Finally, with a little break in our recent brutal heat wave, a good friend and I planned a scouting trip to check on one of our favorite Tarpon spots for the chance to put potential charter clients on tarpon with fly gear. We arrived just as the sun was breaking the horizon and despite the voracious no-see-ums the Tarpon were plentiful and actively feeding on Glass Minnows as we had hoped.
We started out throwing top water “Gurgler” patterns and my buddy quickly was hooked up with probably close to a 4-5lb fish. A couple of quick photos and the fish was released. Now was my turn. After a couple of swings and misses and thrown hooks we switched to throwing a slow sinking “Deceiver” pattern. Again, a couple of short striking fish and pulled hooks was the story of the day for me. We switched up and my buddy was once again on the bow. We eased in to a group of larger fish feeding in a little deeper water and within seconds my friend was hooked up to an acrobatic, high flying fish. The best part was this fish proved to be his personal best on a six weight fly rod and I had the honor of watching the whole battle go down. As the sun was climbing the fish were becoming a little less cooperative. We left the area and began slow poling down the Mangrove shoreline in hopes of finding some belly crawling redfish, Sea Trout, or even Black Drum. Not long after beginning our change of plans we were still seeing some single Tarpon feeding along the Mangroves. Finally, a well placed cast gained me my first Tarpon of the morning. Again, after continuing our search for other species we soon came across a school of close to 20-30 Black Drum and after a quick fly change my friend added to our catch with a decent size Drum.
As usual, with our Florida Summer weather patterns, storms were beginning to develop in the distance. We tried to stick it out as long as we could as we were now finding some Snook and Redfish. We pushed our time on the water a little too long and found ourselves having to quickly evacuate the area to hunker down under a bridge as the ramp was now out of view due to the down pour. The rain and lightning finally let up enough to run back to our shoreline.
This lasted about 15min as the next wave of storms were again approaching quickly. We unfortunately had to end our trip earlier than we’d planned and make the run back to the ramp. We had the skiff loaded just as the next down pour began.
Even though the weather cut our day short the trip was a success as we landed three Tarpon and a Black Drum, all on fly. As my friend and I always say “one fish on fly makes it a successful day…any more than that is just a bonus”.