This has been a very strange 2011 Tarpon season! We had a great pre-season, finding Tarpon in a new area where we could easily see them swimming across white sand and then laid up just off the sand! Once it was time to leave the backcountry and escape to the beach, the winds came throwing a very heavy silt blanket on our Gulf Beaches making it almost impossible to see fish. The awful water clarity finally gave away 2 weeks ago presenting fishable waters once again. The problem then was lack of fish…Last year at this time it was not uncommon to see 500 + fish swim past you on an average day. After talking to many guides and anglers down south, the outlook is grim. It appears the keys tarpon are gone, which would only mean we are not too far away from the end of the season. Last Sunday we had Ed from South Padre Island Texas on the skiff to learn a little about fly fishing for Tarpon. It was very dissappointing from 10AM – 4PM, seeing only a few fish. We decided to give it a little longer as we discussed various types of fly fishing, fly fishing while being married, tarpon patterns, Biscayne Bay vs Keys, poling a skiff on the ocean vs backcountry, etc.. We even discussed what type of depression medicine would be needed if indeed our season was truly over so soon. The wind and seas kicked up and then it happened ~ like a light switch, we had fish swimming both North and South bound. Finally, not only did we have fish, but we found that particular line and they were swimming at the boat in masses. This was the sight for very sore eyes. We ended up sticking three of them before the lights went out. I am confident now that our season is not over, it will just take a little more effort in watching that tide and keeping your head in the game! Here are a some photos from the past few weeks. The A.W. Dimock Tarpon Tournament (Fly Only) is next Friday and hopefully the fish will swim for us!
There are many ways one can catch a Tarpon – but trying to catch them on fly requires a certain individual. An individual dedicated enough to go through the hardships that will most definitly come during a season. Being a weekend warrior we have really about only 28 days we can fish. Out of those 28 days there are very few that are perfect. I hope that one day I can escape from the weekend warrior tag and become an angler who can pick and choose the days to seach for Tarpon. And yes, Jet Skies and pleasure boaters are your enemy!
I did get a few days to watch the meat chuckers do their thing with their 9 Rods filled with 100lb mono and piece of cut mullet or catfish on an 8/0 Hook!
Lets hope that the season is not over and we can continue to chase these wonderful fish a little longer this year!