M is for monster
a is for the close of April
Y is for Yes they are here!
The Silver Kings roam North and your looking for those that have silver dollar scales, those our the big ones and the ones that almost can’t be stopped, they have speed, agility and the ability to shake a hook free in mid air.
Besides a 14 foot Shark, a Tarpon is another I would consider an almost impossible catch, I am not talking 40 or 60 pound fish, I am talking about 125pound or bigger Monsters these fish don’t just roll over and say I give up.
Over the years I have been lucky enough to witness and watch some of the best South Florida Land based fisherman do their thing from Sharkers, Snookers and Tarponators and I would say Tarpon fishing is the best to watch from the screaming drag and aerobatics to the Finishing picture of the cradling of that Silver King is just unbelievable.
It Starts in South Florida in around the end of April and heats up to the grand Finale at the end of May into June.
Most of the fisherman I know start the season using 20 pound test and finish using 15lb test at the end, now with the introduction of braid it has lost some appeal because of the line capacity with braid it does make it easier, but many of the fisherman still use Mono and do this sport for the skill and sportsmanship and those are the guys that make it what it is, UNBELIEVABLE.
When I think back I see from memory green bailless reels on stout 8 foot spinning rods with the classic cork butts and solid guide wraps, now I see similar rods but Van Stahls are on many of those rods, which is understandable, you need gear that can take the abuse and constant pressure and Penn and Van Stahls seem to be the reels of Choice.
I am not one of the lucky ones “its really not luck ITS SKILL” because I have yet to catch a tarpon bigger than 100 pounds from “land” there is a big difference fishing these fish from land, no way to run them down or even get some line back from chasing them, when your standing on land or a Pier it comes down to knowing when to make the right moves as in slowing the fish down, attempting to turn it and understanding how close you should bring it in before you allow another run to tire that monster out, if you get that fish too close and it comes in on pilons or around a structure you have lost because, like Snook, it knows how to beat you if you give them that chance.
The most fascinating Tarpon fishing I have witness is from piers and it is not only acrobatic from the fish when it gets hooked, but also by the fisherman, when its Tarpon time many Pier Tarpon fisherman dedicate that month or two to fishing the morning and evening bites and there can be as many as 20 to 30 fisherman targeting them and at many places I have fished there is normally only one prime location for sighting and casting for Tarpon, so you have a way lay of fisherman in one place, but they have given way to the True sportsmanship of Fishing and taken turns and working in conjunction as a whole and it works.
They line up to the right on a corner and as the tarpon pass heading North they sight the one they want to shoot for or just toss to all, the fisherman then moves to his left and another steps up and casts and it continues as the fish are passing, the fish stop and the next in line has first cast, it is Tarpon fishing ballet. What I find cool about the entire sport is the fisherman are supporting each other and are sincerely happy when one gets a fish and in all cases a fisherman is following and helping to get rods and People out of the way and organizing in and around the person fighting the Tarpon, I find this to be a very important part, you could not get a Big Fish like this in if you did not have help.
The bait of choice in south Florida would be a Horse Pilchard, but Thread herring, mullet, sardines all will work, another method is a bucktail jig and worked up and down on a slow retrieve simulating a shrimp or small bait fish.
So for those up to a challenge I would suggest getting ready, May is upon us and the fishing will heat up fast, tarpon have congregated south in the keys the last few weeks and that is the first sign so its coming.
The piers are not the only place, you could try Jetty’s and Bridges they will be stocked up also, I like free lined live shrimp at these locations or with a troll right “a jig head”, a red tail hawk jig works also, don’t forget if you are going to work artificials try them all you can never know what will work, rapala broken backs fish like lures, DOA’s, Soft baits also.