May is TARPON TIME on Florida’s Adventure Coast. The migrating tarpon are here and will remain through mid-July. Tarpon can be found in water from two to eight feet deep anywhere inside of the last markers of the channels. Tarpon fishing is a patient man’s game as it may take countless hours and days to hook the mighty silver king. These fish are huge, with an average size of 80 to 200 pounds. Tarpon work with the tides; during low tide they are further out and at high tide they are a little closer in.
You can target these fish with a variety of different tackle. Fly fishing is what this area is known for. Many anglers come from around the world to Florida’s Adventure Coast for a chance to again land a world record tarpon.
Fishing for tarpon with fly equipment, you will need a 12-weight fly rod outfit with a lot of backing. I have close to 500 yards on my fly reels. Other ways to catch tarpon are with spinning gear and soft plastics like Hogy soft baits in 10 and 12-inch lengths. Rig the soft baits with a 10/0 weedless hook or a 7/0 to 8/0 circle hook. The tarpon need to be ahead on or quarter to shot for them to eat. Live bait works as well as greenbacks, mullet, pin fish and crabs. All will work. Rig them with a 50 to 80 pound leader and a 7/0 circle hook. Cast in front of the fish and wait till they eat. Then hold on!
Many people push pole their boats and that is the quietest way to approach tarpon. If you see anglers working this way, please give them space like I do; they will appreciate it.