All roads lead to Tarpon fishing they are big, jump and have an unmatched will to fight. Whether its Fly Fishing or Light tackle Tarpon are the best fish that swims PERIOD!!! Each spring as temperatures begin to warm the waters of South Florida we begin to see one of natures greatest migrations. The Annual Tarpon migration is something that should be on your Angling calendar each year Giant Tarpon pass through our area by the thousands preparing to spawn. They can begin to show up as early as February and usually stay until July although big fish can still be caught in the late summer months. Early season the Fish are in the Everglades staging up and feeding before swimming to their desired location to spawn. As the weeks go by the are in the Florida keys swimming the shallow clear water edges of the islands and surrounding flats. Once we get into May and June the fish are here in full effect and for good reason the Palolo worm "hatch" which triggers a reckless abandonment of their normal behavior as they eat every worm they possibly can for a couple hours and are believed to go spawn after this incredible event that takes place every year in select locations throughout the Florida Keys. As far as fishing in saltwater is concerned its the most wonderful time of the year. I have some info on both locations that I target these fish for you to choose what is best for you.
EVERGLADES TARPON FISHING
Tarpon fishing in Everglades National Park is everything fishing for Tarpon fishing should be they are staged up in groups and for the most part in a feeding mood when conditions are good. The Everglades are a vast wilderness almost like a Jungle with bays, creeks and rivers for these fish to forage. Giant Mangroves trees line the shore line some up to 50 feet tall (which provide great wind protection) as far as the eye can see. There's no telling what kind of wildlife you could see back there on any given day from Crocodiles, Alligators, Dolphins, Manatees and countless bird species but my favorite is the Tarpon. I usually begin chasing these Giant fish on a regular basis in March as they move closer to the Back country of the Everglades from the Gulf waters as water temps begin to climb. We typically target these fish with Fly and Light tackle gear depending on preference and more importantly conditions. I like to use 11 weight fly rods some rigged with full Intermediate line and some with floating line to be prepared for whatever the day brings. When throwing plugs on Spin gear were usually using a 7' Medium action rod with a 6000 size reel with braided line. One of the Benefits of Fishing the Everglades for Tarpon is that they're not in a traditional Migration pattern such as swimming the edges of flats like in the Keys or swimming the beaches where they are constantly moving and not in a feeding mood. If your looking to chase Tarpon for the first time I recommend the Everglades as the style of fishing is more forgiving for New Anglers to Tarpon Fishing.
KEYS TARPON FISHING
The Florida Keys is the top Destination for Tarpon Anglers with its Shallow flats and crystal clear water which makes seeing the swimming Tarpon easy for most Anglers. That is where the magic is being able to see these fish coming at you and presenting a fly in the right place at the right moment and watching these migrating fish open up and take your fly. Little compares to visuals of Fly fishing for Tarpon it truly is the best game we can play as Anglers. The fish begin to arrive in good numbers starting in April as we are in full Spring weather. When water temps hit that magic mark Schools or "Strings" can be seen swimming the shallow waters of the Oceanside flats from bridge to bridge making their way to the pre spawning grounds. Usually, we are fishing in windy conditions and in some chop which can make it challenging at times. Being able to cast a fly without thinking of how to cast increases your odds at playing the game. These fish are keen animals and highly aware of their surroundings that is what makes Oceanside Fly fishing so demanding for Guide and Angler alike working as a team is the key to success. Typically, we are taking shots at 40 to 50 feet away with long leaders and practicing a Double Haul beforehand is imperative. I will be happy to work with you on fine tuning your casting but this is not the type of fishing that you want to learn how to cast as it can get extremely frustrating at times with its high demands and ever changing scenarios to get the bite.