With the water level having risen over a foot during the past several weeks, the redfish have plenty of areas to visit that were inaccessible during the summer. Many of the large redfish have moved to the deeper basins for their spawn. When you can find the reds on the flats, however, they have been willing to eat a variety of lures. Much of my time the past couple weeks has been dedicated to chasing tarpon. You can find at least a few every day and some days they are quite plentiful. I have gotten them to eat flies as well as the DOA Baitbuster, holographic shrimp, Terror Eyz, and BFL. There are only a few weeks left to consistently find them in our Lagoons so keep your eyes open and be prepared with the proper tackle.
On September 3rd, I visited one of my favorite tarpon spots in the Indian River and was pleased ton find some large fish rolling. My first bite came on the BFL and the second on a Baitbuster but both fish shook free. Some early morning storms chased me off the water before I was ready to go.
The following day, I returned to the same spot and got the first bite on the BFL just as the sun was rising. A short time later, I jumped two more tarpon over 75 pounds on a sinking Baitbuster. By 9am, they stopped showing so I pulled the boat out and drove to Mosquito Lagoon. I found an area holding some 5-10 pound tarpon in two feet of water. I jumped several on fly, landed 3 on the holographic shrimp and shallow Baitbuster and lost many more.
Last Monday, I had a charter with Curt and Zach. We started off targeting the smaller tarpon in Mosquito Lagoon. As we pulled up to the spot, we encountered a large tarpon swimming on the flat with its tail out of the water. Unfortunately, we could not get close enough to it for a good shot. The smaller tarpon, however, were plentiful and cooperative. Within five minutes, Curt landed one and lost another on the holographic shrimp. The tarpon kept them busy for the next hour or so providing dozens of shots. We also encountered schools and single redfish on the flats as well as some jack crevalle crashing the mullet along the edges.
Tuesday, I told my friend Dave about the excellent tarpon fishing in the Lagoon. When we arrived at the spot, the wind was howling and the tarpon were nowhere in sight. We checked several other places and found two small fish rolling. Both of them ate our holographic shrimp but shook free. The redfish were few and far between but we each caught one on a 4 inch CAL. After a few trout, I decided to try the tarpon spot one more time. As we were moving the shoreline, I spotted a tarpon around 70 pounds swimming towards the boat. I had the smallest rod on board in my hand and did not have time to grab a bigger one. I pitched my CAL in front of the fish and he ate it less than five feet from the boat. In a few seconds, the fish had ripped off nearly 100 yards of my ten pound braid as it raced for deeper water. The hook lodged perfectly in the corner of the tarpon's mouth keeping it from wearing out my 30 pound leader. With the small rod, however, I was unable to put enough pressure on the fish to turn it. Dave snapped some pictures as the fish towed us around and over a half hour later it was over as the hook broke at the bend.
The following day, I had a trip with Bob and John. They wanted to target big tarpon so I took them to the northern part of Mosquito Lagoon in Edgewater. There had been lots of big fish there recently but, on this day, we saw less than 20. Both guys jumped a large fish, however, using a sinking Baitbuster. John's came off quite quickly but Bob's stayed hooked for ten minutes and provided us with some great jumps before it wore through the 60 pound leader.
This Monday, I again encountered a big tarpon swimming near the shore where I was looking for smaller fish. It eagerly ate my holographic shrimp but my small rod was no match for this fish and it quickly came off. The smaller tarpon were crashing minnows and I landed two on fly, two on the tiny Terror Eyz and lost many more. Four redfish ate a gold and glow DOA shrimp and one more took a Baitbuster. I finished up with a few trout for a successful day on the Lagoon.
Tuesday's charter with Parker started off with some tarpon fishing. Unfortunately, he did not hook a tarpon but a redfish grabbed his tiny Terror Eyz. Heavy clouds made sight fishing difficult but Parker did land his biggest redfish ever of 24 and 16 pounds as well as a few trout.
Yesterday, although the weather was perfect, the fishing was a bit slow. I found a single large tarpon swimming south in deep water right on the surface. I followed this fish for a mile before I could get in front of it. As I pulled a gold and green Baitbuster across it's path, the fish charged the bait and several seconds later the 90-100 pound tarpon was ten feet in the air. I got a few more jumps out of it but, within ten minutes, it wore through 80 pound leader. I managed a few more bites out of some smaller tarpon but nothing to compare to the first bite of the day.
With the fall mullet run beginning, the game fish are feeding heavily. Fishing the bait schools can result in a wide variety of fish being caught. When fishing around thick school of mullet, try using a lure that is brightly colored so it stands out from all the other bait in the water.
Capt. Chris Myers
Central Florida Sight Fishing Chartershttp://www.floridafishinglessons.com