Tarpon are the reason why I chose to pursue guiding as a career. I will never forget seeing my first group of 6 fish come out of the pass, turn, and head directly for our boat in 4 ft of crystal clear water. There is nothing like it and I bought a boat two weeks later without even having hooked one yet. I believe it is the single most beautiful and exciting fishery that our sport has to offer. That was 6 years ago and I have fished almost every possible day of tarpon season since that time. I was taught by some of the best and have been highly successful in both catching and putting others on these great fish.
I have caught a lot of tarpon and it never grows old but I find it almost as enjoyable to see others accomplish this, especially for the first time. Every bite is different from the most delicate sip to a 100 plus lb fish breaching all the way out of the water to inhale your fly or lure. This is something that every angler must do at least once in their lifetime. Nobody will work harder than I will to make sure you get a chance to hook one of these great fish.
Some tarpon are resident fish year round although they don’t begin to show until spring when the waters reach the lower 70’s. Early season laid up fish can found but the window is usually short and I couple it with fishing for other species for part of the day. The migration on our beaches starts in late April and runs through September. From late April through the beginning of July is prime time with thousands of fish moving through our beaches daily. However, early and late season fish are much more willing to eat. In terms of hooking and catching fish July has been my best month of the year by far. You see fewer fish but the ones you find are there to feed as long as you can make the cast!
Tarpon can also be found rolling and feeding inside the backwaters of Tampa Bay from Late July through the first cold fronts which are usually in October. This is another fishery that is very time, weather, and tide specific. It can be coupled with other species throughout the day or night fishing on the local bridges where tarpon cruise in sight just 15 ft from the boat ready to destroy your fly or lure.