Tarpon time is now!
The spring/summer migration is in full swing. Each spring tarpon migrate through the Keys up into the gulf and along the eastern seaboard. Being partial to having the first shots annually, we Keys residents and guides have been having a great season.
Fly fishing is of course our primary passionate method but when the weather isn't playing nice a little tactical modification is in need. The past few weeks have been heavy with clouds and rain in south Florida. The one true fact about fly fishing is that when sight fishing the sun is vital. Being a Captain of multiple skill sets most of my anglers are out for a good time and opt for the conventional style of fishing on those dreary days!
My weapon of choice is a 7'6" medium heavy spinning rod with a fairly large spinning reel, typically 8000 series, with 50# braid. Leaders are typically between 30# to 60# flourocarbon between 4' and 8'. Whatever bait the fish are targeting is optimal. Crabs, shrimp, pinfish and mullet are standard and easy to obtain with a little hunting and a cast net!
Most days the fish are fairly easy to pattern and if you're on the water they show themselves real good, making it easy to set up a drift or anchor depending on depth and what others are doing. For the last few years Bear Holeman and I have been playing with soft plastics and I can tell you they do work. Conversations with friends who guide in different areas have luck on a variety of colors and sizes. Best thing to do is go experiment in your area with size, color and retrieve. The smallest of changes usually is the ticket. I'd go into detail but the best way is to book a trip with us and fish with any of our multi-skilled guides at www.keywestangling.com.
As for the fly fisherman, multiple options are available from poling to drifting to anchoring to dredging! The one constant is, in most cases, sight fishing and seeing the eat and experiencing the power of the silver king is amazing. For me it's about people's reaction when they hook a tarpon. Be it the first or 1000th - it is amazing! Few fish have the power and acrobatic ability that tarpon have making them one of the most attractive of species. So go practice your fly casting and get to one of the many tarpon destinations in the Gulf or the Keys. If you have any questions on whom to fish with, or location questions, do call or email me! Knowledge is my value and I love to share it.
Finally, as summer approaches, those of you who have ever dreamed about a Grand Slam now is the time until the first cold front in October. A Grand Slam consists of cathing a tarpon, permit and bonefish in one angling day. The IGFA will award you with a certificate for your trophy room that can be surrounded with photos of your achievement. Super cool and very rewarding!
So get geared up, get off the couch and go fishing! And most importantly take a kid! Few things in life provide such a level of achievement as fishing does!
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