Wheeeeeeeeeee… the tarpon bite has begun!! Like I’ve said before when you are looking to target these elite battle hardened veterans you’ve really got to have your stuff together and trying to skimp on your gear is a very poor choice. You need good quality gear to even think about fishing for tarpon. Now there are many different manufacturers to choose from when selecting a set up for tarpon. I won’t sit here and tell you that this reel and that reel is the best and those reels are garbage. What I will tell you is what I’ve personally tried and tested and what will work for you. My set up is Penn Spinfisher V 6500 and I’ve mounted that bullet proof reel to an 8’ Penn Battalion fast action rod with 20-40 pound line rated capacity. I also have spooled that spinfisher with 40 pound power pro. These are a great starting point for you and remember when using braided lines, fluorocarbon is a must! I would suggest starting with 50 lb fluorocarbon and work up or down from there. Next I’ll use a good quality 3 or 4x circle hook and I’ll attach that with a loop knot. Now for a bit of tarpon fishing etiquette… and this is something you really should heed. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to run up on some fellow anglers with your outboard. This will get you scuffed up quick. When making an approach on a pod of fish or other anglers working a pod. You want to stop well outside of where they are fishing somewhere around 200 yards would be a safe bet. Kill that 2 stroke and drop the trolling motor in and make you way over. Now you’re not ready to start sling that bait just yet. Try to get a “feel for what the pecking order is by loitering just outside of casting distance. This is your opportunity to observe what’s going on and what direction the fish are traveling. Try to position your boat so the fish will come to you. This way you are waiting your turn and not running over someone else’s fish. By doing this you’re asking permission and shown the other anglers a little courtesy and not just plowed in and push the fish away. After that you’re in the rotation and can work the fish as well. Trout bite has been very reliable and a popping cork and a live shrimp prove a deadly combination. Hopefully with the warmer weather and the water temps creeping back up into the 70’s we’ll see better bait showing and more of our game fish species become more active. Topwater action is picking up for these aggressive little buggers as well. We have had some pretty good action slinging plastic in the past week. This type of fishing is absolutely amazing and probably my favorite bait to throw. But you’ve got to get the right motion or you’ll be wasting time. Walking the dog action envolves a zig-zag constant movement of left right left right hard enough to activate the rattles but soft enough to keep the bait in the water. It might take a bit of practice to get it just right but well worth it when it’s done properly. If you can get out to some of the nearshore reefs … they’re covered up with some really great fish as well. I’ve been hooked up with good numbers of permit on the nearshore reefs and they love crabs!! Now I will tell you the bite has been a little on the slow side with these poor mid-day tides lately. That should be changing later this week with the new moon. If you’re looking for trout, places with grass flats like pine island sound, east and west wall, are loaded with trout. Look for large bait schools with birds diving on them up on the grass flats and moving water. Start shallow and work your way out into deeper water 5-6 ft.
Reds are chewing when you can find them and we’ve managed to boat some very nice fish this week. We should have a good bite starting back up with the better tides…bigger tides are making better water in the flats in the afternoon. The better bite for the past few days has been first light and a few hrs before dark. It’s sometime best to run out and fish until 10ish then go get some lunch, run some errands and then come back out for the evening bite.
So happy fishing from us here at Florida Inshore Xtream charters and remember if you’re ready to get out and see how we do it you can call us at 941- 698- 0323. Find us on Facebook, Instagram or our web page www.FloridaInshoreXtream.com. Well folks, you know the deal…gotta get on out and get my FIX on! So … tight lines and y’all stay safe!!
Oh yeah… one last thing… keep your eyes open for sharks. They love to eat tarpon and they are out there!
Capt. Jesse McDowall
Florida Inshore Xtream Charter services