tarpon in water

The juvenile tarpon continues to be the primary target for me in the Lagoon lately. Higher water and lower salinity levels from the rain this week should make it even better. Finding them was essentially a guarantee with some searching. Feeding them, not so much, especially when the circus of speeding boats and jetskis showed up.

Some better sized tarpon have shown up. I’ve caught three 15-25lb class tarpon this week. Bigger live mullet early and late on 5/0 Trokar with 40lb Seguar Fluorocarbon leader. They have been very boat shy, so don’t even bother when there’s heavy boat/jetski traffic.

There have been smaller 2-5lb tarpon in the residential canals and backwaters most of the day. It’s best sunrise through mid-morning and late afternoon through sunset. 2-3 live mullet or pogies are sure bets, but this is a great opportunity for fly anglers. I wish I was good at fly fishing.

It is critical that you leave the tarpon of all sizes in the water. Unlike a redfish, they don’t hold still when you grab them. They are extremely hard to hold onto. The small tarpon don’t tire out as much and have a smaller mouth, so be careful not to get hooked. Also, DO NOT hold any saltwater fish vertically if you are going to release it.

There have been a few 15-25 inch reds, but with all the water quality issues, I generally suggest not targeting them right now — but please do not if the water is either light brown or really stagnant. Otherwise, if you do get a redfish on, be sure to keep it in the water as much as possible. Similarly, I do not presently condone targeting seatrout, period. We’ve lost 75-100% of them since 2014 and their scales are so delicate. Generally, it’s best for the health of all fish to avoid j-hooks with bait, and treble hooks at all costs.