The Forgotten Season: Tarpon

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I live in South Florida, where the weather’s always warm and the sun is always shining (most of the time). People often tell me they would never like to live in South Florida because they will miss having seasons. They will miss the leaves changing colors, watching snow fall on a cold winter morning, feeling the cool breeze on a warm spring day, and lounging by the pool during the heat of summer. I then inform the Northerner as to the seasons of South Florida. South Florida has tourist season, lobster season, stone crab season, hurricane season, and my most favorite season of all, Tarpon Season! The winter is when the guides here at Miami Fishing begin preparing for the Spring Tarpon Season by spending countless hours tying flies, changing line, and bullet-proofing our skiff so it will run non-stop for the next 4-5 months of insane “Poon Chasing.” If a Tarpon is something you have always wanted to catch, you must visit South Florida in the Spring. The next couple of paragraphs will give you some valuable information that should help you achieve your goal.

The first thing you should know about Tarpon Season is it runs about mid March through July. I can’t stress the word ‘about’ because in all honesty it can start as early as February. Good guides in South Florida like the ones I work with at Miami Fishing Charters pay attention to the weather probably more than most people brush their teeth. This is because we are looking for certain signals that tell us when and where to start fishing. For example, in the month of February I pay real close attention to warming trends such as the one we have happening as I write this article. These warming trends can sometimes get the water temperature warm enough to stimulate the Tarpon’s appetite. When I start seeing a 75-77 degree water temperature in the Everglades I know without a doubt I can have an epic Tarpon day. But planning for one of these warming days in February or even March is pretty much impossible until about a day or two before it happens. So booking a guide during this time for big daytime Tarpon in advance is really hit or miss. The only more consistent way to catch one during these months would be live baiting at night the deep cuts or channels such as Government Cut in Miami. In my opinion, it’s not as rewarding as watching a Tarpon inhale my fly or plug just feet from the boat but if you absolutely must catch one that is definitely your best bet.

The months of April, May, and June are by far your best months to try to get down to South Florida and hook a Tarpon. This is because during these months Tarpon are migrating down the East and West Coast of Florida to spawn somewhere between Islamorada and Bahia Honda in the Florida Keys. During this migration they travel down the same path year after year. Any guide worth his salt knows exactly where these “highways” can be found. Traditionally, Tarpon fisherman targeting these moving fish choose to use fly tackle because of the ability to quickly present the fish a very small bait and second because it is much sportier. But if you don’t know how to fly fish don’t worry you can catch one just as easily with a light tackle spinning rod. Just be sure to research and book your trip in advance because good guides are normally booked early and some of us have standing dates with customers that are booked a year in advance.

If you found any of this information useful we encourage you to surf around our website to learn more about Miami Fishing Charter guides.

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