Before you read to far, this is going to be another blog about Tarpon. So if catching very large, aggressive, powerful, acrobatic fish on light tackle isn’t your thing, then go ahead and click out now 😉 Last year, I was amazed at just how good the Tarpon bite was in Ormond Beach. I am happy to say that this year has been even better! Not just a little better either, a lot better. In fact, it almost seems that I can’t get away from them. Everywhere I go in Ormond and Daytona, there they are. I have seen fish that are pushing the 75-100lb mark but most of the fish are an estimated 15-40lbs. Schools are ranging in size from a few scattered fish to many, many hundreds.
Up in the creeks the Tarpons main forage seems to be large mullet and glass minnows. Out in the ICW their diet is probably much more diverse. The Shrimp run is happening in Daytona Beach and I know Tarpon like to eat Shrimp. There are also loads of Menhaden and Mullet out there getting munched by these hungry beasts. For natural baits, I typically free line or put them under a cork. I always use circle hooks with live bait to cut down on gut hooking. Hard plastic MirrOlures like the Mirrodine XL and the Catch 2000 also work very well. Have confidence in your lure selection and vary the speed and style of your retrieve until you find what works best. My favorite and probably most challenging way to take a Tarpon is on the fly. I will write a separate blog on this subject at a later date.
Always make sure to revive your worn out Tarpon by holding it by its bottom jaw (like above picture) and slowly trolling the boat forward allowing water to flow into the fishes mouth and out its gills. Let the fish come up and take in air as well. If the fish is over 15 pounds or so, I typically take 1-5 minutes to revive it. It will start to buck and shack itself loose from a semi light grip. As you troll along you will feel its tongue kind of licking the fingers that you have in its mouth. Watch around the boat after you release your fish, they usually come to the surface once or twice to gulp air to get extra oxygen.
Capt Eric Greenstein