tarpon mullet run

This past week has kept me inshore with 20+ mph northeasterly winds, but that was not a problem. The mullet were nowhere to be seen close to shore during the week, but huge schools could be found near manatee signs, causeways, and the ICW channel. Once the east wind picked up, big numbers showed up close to the east bank in spots. 30-60lb tarpon were schooled up in parts of the ICW and near bridges. I also noticed the water level is super high everywhere.

These fish could only be found when the wind was calm. Getting them to eat was a challenge though. They had absolutely zero interest in artificial. I ended up cast netting 4 to 6 inch finger mullet and it was game on for 45 minutes before they refused to eat.

I was using a Shimano Teramar medium-heavy extra fast with a Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000, 20lb PowerPro, 40lb Seguar Fluorocarbon, and a 5/0 Trokar Circle Hook. This is ideal for most the fish I was seeing, but it is not enough rod, reel, line, and leader if they are bigger. You are legally required to keep any tarpon over 40 inches in the water, and it is for a good reason.

Closer to shore, I have been finding 20-30 inch reds, 18-26 inch snook, 12-24 inch tarpon, a few small trout, and even baby bull sharks. All but the tarpon are not very picky.

As always, please practice catch and release in our estuary, and be respectful towards other fishermen. Brown tide seems to be gone, but the water is still dirty from wind and green algae (not toxic cyanobacteria) in places. If you can, please try let the bull reds spawn in peace for the time being so we can catch fish in the future.