Welcome to all who have ventured to the Florida Keys this week! At the beginning of the week the temperature had been hovering around 83 degrees although the winds were blowing strong. These high winds made sight fishing the flats for Bonefish and Permit nearly impossible. As the week rounded to a close the temperatures dropped a bit, in return the bonefish have been looking for the deeper waters encompassing the flats. On the upside the Tarpon bite has been strong especially as the tide changes just before sunset.
As most fishermen know winds can truly make or break your day in all aspects of fishing. Yes, the Tarpon were biting however netting the mullet has been the challenge. The mud have been stirred up making it much harder to get a visual on the bait. To have a real chance of catching the “Silver King’ aka Tarpon you will need at least a dozen or more mullet to secured your chance. After succeeding with bait we were off to the bridges.
Catching a Tarpon is the easy part, getting it to the boat is the challenge. My preferred set up is a 6 ½ to 7 ft medium to heavy rod. Using lighter tackle can lengthen the fight harming the Tarpon. Catching a 100 pound Tarpon on a 6 ½ ft rod will give you a 1/2 hour of thrills. Anything over a 1/2 hour and you and the Tarpon may to too tired to go on! For the reel I prefer to use a Shimano Torium (non-level wind) reels. They have proven to be durable, high-speed reels that cast well. Depending on the size of the Tarpon I choose to use 30 to 50 pound braided line. Caution has to be exercised using braided line because it will cut your fingers clear to the bone. There is no stretch so if you hand is in the way consider it gone. For the leader I use 5 to 6 feet and tied directly to my line using a Uni to Uni knot ending with a 5/0 to 8/0 circle hook. Approximately 4 feet from the hook I secure an adjustable split cork or float. This keeps my bait to the back of the boat.
This coming week you can expect the tarpon bite to remain strong during the evening hours. Make sure to be prepared because the big boys are here and what a thrill. My father in law got a taste of what it is like to fight a Silver King and I hope to do the same for you! So until next time, ask yourself this one question; Are you fishing yet?