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Captain's Corner

What's hot: Redfish are becoming easier targets now that tarpon are showing up in bigger numbers. With people tarpon fishing, reds have settled down and are feeding aggressively on the incoming tides. I find the fish in the morning and follow them until they settle down and get comfortable with my presence. Once my clients have had their fun with the reds, I switch to tarpon, as the same baits work for both.

By ROB GORTA, Times Correspondant
Published May 17, 2007


What's hot: Redfish are becoming easier targets now that tarpon are showing up in bigger numbers. With people tarpon fishing, reds have settled down and are feeding aggressively on the incoming tides. I find the fish in the morning and follow them until they settle down and get comfortable with my presence. Once my clients have had their fun with the reds, I switch to tarpon, as the same baits work for both.

Tactics: Once the sun gets high and the visibility is at its best, I anchor on a beach and wait for a pod of tarpon to come through. Tarpon season is in its early stages, so I look for pods traveling from the north. I rig an anchor with a buoy and a short anchor line so I can let it go once a school is spotted. I push-pole the boat so that I can cast downwind and land the baits in front of the fish. If I see a large silver flash, I know the bait was picked up by a fish. If the pod gets past me, I go back to my anchor buoy and do it all again. It does no good to chase a school of fish with the boat in gear. Tarpon are very boat wary and will not bite with a running motor chasing them down.

Tackle: The best invention for tarpon fishing has been braided line. I can use 80-pound test (which is the size of 14-pound test) on my heavy gear and still cast half-dollar crabs at the fish. I like to get the fish as quickly as possible so it is not totally exhausted when released. The biggest mistake I see is people using 20-pound test around bridges. The current, depth and the size of the fish just makes it too difficult to land a 100-pound fish.