Welcome to the Florida Keys! It has been a busy week for guides and lots of action to be had by all! This was the week to be on the water! The winds were light, the sun shining, the waters warming, and the bite was strong! Great action included Large Mangrove Snapper, Bonefish, Permit, Speckled Sea Trout, Redfish, Jacks, Ladyfish and of course my ultimate favorite the Tarpon aka Silver King!
The last few weeks the Tarpon bite has been limited to the evening hours but now it is on night and day! They are being caught around the bridges as well as in the backcountry. On average the Tarpon we are catching have been in the 100 pound range. Catching monster game fish like these takes some skill and knowledge. The main point I would like to make to all my new Tarpon anglers is when these fish jump out of the water bow your rod! We have lost over 20 large Tarpon this week alone due to anglers getting too excited and forgetting the rules, ALWAYS BOW TO THE KING! As the silver king begins to break the surface you will feel the slack in the line and then you need to immediately bow your rod or the king will break it. It’s important I get more Tarpon to the boat not only for you to have the lifetime memory, but also for research purposes.
Limited long term research has been completed on Atlantic Tarpon however; one program that all Captains and anglers can get involved in is the Tarpon Genetic Recapture Study being lead by the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI). The research is to help biologists understand the Atlantic Tarpon’s migration patters and the success of Tarpon stocks. This kit is easy to use and puts very little stress on the fish. You can order the kit from FWRI by calling 1-800-367-4461 or e-mailing TarponGenetics@MyFWC.com. You can also request a kit from some of your local bait shops. I have been using the kit for years and happy to help any research needed to sustain my favorite pastime, fishing!
If you are thinking of getting on the water your chances of catching a prize fish is high. Find yourself a skilled guide but be aware more then 65% might already be booked for the time you want. My suggestion would to be flexible. Many guides will go out more then once a day. This is always nice because they have already experienced what’s biting and where.
So until next time, ask yourself this one question… Are you fishing yet?