It seems that I always have to start my reports with a weather disclaimer, and this one is no different. We had a strong start to our Tarpon season this year only to get de-railed a bit recently. Every few days we’ve had a strong east or northeast wind and that really disrupts the bait and the fish. They typically spring right back, but we need a few days of good weather to really get things going again.
That brings me to the first thing that I want to talk about in the report. Speaking with some of my fellow guides, we’ve all come to notice that there is a group of people that hit us up constantly for information relating to Tarpon fishing. Where are the fish? What did they hit? Where is the bait? So on and so forth.
What they may not realize is that every day that we go after the Tarpon, we’re starting a new puzzle. Sure, we draw on information that we remember from countless days of fishing, but that one particular day is a puzzle of its own. Wind direction, tides, water clarity, bait movement, and plenty of other variables come into play.
Even though we have all of that past experience to draw on, when the wind blows hard from the east, it’s like hitting the reset button. We have to re-pattern the fish and start from scratch.
My advice to people that are wanting to get out and catch some Tarpon is to get out there and pay attention to what the fish and the bait do and what is happening when they do it. What direction is the wind blowing from? What does the water look like? What is the tide doing? It’s more like Trout fishing than you would think. Look for rips or humps that are in the path of the bait and the fish. Those are just like oyster points and creek mouths. They’re ambush points for the Tarpon.
When you go by what we tell you, you’re fishing yesterday’s fish instead of today’s fish. Just be still and observe the fish. They’ll start to tell you their habits and you can apply that knowledge in the future.
If you’re starting with little or no knowledge or experience of Tarpon fishing in Georgia I will offer a few suggestions to help you get started.
- Fish the tides. The main body of fish will typically move closer in towards the inlets as the tide rises, and then follow the outgoing tide back out.
- Watch the birds. Pelicans will tell you where the bait is. Seagulls will tell you where the fish are. Usually the gulls can’t eat an entire pogy, so they rely on fish to chop them up a bit.
- Get well ahead of the fish / birds / bait. When you find a big wad of bait, line up the direction that they are traveling and get well ahead of them. More often than not, you are going to fly your fish before the main mass of bait gets to you. Once you’re surrounded by bait you are playing the lottery and hoping that a Tarpon picks your pogy out of millions that are swimming around you. Your best chance is before they get to you and after they pass.
- Learn the bars and rips. Wherever you are fishing, there are likely going to be a system of sand bars around the inlet. Find a few bars and “rips”. Rips usually form up due to hump on the bottom forcing the water up. Fish will stage on these rips and use them as an ambush point.
- Pay attention to what part of the tide the fish pass over the bars. That will likely be a good benchmark for future trips.
- Chum, but don’t fuel the sharks. I like to chum when the fish are around, but if the sharks are clipping my baits I’ll stop. I rather have 4 healthy baits in the water and no chum.
- Green and clean water is best, but it is more important to fish where the fish are. If I have to fish dirty water to be around the fish, so be it.
Please don’t read this with the tone of a rant, but more with that of a suggestion that is meant to be helpful to you. When I read a report in which the writer rode around looking for the guides and couldn’t get them to speak to him on the radio, I thought it might be time to bring it up. Fishing for guides will only find you guides. Fish for the fish. If you have never fished for Tarpon before and you need help with how to rig for them, please feel free to shoot me an email or message me on Facebook. I’d be more than happy to help you in that respect.
Inshore Fishing Report
The inshore fishing has been pretty decent overall and shows signs of improvement. We’ve been finding plenty of fish, but many of them have been small. Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been seeing more and more keeper fish, and I fully expect that to continue. In September we usually see a major uptick in the inshore fishing and I recall saying many times before towards late September that “it seems like the Trout are everywhere”. I’m looking forward to being able to say that again.
Nearshore Fishing Report
The shark fishing has been really hit and miss and I believe that much of that has to do with the tide stage and where the shrimp boats are fishing. When the tide is high or near high and the shrimp boats are in 20 feet of water or more, it seems that the bite will be red hot. Lower water and shallower depths seem to yield fewer and smaller sharks. Unfortunately, there is no way to know ahead of time where the boats will be, so it’s luck of the draw. If you find yourself catching the 30 and 4o pound sharks and you have no ther options, I suggest doing what I’ve been doing and down size your tackle. I’ve been using what I would describe as “heavy inshore gear” and the Black Nose sharks can be a real blast on that size tackle. If you hook a gorilla with the light tackle, be ready to crank up and get on top of him because you are in deep trouble!
Tarpon fishing has been good, and bad, and good again, and bad again. If we get back into a favorable wind and weather pattern I fully expect the fish to gang back up and do their thing. Like I said above, every day is a new puzzle and there are never any guarantees in Tarpon fishing anyway.
The Jack Crevalle have been out there a bit, but as always are targets of opportunity. They come and go as they please and are nearly impossible to keep track of for more than a few days at a time.
A few bull redfish have been caught but they are not here in full force just yet. I expect them to show up as normal starting next month and staying around through early to mid November. I highly, highly recommend booking early to make sure that you get a prime date.
My Friend, Capt. Manny Perez.
This past weekend the fishing world lost a great man and tournament angler. Manny made the cut to fish the final day of the Galveston event. He had a great day of fishing judging by the 3 fish that were in his livewell totaling 24.07 pounds. Unfortunately, he would not make it to way in that day. He was found in the water by other anglers and his fish were weighed posthumously. Manny was a great room mate when we were away at tournaments. He taught me a lot about fishing the marshes in Louisiana. He was just a good dude. He leaves behind his 8 year old son, Little Manny. My heart is broken. The last thing I ever said to him was in a text. “Bust their ass brother”. That’s exactly what he did. His final weight was representative of his life; 24.07. He lived life to the fullest, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Love you Manny.
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