March 14th – 19th was a week of nonstop fishing charters. This weeks fishing charters covered a little bit of everything. Most of the trips began working huge schools of ladyfish and trout. This is fun action packed fishing as the fish are chasing bait to the surface of the water leaping out of the water entirely to eat bait. While the fish are pushing bait to the top pelicans are diving down from above to also eat the bait, and we are in the middle of it all steadily catching fish after fish. A few of the fishing charters were spent fishing the mangroves with live bait. We caught a lot of snook, redfish, and mangrove snapper to take home for dinner.
On Saturday’s fishing charter the goal was BIG fish. We started catching a bunch of ladyfish for bait, then went to a nice deep cut between two sand bars. I cut ladyfish into large chunks and set them out in the deeper water. It wasn’t long before a shark was on. We caught shark after shark with the highlight being a 5′ long spinner shark that jumped out of the water and performed some airborne acrobatics for my clients.
Sunday was a two boat fishing charter that I arranged for 6 people, and it was all about the Tarpon! We targeted them inshore in shallow water using cut bait. The morning started slow with an hour of looking for fish rolling. Once we found them the action picked up with the other boat hooking up and fighting a tarpon for about 15 minutes before breaking off after multiple jumps.
After breaking off, the second boat was idling back to the previous spot and a few tarpon popped up next to their boat. A well placed threadfin lead to another hook up, ending with a quick jump and pulled hook. We then relocated and found a few more scattered tarpon rolling. We let the baits sit and out of nowhere one of the rods started screaming. After a huge first run from a giant tarpon we got 3 jumps approximately 100 yards out. This tarpon was a monster, not even being able to completely leave the water with its jumps, only getting about halfway out. While clearing the other fishing lines one became rapped around the line with the fish on it. The reel was opened into free spool and the rod was put in a rod holder to worry about later. First we had to chase down this tarpon. This tarpon refused to be caught. After another jump now even farther from the boat, I heard a snap and the reel was spooled. This tarpon took 200 yards of line wishing a few minutes and it wasn’t slowing down.
Feeling defeated we began to organize everything after the mayhem. Out of nowhere the rod that was rapped around the line started screaming. The line from the original rod caught on a knot from the rapped line and we were now fighting the same tarpon on a different rod. This is the first time I’ve ever seen this. You really have no idea of that to expect with these amazing fish. The second fight lasted a few more minutes before the line slipped off of the second line and was gone. We set up again and had another big run but pulled the hook. For early season tarpon fishing in March I was very happy with the results and can’t wait for the rest of the season.
As I type this today I’m enjoying a day off, as a big cold front blows in with wind and rain. I spend the day making some boat repairs, checking the progress of the new boat, and going to the tackle shop. There are still openings for tarpon season, don’t wait book now to catch this fish of a lifetime.