Summertime is tarpon time here in east central Florida and the fishing for the silver kings has been excellent the past month. While we have not seen a big push of large fish inshore, the 5-20 pound variety have been plentiful, happy, and willing to eat both flies and plastic all day long. Giant tarpon have been shadowing bait pods off the beaches and sometimes show up in the ICW channel inshore.
The fly anglers have been catching tarpon on poppers and gurglers early in the morning and then switching to unweighted shrimp and minnow imitations later in the day. 5-8wt rods with floating lines and a 9-11ft leader with a 30lb bite tippet.
For spinning tackle, your normal redfish set-up is all that is needed with a 30-40lb piece of fluoro tied to your favourite lure. We have been having the most success using a 3″ DOA CAL retrieved steadily just below the surface. This technique has produced over 20 bites on some days. The 1/4 oz DOA shrimp has been very effective as well.
Redfish can be found on the same flat as the tarpon. Most shots are at single or double fish with the occasional school passing by. When they show up, the same set-up you are using for the tarpon work for the redfish.
Seatrout action has been very poor this summer, The usual hot action on the 12-20″ fish has been extremely hit or miss for anglers using lures. Lots of blowfish also make it difficult to blind cast plastics. Switch to bucktails or metal if they come a nuisance and you must blind cast.
Mosquito Lagoon has been plagued by a major algae bloom since spring. Visibility in most places is less than a foot. Redfish and drum can still be found tailing but most anglers in the Lagoon are fishing with bait. The Indian River, however, has remained clean and there are still plenty of places to enjoy some excellent sight fishing.
Big schools of ladyfish can be seen roaming the deeper waters and can provide some fun ultralight tackle action. a 3-4wt fly rod or an ultralight spin outfit will be bent in half by some of these hard pulling, high jumping fish. watch for the birds diving and you may find the fish busting beneath them. Circling the schools can be larger fish like tarpon, jack crevalle, and sailfin catfish.
This action will continue until the first cold fronts arrive. last year they came in October so the clock is ticking on the best tarpon fishing and the most variety of fish.
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