One of the most celebrated sportfish on the planet takes center stage this month in Miami, the tarpon. Smart, tough, strong and fickle, these silver giants make it impossible to ignore when they arrive. Below are a few common questions I am asked about tarpon when speaking to clients:
Can you eat them?
What do they eat?
When I tarpon fish I will use a variety of baits and lures depending on circumstances. My typical set up is live blue crabs and big live shrimp while also using lures such as soft plastics to throw at rolling fish.
Can you fly fish for them?
Yes, using 12wt tackle and a dark fly the prefered method is to find schools of rolling fish and drift through them while blind casting into the school. They can also be fished on the flats very similar to bonefishing but that is usually later on in the season around late April.
How often do you catch tarpon?
The goal is to catch them every day but tarpon are tarpon. On a typical 4 hour charter it is common to have several bites and land between 1-3 tarpon between 100-150lbs. I will admit, most clients land one tarpon after a 45 minute fight and are ready to catch smaller fish. They are tough!
The other two species I mentioned earlier are bonefish and permit. These are on the flats but it's not uncommon to land big permit while tarpon fishing as they eat the same baits. Once on the flats, the larger number of fish spotted are bonefish but the permit will average between 15-25lbs. My typical permit tackle is a size 4000 Quantum reel with 20lb braid, a 7' medium rod and a live blue crab at the end of the flouro carbon leader.
If you want to chase bonefish and permit on the flats sharpen your skills, this is fishing in the big leagues demanding quick accurate casts.
That's my March run down, pick a species, pick the date and let's go for it!
Take care everyone!