Tarpon Fishing in Clearwater FL
Tarpon are the “Silver Kings” of our local Clearwater coastal waters. These migratory fish are the largest, strongest, and most powerful species within range of the shoreline. Although some juvenile fish live here year round in backwater bays, the majority of Tarpon move into coastal waters. This occurs around May and goes through late July. Making their way up from warm, southern waters, their first stop is the world famous Boca Grande Pass. Plenty of fish continue the trek northward, along West Central Florida’s beaches in the Clearwater area. These fish range anywhere from 60 to 200 pounds. Tarpon Fishing in Clearwater Florida is exhilarating for anglers of all ages, offering a chance of a lifetime for a trophy fish.
A typical morning of Tarpon Fishing Clearwater FL begins with locating the right bait. Large fish like Tarpon, require a little larger offering. We will typically seek shad (menhaden), threadfins, large greenbacks (also referred to as whitebait), crabs and even pinfish. A variety of artificial lures, such as plugs or flies can also draw a strike from a Tarpon. It is all about presentation.
As the sun rises we set up along the beach, watching for the first glimpse of rolling Tarpon. Since they usually travel in schools or pods, it isn’t hard to identify a school of moving Tarpon in calm waters. Once spotted, we will try to move ahead of the school by using electric trolling motors to keep the noise at minimum. Shhhh! We don’t want to spook these fish! With spinning tackle in the 20 to 30 pound class, and 20 pound line tied to 60 to 80 pound leader we are ready to present a bait. Leading the fish by a few yards the “Silver King” inhales the bait. Now the fun begins.
Hooking a Silver King
Feeling the sting of the circle hook, the Tarpon leaps high into the air shaking and rattling her gills in an attempt to dislodge the hook. Bowing to the Tarpon as she jumps is the only way to keep her from spitting the hook. Only about 20% of the fish hooked are ever landed. The interior of their mouth is very hard and bony, making it difficult to get a good hook set. Often, a measure of a good day of fishing is how many Tarpon are jumped. If hooked well, sometimes a fight can last an hour or more. Then, finally boat side, we get a nice picture, a quick release, and begin looking for the next pod of fish.
Many of us Florida Fishing Guides in Clearwater and the Tampa Bay area, love to give our clients the opportunity to sight cast to these beautiful creatures. Feeling the uncanny power of these fish is an experience you will never forget.