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Tarpon Fishing From Islamorada, Florida

Tarpon fishing in the keys… My fishing buddy Bob Mckee and I fished out of Islamorada from the 16th to the 30th of May. Fishing for the first week with Captain George Woods who is a real character and for the second week with a British guide Dave Plummer.

Dave is a great guy and we and some good nights out as well as some good days fishing!!

Tarpon Fishing Out on the “Hump”

We also had a day out on the “hump” offshore fishing aboard Snap Shot skippered by George Campbell. The fishing was top drawer; we hooked fish after fish…. Hooking loads of big Tarpon and having some real strength-sapping fights. Many last over an hour and the longest just over an hour and a half. You don’t need too many of them in a day!!

tarpon fishing

A large Tarpon

Lots of Big Fish!

In all we landed too many Tarpons to count with a rough average weight of 140lb, several fish over 160lb and the largest being my fish, which was 185lb. The majority of the fish fell to crab, but several to Mullet.

large tarpon

The largest Tarpon of the day

And Not Just Tarpon…

In addition to the Tarpon, we had around 6 species of shark (Spinners, Lemon, Nurse, Black Tip, etc.) to 200lb and a nice ray at around 120lb. Also some Jack Crevalle and Barracuda up to 20lb which was great fun on light gear.

On the “hump,” we took several nice Amberjacks the largest being Bob’s fish at 70lb along with some small Dolphin.

All in all a cracking trip, we had some luck with the weather, managing to dodge most of the thunderstorms which were around at the time. Only cutting one or two trips out short.

The food was great and the beer was plentiful. We will be back soon to have some more great sport with those strong tarpons!!

What is the best bait for tarpon fishing?

Generally, the tarpon is attracted to smaller fish. Live bait fish are obviously the best but they can be difficult to keep alive in the hot conditions where tarpon is usually caught. Another option is to use artificial lures that resemble smaller bait fish. Live crabs, shrimp, and mullet are also good options.

Of the many skills that are required to be a successful tarpon fisherman, one of the most important is the ability to target and land tarpon with artificial lures. Many say that hard-bodied lures like twitchbaits, wakebaits and topwaters can be more effective for a tarpon’s bony mouth.

More and more so these days though, fishermen are turning to soft-body plastic lures that can entice the silver king to bite. Generally, all tarpon fishing requires patience and skill. It can be a highly frustrating endeavor as hookup to landing ratios are often in the single digits! 

What is the best bait for tarpon at night?

The night isn’t much different from the day, although you will have more chance with live baits which are also easier to keep alive at night.

What is the best time to fish for Tarpon?

The best time to fish for Tarpon is thought to be late morning or early afternoon. If you are fishing for migratory tarpon in the Florida keys then it is better when the water is around 23 degrees celsius or above, approximately 75 Fahrenheit. These temperatures can usually occur from late March through to early April.

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