Tarpon season is in full swing here in Southwest Florida, and we are quickly reminded why it is a love hate relationship. This brief glimpse into tarpon season starts Sunday morning prior to first light. Pull up to the bridge alone and in the dark, with the wind and current working against each other making the perfect combination for some theatrical boat maneuvering.
The bottom reader lights up with neon green, time to align the boat and set up a drift through the pilings. As the boat drifts, I load the cast net on my shoulder and move to the bow. I begin to sway back and forth, then throw the net using the momentum, it quickly sinks to the bottom. I move back to the console and reverse out quickly while retrieving the cast net. I got lucky, the live well was filled, time to fish.
As the sun rises, I make my run around the lighthouse and up the beaches of Sanibel. I get to an area about twenty feet deep and begin to look. Within minutes, 50-70 tarpon are at the front of the boat rolling halfway out of the water, with hundreds of others in the area.
Make a long cast placing a threadfin right on the nose of a full grown tarpon. The line comes tight, rod begins to bend, drags starts to scream…. shark. This continues throughout the morning as the picky tarpon were not interested in threadfins today.
That afternoon was spent finding, bartering for, and later picking up a bucket full of crabs. The excitement for the next morning begins to build. Again, arrive at the bridge in the dark and go through the morning bait ritual. Getting lucky for the second day in a row, the live well was filled in one throw.
Now with a well full of crabs and threadfins, I round the lighthouse with an all new confidence. I arrive at the same area as the day before and there is not a tarpon for miles. Spend the next few hours searching shallow and deep for any sign of life, nothing, they are gone.
Tomorrow we will go back, armed with crabs and threadfins, and if they are back, one jump is all it will take to be madly in love again. This love hate relationship will continue throughout the month keeping us constantly wanting more. Book your trip today to come experience tarpon season first hand.