tarpon migratory behavior - Fly Fishing Forum
Bonefish, Tarpon, and other Obsessions Turquoise water, silver demons on the fly

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Old 12-18-2007, 12:01 PM
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tarpon migratory behavior

Who can tell me firsthand about experiences with migrating tarpon? I want to chase pods of tarpon from the surf this upcoming year. On foot. Somewhere beautiful, with frozen drinks made with real fruit and fresh lobster tails.

I know a thing or two about migratory behavior from 8 years of striped bass migration study and envision the parallel.
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  #2  
Old 12-18-2007, 07:55 PM
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Wall, they seem to be at la Guajira this time of year, around the Virgin Islands in Feb-March, Bahamas starting in late March and Florida April-May...
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:32 AM
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Juro
You can't be serious wanting to chase migrating tarpon on foot. Have you seen the size of them?
The migrating fish are a totally different proposition to residents.
They fight like crazy and run a long long way. I have landed quite a few but alway in a boat. Normally you have to follow the fish.
On foot you will need 500 yards of backing and you must now go into training.
Also most of the fish I have hooked have been in approx 6ft of water. They follow the shore line.

Your idea that you want to chase pods of tarpon is perhaps not quite correct. If you can get into the right position they will come to you. They are fish that are constantly moving in one direction, depending on the tide.
They do not move into an area and then move out a few days later.

Pete
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:29 AM
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Pete -

You only encourage me with such information
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:36 AM
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OK here's some more encouragement:
The small fish may go to 80 lbs the bigger up to 150lbs+.

Fighting them on foot will be extremely difficult as you must get the rod tip low and keep turning them. When you are waist deep I can imagine this is quite difficult.

To land a fish quickly you have got to fight it and not it play with you, as I'm sure you know.

I wish you lots of luck. There again have you thought about a pair of waterskis?

Pete
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:10 AM
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Juro....

Juro...

Heed these words!

You all know me. You know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for ya, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish! Not like goin' down to the pond chasing bluegills or tommycod. This fish will swallow you whole!!!
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:33 PM
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I don't know much about tarpon, but what experience I have is mostly with "migrating" fish. My understanding is that they will follow a comfortable depth contour. In the Keys, that seems to be around 4-8'. They will bounce off of shallower humps and points, and follow the edges of flats. They follow these routes year after year.
I'm sure they "migrate" through deeper water, but they would be hard to see and pole after, so I don't know anything about those fish.

If I were going to wade after these fish, I would try to find a spot (a jetty perhaps or some kind of point) that would funnel the fish within casting distance. Wading in 5' of water will probably not make for good fishing. I have never seen anyone wade for "migrating" fish.

I think that people on the Gulf side (Texas?) fish for them from beaches and jetties. I saw a cool video of Larry Dahlberg catching them in the surf (Africa) with conventional tackle. These fish were going air born in the surfline. What a sight.

Man, it would be tough to land a 100# fish on foot. It probably wouldn't survive the fight. I saw a video of Jose Wejebe landing a tarpon from shore (at a naval base under lights). That fish was toast.
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Old 12-19-2007, 02:25 PM
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"frozen drinks made with real fruit and fresh lobster tails".

Yuck!

Cheers,

Eric
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Old 12-19-2007, 02:58 PM
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They're in the Keys yearlong...Especially around Islamorada and Marathon.
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Old 12-19-2007, 04:46 PM
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Juro,

Check your PM's
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie
I have never seen anyone wade for "migrating" fish.
In almost a decade of specifically studying the striper migration I have seen less than 5 other people wading the migratory routes until I spread the word through the forum claves a couple years ago (and three of these 5 people I knew well). That doesn't mean the others weren't out there too (up and down the coast), but my point is that there are still pearls of unconventional wisdom to be gleaned even in the 21st century.

I assume if the 4-6ft line is their dawn track, then conventional wisdom is to follow the pods by boat near shore at more comfortable times of day for guides and clients. With their worldwide distribution I can imagine there are countless miles of ambush shorelines where silver kings pass in the calm morning hours before the wind kicks up and brunch starts.
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:35 PM
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They come in pretty close to many beaches, especially when the glass minnows are there. You might be able to wade out and hook one if you get the fly like 70 ft out or so...
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Old 12-19-2007, 07:18 PM
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Itīs not totally migratory, but my bet would be to look out for lagunaīs or other freshwater outlets tosea. Here usually you have a drop off edge which sometimes can be shallow enough to stand on the edge.
Or holes in reefs/cays.
Keep us posted!
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juro
I assume if the 4-6ft line is their dawn track, then conventional wisdom is to follow the pods by boat near shore at more comfortable times of day for guides and clients. With their worldwide distribution I can imagine there are countless miles of ambush shorelines where silver kings pass in the calm morning hours before the wind kicks up and brunch starts.
Why would you assume that? I have fished through out the day, and I rarely see them out of that depth range (usually they are spooked of seem confused...no doubt we are confused). Who cares about tarpon migrating in 200' of water and I doubt they spend much time "migrating" in water under 4'.

Most guides are off the water just after brunch.

Good guides do not "follow" pods. They know the route and they they position the boat in a place that has the right combination of visibility, wind direction, angler pressure etc. They look for spots that will concentrate the fish. Once on the spot, they move in and out from the shore depending on the tide. Imagine a well traveled highway that moves in and out. The Capt. I fish with is rarely off by 80'. I cast to fish while we are staked out eating sandwiches almost every time we go out. That is how predictable the route is. He never stakes out (except for lunch and crazy wind) and usually makes very small adjustments. Why chase them when they will come to you? Find a shore spot that is like a boat spot.

"Migrating fish" seem to be more grabby before the sun hits the water, but the frequency and size of schools seem to have little bearing to time of day. There is nothing worse than a windless blue bird day. Great vis and staggering rejection.

Think of "migrating" tarpon like other fish in a spawning cycle (like steelhead). Their habits are not the same as resident fish. They aren't hanging out and they're not on the feed. It just so happens that while they are going from point a-b and bright feathery thing catches their eye and because it is moving just right, they can't help but to grab it. I don't know if the "stage" the way steelhead do. Maybe in deep cuts? Seems risky. I always assumed that the fish caught in deep channels and cuts (usually on bait) are resident. I don't know. I like to think of migrating tarpon to be akin to salmon and steelhead.

I would not call the tarpon's range world wide, but I'm sure their are plenty of spots where migrating tarpon can be fished to from shore by a flyfisherman.

So, what's your plan?
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Old 12-20-2007, 07:37 AM
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SW Florida

Looking back through some of my old DIY trip notes I think you could find what you want in the spring and fall in SW Florida.

I am not sure when the best time to go would be but I do remember walking a beach in November with the 8# and seeing big Snook in the surf line, hooking big Reds, saw several Tarpon rolling within casting distance of the fly rod.

It would not be an easy task to hook and land a big tarpon but you would be in the game.

Do a search for all the fishing forums about the best times in SW Florida for Tarpon fishing and I bet you could find your spot.

Good Luck
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