: Spontaneous DIY Florida Tarpon Advice
In contrast to the general opinion that tarpon are not a DIY quarry (spare me the can'ts and don'ts we all hear too often from the guide-laden sunshine state) does anyone have experience with spring tarpon in Florida on their own they could share?
05-28-2008, 01:49 PM
Lagoons north of Ft. Pierce are pretty good, but look out for alligators!
Right on, Juro! I dying to find out the same information. Been on goose chases so far, but look at Stuart.
05-28-2008, 05:50 PM
years old info but while fishing a blitz of Spanish Macs on Hutchison Island (sp) area... a fellow fisherman told me that there were lots of baby Tarpon in the canal systems in the area... I never got to check it out but it sounds like the Ft. Pierce / Stuart area advice is pretty good....
There's a fly shop in Stuart. I'd contact them and see what they have to say. We went there on a Sunday and found the shop closed.
Great snook and jack fishing along the sea wall to add to the attraction.
Next spring, on the cusp of summer, I hope to be back in Florida to try to do what you're trying to do. Tarpon are eluding me and I want to catch one of those buggers more than anything.
Fantasizing in Waldport
To my fellow collaborator/commiserator in pursuit of pacific northwest steel I admit that when hooked my mind envisions the steelie's mutant cousin from hell. When it runs and goes airborne in a blur of silver a steelheader can't help but see a world record 36 pound Lewis River summer run on the line... until you realize that it's just a $%&*^# giant herring. Amazing animals, primitive yet no need to evolve further and smart as they are strong. A must to experience on the fly, tremendous sport.
05-28-2008, 11:59 PM
Juro, best recommendation from me is not the Keys but rather the Gulf Coast and renting a boat. Along the beaches north of Pine Island and Boca Grande Pass are beach tarpon that you look for and intercept with a trolling motor. Much more doable than flats where you need to pole to the tarpon. Unless of course you are good a poling a boat in which case you can get it done in the Keys but you may come up with some goose eggs until you learn the various areas. I have friends who went DIY but they live in the Keys and spent a number of years fishing with guides - and as much as they know the areas, I still see more poons with my guide than they manage on their own.
05-29-2008, 06:51 AM
Gulf Coast- Sarasota and Venice areas will actually give you beach shots at fish, plus the beach snook and jacks are tremendous.:smokin:
I've seen them tearing into pilchards off the east side of Bahia Honda in spring several years ago but only had a 7wt bonefish rod with a crab pattern at the time.
What is peak timing of the migration for beach shots?
05-29-2008, 07:30 AM
Juor- My understanding from Rick Grassett a guide a CBs Outfitters on Siesta Key is that the prime action is mid June to mid July. He fishes right of the beach in his flats boat, but I know locals down there that beach fish and fish tarpon in yaks off the beach. Supposedly, all along "Shell Beach" and Turtle Beach on Siesta Key the fish are within fly range during tha period. They are definitely cruising the passes from the intercoastal into the gulf at that time as well.
I've not been there then, but I go to Siesta Key for April vaca every year and fish the beach each and every day for snook, jacks, trout, ladyfish, etc. Also lots of cobia around in June as well. Check out Rick's site for more info
www.flyfishingflorida dot net
He's a very helpful guy.
Plus, if you can't get tarpon, 25 lb jacks will tear up your stuff.:biggrin:
05-29-2008, 09:30 AM
You can kayak fish for rollers of various size in the Faka Union Canal (on Rte 41 between Naples and Everglades City) complex of canal/creeks/hidden back ponds, and all the way out to the passes. You can also fish on foot there the Rte 41 canals and some quarries that are full of Juvie fish 5-25 #.
05-29-2008, 10:07 AM
In terms of DIY, tarpon fishing can be tough, if from out of state. The reason I say this is that you would at least need a yak to get to most of them. What size fish are you interested in as that would be helpful. Big fish will be on the Beach. medium and small sized fish can be found in waters that are inland. Did you have a particular place in mind?
A great place to yak for tarpon is the Sebastain river, the north fork has a more and bigger fish but it's in deeper water. The south fork, when they are there tend to eat better. It also a gret place for snook.
Another place that is great this time of year is the Everglades out of Flamingo. This can also be done by yak but don't have any personal experience on this one in recent years specifcally targeting tarpon. Also the closest lodging is Florida City unless you want to camp.
Once again, if you let me know what place you are interested in I can focus in on what's available for you.
P.S. The gulf side beaches previously mentioned is probably your best bet for big fish that you can get to by yak.
05-29-2008, 01:11 PM
Juro, the main reason the discussion always start with , "get a guide" is the fact that tarpon are most often in water that is hard to get to by foot. The bottom is soft in many areas, much of the shoreline is private and hacking through mangroves is tough. Guides have boats. The second reason people recommend guides is that most people don't have a ton of time to look for fish, and guides know where they are.
I suspect that many locals or those in the know would rather not share their spots on the web.
So here goes:
1) fish the canals off the Tamiami trail. Hop out of the car where ever it looks fishy and throw in a fly. You never know what will hit. I there are tarpon in there.
2) Rent a flats boat and pole along contours in the 4-6' range. If it is clear you will see them clearly. If not, look for rolls, bubbles and water being pushed.
If you can't get a flats boat, anchor up along a likely spot. Look for points and areas that would compress schools of migratory fish.
In the back country, look for laid up fish. Bubbles, nervous water, rolling fish etc. This is especially productive in low light.
I have seen more than a few rental boats aground so pay attention to where you're going.
You could do this in a kayak, but visibility will be poor, so sticking to the back country might be a better bet for this.
Sure, I understand the dynamics of getting a guide pretty well. As I've said in the past it depends on what you're after. Fish numbers and local advice, get a guide. Discovery and a sense of totally self-sufficient success, don't.
A guide is often a good teacher, and you learn a lot. However it's also a proof of your own tools to apply them with your own intuition.
Both good, but sometimes I am after one and not the other. In fact I am always looking for that feeling of discovery, with a few rare exceptions.
05-29-2008, 10:05 PM
Juro, easy with the 'tude, it is not conducive to sharing information and experience.
05-29-2008, 11:04 PM
Hey Juro. I have a reliable inside source tell me that guys are getting tarpon on conventional gear in the surf in Clearwater.
The tarpon should be making their runs down the coasts now. You'll probably find a lot of tarpon if you go onto any of the piers...thing is, they don't allow fly fishing on the pier.
IMO, right now your best bet is Clearwater off the beaches. Last year a friend of mine was on fire with conventional gear, catching tarpon out of the surf. He would nail 4-5 ever few hours!
Clearwater sounds interesting, beautiful beach, restaurants and nightlife as well as a boat rental firm just inside the break to the outside not to mention lots of structure all around the area.
The key is timing the migration. Probably getting pretty close by now.
05-30-2008, 03:46 PM
Yea, the tarpon should start showing up there in numbers any time. Another good place to try would be Boca Grande right off the seawall breakers.