There’s been some juvenile tarpon still around lately. Bait’s been a little difficult to get specifically for just tarpon (mullet) but we’ve been getting shots at some of these smaller guys while we’re snook/redfishing. On pinfish or pilchards. Fishing should still be good through the next couple months here and it’s off season so the fishing pressure is low!
Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Blake and Julie each caught their first Tarpon on light tackle fishing with ‘The Bean’ Capt. Brandon Storin. Happy half day for those two! He said bait was easy (pilchards) and there were plenty of snapper to go along with that too. Juvenile tarpon are lots of fun and to be honest, I prefer catching these little guys to the big brutes. Though that being said I’ve gotten to catch my share of big ones! The fall is a great time of year to target smaller tarpon. They aren’t always a primary target but often in areas where we catch snook or snapper, you’ll find a few milling around. Bean’s been running my boat the last 2 seasons and doing a great job. He’ll still be with me next year too. We’re offering discounted trips for the rest of August and September on the seacraft so drop me a line if you want to go.
Well we’re nearing the end of July and I’ve been fishing a little less than usual. We had a couple family trips away, though was busy around those fishing. To be honest the summer tarpon bite this year (and last year for that matter) hasn’t been quite what we normally expect it to be. Definitely not the numbers of fish we had been accustomed to seeing around. July often means the larger fish that show up in the spring are mostly gone up north, and many of the smaller resident tarpon (small to 60 lbs) start to show back up in the backcountry channels, bays, etc… There have been a few and we’ve been catching some – don’t get me wrong – but many days you are fishing around a handful hoping for a bite or two… putting in a lot of work to catch bait, and hours of fishing, to just get that one hopefully. However I will say my last few days out recently here, we did find a couple areas that showed a bit more promise. One yesterday morning was really loaded with smaller fish in the 20-30 lb range and we caught a couple on accident actually while targeting snook. And the day before that one of the other channels I hadn’t done much fishing in we checked out, and caught a nice 60 lb tarpon and jumped off 3 more smaller guys after spending some time in there. We also found some tarpon further up the coast that we didn’t fish for another trip out, but physically saw them free jumping with our eyes and marked them on our electronics a little bit, but didn’t spend time fishing for them as we were doing other things. So all that being said maybe it’ll be something promising for the last bit of July and August here. August, September, and even October can yield some good opportunities for tarpon. However just note it is off season, so we are often 100% reliant on ourselves to catch bait, find fish, etc… sometimes there are other guides out there and it always helps to have a friend for some intel, but thats not always available. So if you are wanting to book a tarpon trip, let me know I’ll shoot you straight. If I don’t feel very confident in the fishing or our ability to get bait, there are definitely other options out there like snook, tripletail, trout, etc… And some days we can kind of focus on that more and perhaps still put in a little time for trying for a tarpon. But all in all tarpon are a trophy fish and sometimes you just have to put in that commitment win, lose, or draw to get the one you are after. All we can do on our end is put 100% effort in to try and make that happen.
Well June is nearly over and we’re almost officially at the end of our typical ‘prime time’ tarpon season which runs April through June. Of course that’s just a very general estimate – every year is different with weather patterns, bait patterns, etc… as to when the big schools of tarpon come (they don’t follow a calendar!) But usually now is when we start targeting more of the resident fish which are typically smaller on average in the 40 to 70 lb range, and I myself am most often fishing in the backcountry waters of everglades national park to find these fish. Some years there are good numbers of them, other years you have to work to scrape by. As of now I’ll say it’s been more the latter the last couple weeks. There are definitely a few pockets of tarpon though not big numbers of them. Though we’ve had a few trips recently where we have caught them every time we’ve tried and had a few other bites. Yesterday we actually caught 3 out of 4 in about an hour and a half in the morning, including a double header. I was pleasently surprised as again we didn’t see tons of fish but the few we got in front of seemed to respond rather quickly. Then later in the trip we moved to a different area, where again we didn’t physically see too much or mark much on the bottom machine, however being slick calm we did have good vision and sure enough a handful of small 15-20 lb fish showed themselves and after shuffling around we caught one of them and jumped one more off. So this was the best day of tarpon I’ve had in the last couple weeks, though some of the other days we’ve still had decent fishing but we’ve mixed it up more with snook, tripletail, and the like as it’s been better to explore other options if you are up for that rather than try to force the tarpon thing when it’s not happening.
All that being said July is often a little better for these summer time fish, and some years it’s very strong fishing. And some years it’s very good in August, September, and even October. Unfortunately I do not have a crystal ball so I can’t say if it will be this year or not. But as I say to everyone, if you want to book a trip and try I’ll guarantee we’ll give it 100%. Though some days the tarpon don’t cooperate, and some days even just getting bait is very difficult. But if it doesn’t seem worthwhile I’ll usually have a plan B we can try, or if you are dead set on wanting to try for tarpon then we’ll do that to the best of our ability. I usually have a much better idea on how it’ll be within a week of the trip as you just know more what’s going on then.
Here are a few pictures from Pete and Kelly’s trip the other day, we even caught a double header in the morning which I haven’t had in a while!
Well it’s been busy and I’ve still been getting after the tarpon some. April and May were decent fishing this year… not quite as good as last years epic showing but fairly consistent with a few windows of really good fishing. Though last week i finally hit a couple trips of ‘striking out’ right before this tropical storm we had come through, which was the first time that had happened in a couple months. Some fish were around but just not too happy and it’s been a bit of a grind the last couple weeks. Anyways I was gone for the weekend and just got back out after some tarpon today. Wasn’t sure what to expect but it was actually OK for us. We fished a 6 hour trip and had 3 tarpon bites and landed all 3 fish. Some good numbers of tarpon still around the bridges. Though as we move more into summer I’m often starting to fish the backcountry more, and often times July/August we get some good numbers of resident tarpon back there, plus there are a lot of other options such as snook, tripletail, permit, etc… if tarpon aren’t being cooperative. I’m fairly booked up for the rest of June, though have some dates starting in July though we’ll be on vacation ourselves for some of it. And then the off season August – October is fairly wide open. It can definitely still be good fishing that time of year, again sometimes best to be open to what’s biting, but I’ve had some years where that is some of the best tarpon fishing we see so you never know. I’m also usually more amenable to booking trips further in advance for off season as I’m not as busy, and if weather/hurricane/etc… is of concern I don’t mind rescheduling or whatever we need to do.