It’s been an amazing year. We’ve had a few years of dealing with weather or water issues that have made the fishing difficult but this year we’ve had smooth sailing and the fishing has been incredible. This Tarpon season has been no exception.
Tarpon Fishing Report for St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island
The Tarpon fishing has been excellent this year and although we’ve had a couple of Nor’easters come through and change it up a bit here and there, we’ve been able to maintain a solid fix on the fish.
One of these weather systems came through right before we were scheduled to film a TV show with Fox Sports Outdoors. It did move the fish but we were able to find them again and get a great TV show out of it. We managed to fly some fish and get some to the boat and give a realistic representation of what Tarpon fishing in Georgia is like. Once we get word of the air date we’ll be sure to let you know.
How do we find the Tarpon?
I’ve gotten more messages and phone calls about how to find Tarpon over the last few weeks than I’ve ever had. My suggestion is to find the bait. Find where the pogies are and watch them for a little while. Not all of them will have fish in them but I promise you they are the key to the whole shooting match.
The second piece of the puzzle is to find choke points. Sandbars, sloughs, rips, etc. where the bait gets funneled into tighter areas that make them easier for the Tarpon to eat… that’s where you want to focus. So now if you have bait, and you have a choke point that the bait will pass through, the next thing to look for is fish.
There are finer points like water clarity, tide phase, etc. but if you have bait, a choke point, and you are seeing fish, you’re in the right place. Pay attention to where the fish come through. You’ll notice that some fish move fast while others seem to be hanging out and waiting for bait. The slower fish are the ones to watch. They aren’t just blasting through and following the bait. They’re WAITING for the bait and they’re probably sitting on top of some kind of terrain feature that makes it easier for them to ambush bait.
I’ll finish this portion with a disclaimer. You have to put your time in on the water. It takes a long time to learn what these fish do. You should be able to find a spot or two and build your knowledge each season. It takes years. That’s what sets these fish apart from Sharks or other easy targets.
Bull Redfish are starting to fire off!
We’ve been doing a little bit of “combination fishing” and putting some baits on the bottom while we’re Tarpon fishing. The Bull Reds are out there and while you won’t catch them in every spot you go to just yet, they are out there for the taking.
This will only get better as we push closer to October. While a good day right now is 10 or so Bull Reds, by mid October we’ll be gunning for 25 or more.
I think Bull Reds are nature’s way of detoxing us from our late Summer Tarpon addiction.
Inshore fishing is still very good!
We started this year on fire targeting Trout, Redfish, and Flounder on our inshore fishing trips. It has stayed very consistent throughout the year although the size of the fish has varied. We are starting to see some very nice fish again and history tells us that the next 3 to 4 months will be the best of the year.
So we went to Texas…
When you’re an experienced mariner, a fireman, and an EMT and you see people stranded in a flood, everything in your DNA says you have to go help. We loaded up Capt. Tim’s little john boat and some first aid supplies and headed towards Houston.
I met up with my friends from my Elite Series days, Jamie Hough and Todd McKeller, and we spent a few days rescuing people from the areas of Beaumont and Orange, Texas. It was a sad sight to see but an honor to lend a hand to these folks in their darkest hour.
We’ve experienced an outpouring of support and gratitude and while we sincerely appreciate, we really hope that people don’t forget the folks out in Texas over the coming months and years as they put their lives back together.
Several people have asked if they could send us money to help with the cost of the trip. Fortunately, a few close friends pitched in and most of our expenses were covered and we were even able to help some evacuees by putting some cash in their pockets to help out while they have to sit in shelters.
We just hope that we have a busy and productive Bull Red season. We have plenty of days open so make sure you give us a call and come see us.
Capt. TJ Cheek