As we commute down the Florida Keys, we look towards the Atlantic and see the sight of many poling skiffs lined up along the flats edges and bay boats floating bobbers down the many channels that run perpendicular to them. Those lucky enough can catch the spectacle of a tarpon jumping at the end of an angler’s line. It is no secret, tarpon season is in full swing. I’ve spent time in both the Upper and Lower Keys and had a chance to see some really cool stuff chucking flies at Tarpon. We fly fished for tarpon as we do each year in every different way or form. We’ve already had some big days on the water this year with a seemingly unlimited amount of shots some days and even a double digit number of hook-ups a day. Heck, we even filmed a major fishing show that will air in it’s next season. Wait until you see some of the epic shots.
Watching a bait under a cork being pulled under by a freight train, ticking a small fly in front of a string of tarpon on the clear ocean side and pulling a fish away from the school to eat your fly, dropping a fly in front of a big laid up backcountry fish… there is certainly something special about tarpon fishing in all it’s different froms.
We had a few big number days throwing flies at big laid up Tarpon in Florida Bay…
It seemed we have thrown at an unimaginable number of fish stringing along on the ocean side of the Keys…
…and we met with great success on days when the fish decided to chew…
Sometimes staying home is not an option. When you get the hall pass to go fishing, the seas seem to know and decide to kick up a notch to try to scare people away. This is why I decided to buy a bigger boat this year, but one that can still pole with stealthiness and ease, while being able to tackle the demands of running through rough weather and fighting big fish that pull you offshore when winds kick up to 20kts+. My new Maverick Mirage HPX-V 18 has proven to be an AMAZING boat for ocean fishing.
No matter where you are feeding poons, once the steel makes contact with flesh, the majestic gentle giants revert to rage-driven silver missles, leaving traces of fury and anger in a frothing sea…
The infamous palolo worm hatch should happen any day now and it has caused a change in mood for both fish and fisherman. Many tarpon fisherman are trying to rally up their buddies and arrange to call in sick days at the office to drive down to the lower Keys to catch this worm hatch, where fields of tarpon will be sipping these small worms off the surface with the tide sweeping them out from under rock and coral. Many tarpon themselves are reluctant to swim during the day, and hunker down by the bridge to await the meal of worms. What is it about these little worms that turn out Tarpon into crack heads? This still boggles my mind but I’m not complaning as long as I can still tie a red rubber band to a hook and feed it to tarpon thats feinding a worm fix. We found another type of hatch before the worm though and I got to drift around and watch a couple buddies pull on some bridge tarpon.
This is definitely the heart of tarpon season. I beleive the best has yet to come as fish are gearing up for pre and post worm mode as we speak. I think it’s time I got off my laptop now and resume my duties on the water to catch the remainder of my favorite time of year. So until next time….
For those travelling down to the Keys to fish during tarpon season, here are a few restaurants you should consider:
- Key Largo Conch House (Breakfast and Tea or Coffee)
- Lazy Dayz, Islamorada (Dinner)
- El Sibonay, Key West
- Square Grouper, Sugarloaf Key (Must try the seafood stew)
- Ms. Mac’s Kitchen, Key Largo
- Village Gourmet, Islamorada (Wraps and Croissants)
- Ziggy Mad Dogs, Islamorada (Top Shelf dining)
- Green Turtle Inn, Islamorada