Erik and I planned out a Tarpon trip almost a week in advance. He was inching to get his first Tarpon in his Caimen. We got skunked last year, and after spending 3 days in Marco still wasn’t able to seal the deal. My plan was to go out the night before and dip some crabs.
A kid that I have been giving fly casting instruction to hadn’t been night fishing before so I told him that I would put him on fish…but he had to dip crabs for payment, lol. Apparently he had never diped crabs before either…
We met up at the ramp a little after 8pm, and the tide had just started to switch outgoing. We made a couple throws with the castnet and got some whitebait for out dock light adventure and waited for the tide to get stronger. The tide started to pick up and the crab flush was in full swing. We were able to pick and choose what size that we wanted and within half an hour we put 2 dozen in the livewell.
Anyone that has been following me knows that I have been on a night fishing binge for a little while. We went stait to the docks that have been producing bigger fish. We showed up and the fish were sitting on the lights, but didn’t want to stick around long enough for a cast. We waited them out and would make a cast way away from the light and bring it back to it, but the fish would still spook out if something splashed 10ft from them.
That was the theme of the trip untill about 1am. With the tide had bottomed out and slack we moved to a higher current area. We found Snookets stacked UNDER a dock with an above the water light. Figuring the luck we had on white bait I whipped out the fly rod. First cast was perfect. Just upcurrent of the fish, and they didn’t spook. Strip, Strip, Strip and a +20″ trout came up from the bottom and poped it right in front of the Snook. Snook didn’t flinch. I made a quick release of the trout for a follow up cast. Same cast, same strip….Poped another big trout. Went 3 20in’ers a row with one over easily 22″. They were the most frustrating big trout ever. I didn’t get a picture of them beacuse I wanted SNOOK and they were acting like ladyfish with reckless disregard for there personal wellbeing. Time to move to another dock.
We pulled up to another dock that I had some good luck with last Monday night. The fish were stacked up pretty good with at lease 20-30 mid sized Snook. As we were pulling up we got to see some shrimp and glass minow gettng hit so the bite was on. We drift up to the dock and I skip a white bait way back under the dock. With my line tight I felt my bait stop swimming so I thought it was dead…a couple of seconds later my line started to go tight. Made short work of it out of the dock so I didn’t think it was anything to be impressed about. Lifted it’s head out of the water and it breached like a submarine….Big Red! It realized that it was in trouble and started to pull some drag. In short order it was in the boat. 38″, 14 1/2lbs. It was also the biggest Red in the Lostman, and the biggest red that Steve has ever seen.
We put a couple more fish in the boat and headed back to the ramp at around 3am. Cleaned up the boat and made sure my crabs were sleeping good in the tank. Got to sleep at 430am….
Alarm clock went off kinda early at 515am, wanted to meet Erik before the sun came up. Luckly the ramp is just outside my door now.
Erik arrived at the ramp with the Caimen. It was time to excise the deamon. Loaded up the crabs and we were on the water headed towards the land of the Tarpon. We got there too early and the bite had not turned on yet. We drove around the staging areas and check to see if they were waiting on the tide to change. At 630am we went back to Tarpon Land, and saw a boat hooked up. We run over there to see 3 seperate pods of Tarpon rolling….all over 100lbs. The were feeding on big threadfins…and all we had were crabs
Erik is standing on the bow and we get infront of the fish, cast….and the roll on by. A guide boat next in line hooks up, and gets a jump. There fish came off in short order. We push back into the line again and the same thing happens. This time the boat in line before us hooks up! Gets a couple of jumps out and comes unbuttoned. The fish roll past and this time the guide boat doubles up! One of there fish ran right for the Caimen so we had to drift for a minute with motor out of the water. It was looking like the right time, wrong bait situation. But with the other boats not getting the fish in it was looking like a fair trade, lol.
Once the fish cleared we pushed back into the line. Erik made a couple nice cast. The fish started rolling right to where his crab was! The current made the line go slack a little bit. Erik reeled in the slack and FISH ON! He made a good hookset and the fish was up in the air. I fire up the motor and start us heading in the right direction and grab the camera.
In what seemed like a blink of the eye the fish was boatside. I tried to get the leader grab for him but missed on my first attempt. Driving the boat with 3ft rolling and breaking waves and a camera is hard enough. I positioned the boat for a good touch for Erik. We started to drift into the fish and Erik went for his first attempt. I kept all of the picks because it was priceless. The next 3 pics are in sequence, lol
We wanted to stay out more, figuring we still had a little over a dozen and a half crabs. The wind was picking up and it was getting a little hairy. We were the only skiff out there for a reason. We headed back in for the day. Time for some much needed rest!
This post was just featured on the front page of fishingporn.com (it’s not what you thin)! Check it out. It is a new fishing forum for fresh and saltwater, and swag den. The pron king just added a new section called fishbook also, like facebook but for fishing. Already have some custom Redfish deeks heading my way from them. They have all the species fresh and salty. And if you don’t see one that you want, they will make it for ya!