Every May, anglers get fired up along the west coast of Florida about the tarpon migration. Yes, for the next three months there likely will be a flows of silver kings easing up and down the coast from Naples north to Crystal River. Albeit, Boca Grande and Tampa Bay get most of the social media attention in regards to tarpon activity... take it from me the flow of silver will be everywhere!
When asked how do you prep for tarpon season? I generally reply that preparation is likely the one aspect of the entire tarpon season you can actually control! You certainly can't control the weather, the tarpon's desire to eat or the unruly etiquette displayed by fever driven tarpon anglers. So, I look forward to preparing gear and tackle for all scenarios to give my clients and friends the best chance to tangle with the mighty tarpon!
So pre-rigging tarpon rods, is an important aspect of my preparation. I try to have both live bait and artificial lure equipment available for what ever conditions I might encounter. Under low-light conditions it's a nice to be able to fire out an artificial offering like the Mirrolure Purple Demon TTR or a 5" Zman Jerk Shadz (Rootbeer/Gold) on a 6/0 rigging hook... and know the tarpon will likely crush it! But there's no substitute when the sun is high and water is gin clear, like a pass crab tethered to a 5/0 Trokar circle hook... its money when the bite is really tough.
The other piece of advice I'd like to share with our Flats Class fans is you must exercise patience! It's always best if the tarpon come to you rather than you chasing the tarpon. It seems like a reasonable expectation but so many inexperienced anglers chase schools or strings of tarpon with little hope of getting a hook up.
So here's how I typically approach tarpon fishing on the beaches. Of course lots of patience and an attitude that it's okay if some fish leak by my anchored position. I know through years of experience that eventually there will be a relaxed group that will ideally come within casting range and that will create the perfect opportunity. Both the fish and the angler will be relaxed and the intercept point of the presentation will be on equal terms and that's when the magic happens! I'd rather have a legit shot 4 to 6 times throughout the day then have 12 or 15 ill fated shots with low odds of a hook-ups... and lots of frustration. Patience is definitely the best policy!
So this tarpon season do what I do... make it the fish's idea to crunch your crab or lure. Resist the urge to chase, be patient and I promise you it will pay off with a leaping silver king at the end of your fishing rod.
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