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Tarpon Day 7= Final Day

Posted 06-26-2011 at 08:20 AM by Davo

Well it finally came, the last day of 2011 Tarpon Trip. And we got off to a much better start than Day 5! The guide was on time. We got the jump on the competition for the flat we like best. About 10 minutes after we arrive on our spot 2 other boat came slowly cruising up and then motor for other waters. The wind was up and there was a fair amount of cloud cover but this was predicted to clear up before noon. Things were looking good!!

Due to our early start and arrival on site we had rather a long wait ahead. This wait became even longer when the Tarpon did not start moving till just after 11:00AM. But unlike Day 5 they did start moving. Also unlike Day 5 we were fishing an incoming tide so instead of trying to stay ahead of the Tarpon we were able to follow there move from the outside of the flat to the inside. Makes it a lot easier to cut them off as they cross the flat head for the creek.

For about the first hour and a half all we got was singles and pairs with no larger sets. These first spooked off the fly each time. I really believe the are much more likely to eat when there are more in the school. Safety in numbers I guess. The only problem with that is if you spook one they all follow. Also when you have a school of 5 and sometime 20 or more torpedoes swimming straight at you the fishing version of buck fever tends to set in rather quickly and easily!!

Let me paint you a little picture. The flat we like to fish extends East to West. East being the ocean side and end on the West side at the Key. The fish move across this time of the season from South to North. This flat would be huge except there is a thin cut through the middle separating it in to two flats The cut is basically a deep water creek. The Tarpon swing way out around the tip of the southern flat and the move in to the west across a bowl in the middle of that flat and drop into the cut. How far in or out along the cut they pop out to cross our flat is determined by the height of the tide or water depth if you will. At full low tide the come out the mouth of the cut and cross the tip of the flat out at the ocean end. At full high tide the cross way inside at the Key side or land end of the flat. The flat is about 100 yards wide. Tarpon tend to like 4 feet or more of water to move in. The north side of the flat has sort of a lip to it that the Tarpon will only cross all the way inside at full high tide. Until then as they cross farther in they turn out toward the east and move up the edge of the flat to deeper water before dropping into the next creek. There is a hump about two thirds of the way out on the flat that they head for in order to drop in to the creek except at full high tide when they can go straight across inside. This is where we set up to cut them off. Sound pretty simple huh? Well not quite!

By this time the wind was building up to 17 to 18 out of the east. and the scattered clouds blowing over were starting to stack up over the Keys to the south and west. These clouds build wider and higher as the day goes on. The significants of this is that these clouds cast an evil glare on the water that cute your visibility to about 20 to 30 feet. This is the distance at which the Tarpon can see you or the boat or both and your busted. The flare off and swim around you leaving you feeling like a deer caught in the headlights. That's why in Tarpon fishing being able to make 60 to 80 foot cast is so important to your success!! Getting the fly in front of them and working it before you get busted.

At this time we started get bigger sets. We never got the really big ones just a bunch of 3 to 6 and a couple 10 to 12. The tide was still coming in so the fish were coming across at us out of the south and we had to pick them out of the glare in time to get a cast in. Add crossing winds of 18 out of the east and now accuracy becomes an issue too. If your not getting busted your missing your mark with no time to recast before your spotted. This happened a lot for the next hour!!

Good news is the tide is still coming in and soon the fish will be crossing inside and flaring out straight at you from the west. Bad news is by 1:00 or later those same clouds to the south are also building out over the everglades. But the glare is not so bad till about 2:30 to 3:00. About 1:30 I really got schooled by the only Tarpon we got to eat all week. A set of 6 come up the flat straight at us. Since the wind was now from behind the accuracy was not an issue. We had set up just outside the hump so the fish would flare out to our right before getting close enough to bust us. My first cast is out in front with room to spare. I paused to let the fish get close then started to strip. The lead fish did not like the fly but did not spook, he just flared out more toward the creek. I picked up and made the second cast broadside to the school and just short so as not to line fish and spook them all. I got no reaction from them as I stripped the fly. Then just as I was deciding to pick up and cast again with no chance of get one to make a u turn and follow my fly, The tail fish makes a hard right turn and shoots forward to to gulp my fly. Man was I a deer caught in the headlights on this one. He got me in between strips and was coming straight at the boat. As hard as I tried to strip set I just could not catch up enough line to tighten up on him. I could not believe the miss!! He beat the pants off me!!

We got a few more shots after that. But as usual by 2:30 the clouds at built up enough over the Everglades that we had no visibility to the South or the West. This year the Tarpon won!! Total tally for the week was 2 Barracuda, 1 Shark, 1 Mackerel and 0 Tarpon. But it was one heck of a fun week and we will be doing it again next year for sure!! Maybe then I will have better success to write about. Thanks for following along and stay tuned for some Trout tales once runoff is over with.

Davo
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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    milt spawn's Avatar
    Thanx Davo! I tried sending good karma your way... milt.
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    Posted 06-26-2011 at 07:20 PM by milt spawn milt spawn is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Davo's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by milt spawn View Comment
    Thanx Davo! I tried sending good karma your way... milt.
    Milt

    Thanks for the Karma!! And thanks for following along with my plight!!
    permalink
    Posted 06-26-2011 at 08:19 PM by Davo Davo is offline
  3. Old Comment

    Great Tails Afire

    Thanks Davo

    My understanding of Tarpon fishing has just increased greatly. When you get a big one on typically how long will the fight last until he is brought boat side?

    Dave
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    Posted 06-26-2011 at 09:14 PM by littledavid123 littledavid123 is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Davo's Avatar

    Great Tails Afire

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by littledavid123 View Comment
    Thanks Davo

    My understanding of Tarpon fishing has just increased greatly. When you get a big one on typically how long will the fight last until he is brought boat side?

    Dave
    Dave

    The only one I've actually gotten to the boat was about 75lbs and that took about 30 minutes. I worked him pretty hard too!! You want get the tired out pretty quick cause the longer they are on the more likely they are to where through the bite tippet. Their Jaws and gill plates are pretty hard. We generally use 50 to 60lbs bite tippet. Fish over 100lbs can take up to an hour or more to land. They make a lot of jumps and several long runs.
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    Posted 06-26-2011 at 10:27 PM by Davo Davo is offline
  5. Old Comment
    mcnerney's Avatar
    Davo: Great trip report, very enjoyable reading, thanks for sharing!

    Larry
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    Posted 06-27-2011 at 09:00 AM by mcnerney mcnerney is online now
  6. Old Comment
    Davo's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mcnerney View Comment
    Davo: Great trip report, very enjoyable reading, thanks for sharing!

    Larry

    Thanks Larry glad you enjoyed it!!
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    Posted 06-27-2011 at 11:47 AM by Davo Davo is offline
  7. Old Comment
    Hardyreels's Avatar
    Dave I never fished for them but you did a good job of explaining how the strategy works. Isn't it weird that they are leader shy and fly savy........... When you talk tides I understand how that works but you and your dad have this down to a science.
    permalink
    Posted 07-02-2011 at 02:06 AM by Hardyreels Hardyreels is offline
  8. Old Comment
    Davo's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Comment
    Dave I never fished for them but you did a good job of explaining how the strategy works. Isn't it weird that they are leader shy and fly savy........... When you talk tides I understand how that works but you and your dad have this down to a science.
    Ard

    Tarpon are really finicky for sure. A fly that was great 3yrs ago has met just rejection for the last 2yrs. Add to that Tarpon just don't eat all the time. Catch numbers are never very high. Even in the Tarpon Gold Cup the catch #'s for 5 days are only between 10-20 usually.

    As for getting them figured out I'm not sure how well we have done. Each year we learn a little more. After 8 seasons you would think we would be experts by now!!
    permalink
    Posted 07-02-2011 at 02:40 AM by Davo Davo is offline
 












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