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Saltwater Fly Fishing Bonefish, Tarpon, Redfish, Permit, False Albacore, Striped Bass, etc...

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Old 09-17-2008, 03:14 AM
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Default To get a tarpon to take a fly

We cast many dozens of times to tarpon feeding on minnows near the mangroves. Our flies "matched the hatch", but the tarpon weren't interested. I did manage to hook one briefly, but that was it. Question: Do you think a popper or even a popper-dropper rig may have gotten more strikes? The guide didn't think so, so we didn't try it.

These tarpon weren't rolling, they were actively feeding, so why only one hit out of scores of casts?
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Old 09-27-2008, 07:14 AM
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Default Re: To get a tarpon to take a fly

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Originally Posted by RiverGeezer View Post
We cast many dozens of times to tarpon feeding on minnows near the mangroves. Our flies "matched the hatch", but the tarpon weren't interested. I did manage to hook one briefly, but that was it. Question: Do you think a popper or even a popper-dropper rig may have gotten more strikes? The guide didn't think so, so we didn't try it.

These tarpon weren't rolling, they were actively feeding, so why only one hit out of scores of casts?
Try a gurgler type with some of the flotation cut away so that it suspends about 3-4 in. below surface...rabbit and maribou...work it slow...and let the tide/current work the marabou
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Old 09-28-2008, 09:34 AM
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Default Re: To get a tarpon to take a fly

If the tarpon are feeding on 3" glass minnows, should the "gurgler" match that length/color, or is that not important?
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Old 09-28-2008, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: To get a tarpon to take a fly

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Originally Posted by RiverGeezer View Post
If the tarpon are feeding on 3" glass minnows, should the "gurgler" match that length/color, or is that not important?
I'd try 2/0 'bout 3" color tan mainly hint yellow...tan hint chartruse...key IMHO is working slow to medium with a breaking wrist short strip...stop and drift...let the marabou work...loop knot...let them finally come to you
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Old 09-29-2008, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: To get a tarpon to take a fly

I'll remember your suggestion next time I get down to fish for tarpon. Thanks.
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Old 10-23-2008, 09:19 PM
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Default Re: To get a tarpon to take a fly

Hey RiverGeezer,

Tarpon are a funny fish when it comes to offerings. The fish might have gorged themselves on the glassies and hit the fly out of curiosity and not hunger. If there is plenty of live bait in the area it is very tuff to get a fish to turn on a fly. Like BF41 said
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I'd try 2/0 'bout 3" color tan mainly hint yellow...tan hint chartruse...key IMHO is working slow to medium with a breaking wrist short strip...stop and drift...let the marabou work...loop knot...let them finally come to you
. If fishing in the keys, somtimes even letting the fly drift with the current and wind will get even the most over stuffed fish to hit a fly. Tim Borski says it best "Maximum motion with minimum movement".

Patients is probably the best suggestion that I can offer.
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Old 12-13-2008, 02:21 PM
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Default Re: To get a tarpon to take a fly

Where was the fly in relation to the tarpon and current? You mentioned mangroves. Were the tarpon cruising past the groves or just hanging out? What I am driving at is this; Are you placing the fly in a location that a bait would not naturally be? Where the tarpon in a chain? The bait will never swim toward the tarpon and will try to use the current to its advantage in order to spend less energy. Have you ever watched a baitfish swim when it sences it's about to become lunch? Doing what the baitfish do is important, especially the ones that get eaten. You said that you were with a guide and that makes me wonder why you did not get hooked up. What did the guide do or say? If the tarpon are on the feed and your are offering a fly that looks like what they are eating and didn't hook up then something is not being done the bait that should have been. Either the action, the depth, the direction or speed. Remember, tarpon feed looking up at the bait so depth is very important. Where was the sun when the tarpon took and where was you fly when they snubbed you? What was the surface of the water doing? That may sound like a strange question but it can sometimes count. Did the poons see you? There was something that you did or didn't do that caused this. You know they were eating so repaint the picture and events in your head to put it together. If you ever have tarpon rejecting you, try to figure out what you are not doing and what you are doing that you should not be doing. If you can put your finger on it then and there you will hook up. I am surprised that your guide didn't help you figure that one out for you.
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Old 12-13-2008, 06:39 PM
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Default Re: To get a tarpon to take a fly

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Originally Posted by RiverGeezer View Post

These tarpon weren't rolling, they were actively feeding, so why only one hit out of scores of casts?
It's that splashy, loopy cast of yours. Plus, you have to get it out past 10' a lot of times Oh Mighty Wordsmith!
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Old 12-13-2008, 10:48 PM
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Default Re: To get a tarpon to take a fly

When you are say tarpon and mangroves in the same breath, I presume you mean lagoon fishing for baby tarpon. I find baby tarpon (all tarpon really) to be hit and miss eaters, but when they are on, they often will take a surface offering such as a small gurgler or better yet a small crease fly. Another fly (?) that can be deadly on baby tarpon is the gummy minnow.

Where were you fishing? My experience with tarpon is primarily in Mexico and Little Cayman with a smattering of casts and hook ups in Belize, the Bahamas and Cuba. Florida tarpon are in another league altogether.

Tight Lines!
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Old 01-05-2009, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: To get a tarpon to take a fly

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Originally Posted by RiverGeezer View Post
If the tarpon are feeding on 3" glass minnows, should the "gurgler" match that length/color, or is that not important?
I have no experience with tarpon, but an adjustment I keep in the back of my mind is that if there is lots of food around (intimating that your offering is getting lost in the feast), match the style and size of the food but throw in a crazy color. Get it noticed. I suspect that's what bonefish41 has in mind when he suggests chartruse.

Just a thought...
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