fishing again until the weekend when the tidal situation should be more favorable for catching bait early. We found some fish early on where they had been lately. But acting very strange, I don’t think we ever even saw one roll but I could see them on the electronics. We fished a few spots and kept moving trying to get in front of the right ones. We did run one over that jumped out of the water, so absolutely sure they were there. But no bites just some sharks and bluefish. We went to another area with the last of the tide, and sure enough found a good pack of small tarpon in there. We set up and it was fast and furious for a bit. Trevor ended up landing one fish and getting another on the leader before it jumped off, and jumped off a 3rd fish straight from the get go. Gary caught one as well. All in a good 20 minute rally. After that things died off. We ran and checked one more area a ways away, where I had caught my last fish a couple days ago. Saw a boat hooked up when we pulled in, but we didn’t see a whole ton of tarpon. Just a handful here and there. We set up, but the sharks were thick and hard to get through. Caught a bunch of blacktip sharks, and then called it a morning. But not bad with 3 tarpon overall! Back at it tomorrow not sure what we are doing. 3 for 4
Got out with Michael and his son Preston again. We were after a tarpon. Found a decent group of fish early where they were a couple days ago, but today unfortunately we had about 30 minutes of tide and then things went slack. That can be tough this time of year as your good bite window is often first thing, but you have to work with the hand you are dealt. Anyways we caught a few sharks and waited out the tide change which was quick, but the fish seemed to spread out and didn‘t look so good after that. So we bailed and fished elsewhere. Found some more fish in spot 2, and did manage to jump 1 there that didn’t stay on the hook. Plenty of bigger sharks here too. Eventually they kinda stopped showing there too and we checked a final area that I hadn’t been too in a while. Low and behold we found a good pack of fish here, and after several blacktip sharks and a couple moves we finally hooked up! Nice 50 lb fish that fought well, and soon Preston had his first tarpon to the hand. There are definitely still tarpon around and the possibility of good fishing is there for a couple more months. But right now you really seem to have to commit to it to have a good shot, as we are working hard to get a bite or two a day. Off tomorrow then fun fishing on Monday. 1 for 2