Fly fishing for tarpon this season was great and I can’t thank everyone enough who joined me and I’m sorry to all those who I missed due to COVID. It was a slow start this year and it seemed like all the fish showed up at once with the great weather we had in May and June. Once we started to begin our days with a water temp of 80 degrees, it was on from there.
Fishing for tarpon this season was a little trickier to get the bite, so down sizing in leader to 40lb helped a ton. The next trick to success is your fly color, depending on the water clarity. The incoming tide typically brings nice clean water from our gulf and is great for seeing our target but they also have a better view of our fly. These fish swim by millions of threadfin herring as they come down the beach and a chartruese and white EP baitfish was hard to turn down when fished correctly. On the outgoing tide, things start to change and the floating grass begins to work it’s way out of the pass along with the water becoming a little dingy. Changing to a darker fly would be acceptable if the visibility still allows you to still see the fish coming. Tarpon bite so much better in dirty turbulent water, so stick it out.
During our tarpon season we experienced a beach season ending west wind that endured for an excess of two weeks forcing us to change our game plan! Anglers that wanted to still tarpon fish went at night or in our river systems where the juvenile’s will hang out before they mature. Tarpon will still be in our area in large numbers and target-able all the way through October! Night trips revolve around the new moon because we want the fish to rely on artificial light sources. When we have a full moon, they have enough light to feed effectively and they will move away or sit in areas where we can’t see them. Snook fishing has been a blast and there is an endless amount in Tampa Bay. Norm Zeigler’s schminnow is hard to beat and easy enough to change out the materials to make your own variation.
Redfish just don’t slow down and it’s simply amazing. The water temperature on the flats is above 90 degrees and they just don’t seem to be affected by it. When there is enough water for them to get under the mangroves to find some shade, that’s where they’ll be. On our big low tides in the afternoon around moon phases, they’ll be eagerly waiting on the edge of the flat for the incoming where they’ll tail til the sun goes down. The trick to finding a really good flat for redfish is to find the one with a large number of wading birds on the big low tides. They give away where the forage is on the flat and a good possibility where the fish are going to push to when the tide allows!