The Secrets Of Saltwater Flats Fishing

Tarpon fishing is often done by sight.  I like to drift my boat along the flats on the gulf side of the Florida Keys.  You will find many Tarpon in water that is three to five feet deep.  I generally fish for another species while I scan the water for Tarpon, keeping my Tarpon rod ready for such an occurrence.

Tarpon like to feed off the surface of the water, often chasing baitfish to the top and gorging on them.  You can often see the tail of the Tarpon break the surface as they feed.  This is when you grab the Tarpon rod.

For bait you have several selections.  If you can get a large live shrimp that is the best bait in my opinion.  Live crabs and small fish like pinfish are the next best bait.  Cut mullet or freshly cut fish can also be used successfully.

When casting to a fish the key is not to land the bait directly under its nose, this will spook the fish.  You want to put you bait on the hook with no weight and keep the rig as natural as possible.  Cast it beyond the position of the fish and allow the current to move it in his direction.  When the Tarpon inhales the bait you will need to set your hook fast. As we discussed before Tarpon are a very wary fish and will spit bait out the instant they detect anything that is not natural.

At this point the fight is on and it will be a very tough fight.  Tarpon make a long initial run. It is important you set your drag correctly. You need the drag to be loose enough to allow the Tarpon to strip off large amounts of line; you also though want it tight enough to force the fish to expend energy as it strips the line off.

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Daniel Eggertsen
Dan Eggertsen is a fellow saltwater fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on saltwater fishing since 2004.

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