Tarpon also known as the Silver King are in full swing right now. No matter what size they are, they can be one of the most exhilarating fish to catch in our waters. There is a lot of preparation that you must do before going out to tackle these fish.
Juvenile tarpon spend most of their time in warm, shallow, dark bodies of water. They also can live in stagnant waters and even freshwater due to their unique swim bladders, which they use to breath. They can actually come up to the surface and take gulps of air. When they are in this juvi state, they mostly feed on insects and small fish. They grow to about one foot in a year and 2 feet in 2 years.
Adult tarpon in our area spend most of their time traveling up and down the coast line. They start spawning offshore usually from early spring into the summer. Most of these fish are anywhere from 60 to 200 plus pounds. Usually they will start showing up in our area in small pods of just a few fish. Then they will start showing up in schools of 50 or more. These fish will be feeding on just about anything that comes in their path like sardines, pinfish, mullet, crabs, and they have even been known to eat catfish!
First thing that you have to come to grips with when you begin tarpon fishing that no matter how good your tackle is, you are going to land maybe 25-50 % of the fish you hook. My favorite size tarpon to fish for in the summer months are the juveniles. When hooked, most large and small poons are going to jump 4-5 times right off the bat. This is when most people’s fish come unbuttoned. Of coarse it helps to always remember to "bow to the king" (lower your rod tip when they jump). My three favorite baits I like to use are the Monster 3X X-MOVE, Yo-Zuri Lures 3DS Minnow 70 (SP), and Mirro Lure’s Mirrodine. When I decide to target the larger adult tarpon, I mostly use live baits. The live baits I use depend on what time of the year it is because they primarily eat more of certain things through out their migratory season. For artificial baits I mostly use larger lipped Yo-Zuri swim baits or the larger Monter 3X X-SWIM.
Always be CAREFUL when tarpon fishing! Toothy critters like the man in the grey suit like to follow these fish. If you are going offshore, always pair up with a buddy. There is nothing easy about tarpon fishing but, having a partner makes things a little easier when fight and handling the fish. Till next time… Be Safe, Tight Lines, and Tight Knots!