This time of year is prime season for “laid-up” Tarpon. Fishing the west central area can have its ups and downs but lately we have been on the up and up. Tarpon are starting to come out of the rivers and work their way onto the flats and stage in river mouth basins.
When targeting these early season fish it is best to remain stealthy and be very aware of your surroundings. The murky river water makes it hard to see these laid-up fish and you may end up spooking them before you can get a shot. They may sit on the surface or on the bottom depending on their mood. At times they may even sit with their tail slightly out of the water like a redfish would on the flats. (Can you see the fish in the photo below?)
When presenting a fly or artificial lure to these wary fish be sure to keep a safe distance and use a very subtle fly or weightless lure. More times than not these fish want the fly/lure just inches away from their nose, seeing how they want to exert the least amount of energy possible. Start throwing about 2.5′ in front of their face and if they don’t react try the next cast about half the distance until you get a reaction. I will often just let the fly/lure fall in front of their face and not even move it, this can often be the most successful tactic to trigger a bite.
When you get the bite hold on, set hard and smile!
Catch em up,