Monday, June 28, 2010

Pine Island Tarpon In July

Yesterday I got a couple of questions about finding tarpon in this area next month. The good news is that tarpon season in Pine Island extends well into the early fall. I actually consider July to be the best time of year for tarpon, especially the smaller fish that respond so well to flies. The photo above was taken on July 18th of last year. This was a Charlotte Harbor fish that my dad landed in six feet of water using a live threadfin. I caught an identical one twenty minutes earlier on a 1/0 rabbit fur fly. We caught these tarpon on a dead calm morning when there wasn't a hint of breeze and the water temps were well into the mid-80's. Those are perfect sightcasting conditions when the tarpon are forced to roll on the surface every few minutes.

The reader also asked me about how to find them during choppy conditions like we're experiencing right now after sunrise. This is a bit more difficult. Around Matlacha Pass I've noticed that once the breeze comes up the tarpon go down. That doesn't mean they disappear completely, it just means you have to head to some cleaner water away from the mangroves if you want to sight cast to them. Pine Island Sound, closer to Captiva and the Gulf, is where you can find these Keys-like conditions. If you want to stay in darker water try chumming just with whitebait just like you do for snook. A white jerk bait, like a Gulp or Exude, has worked well for me in the chop.