When we are talking about Florida, one of the most interesting forms of fishing there is the Tampa tarpon fishing. The Tarpons are huge fishes that often migrate to the Tampa Bay every year and form large groups which people can see when they look in the water or when the fishes come to the surface of the water to inhale air. The size of Tarpon often range from about 30Ibs to more than 200Ibs and the average size of Tarpon that was caught on a Tarpon fishing charter in the summer is about 100Ibs. One of the most well-known attributes of tarpons is their drag screaming runs and their famous high-flying leaps in the air. www.travelrows.com
Tarpons are also commonly referred to as the Silver King and they are traveling fishes as they can be seen migrating from the lower keys up the coast all the way over to the state of Texas in just one year. During their period of migration, the tarpons often just run off the beaches and stop for a while in the Tampa Bay area sometime around May, June, and July. The Tarpon season can often last for about 8 months usually from around April to August. This is why the best time for Tarpon fishing is during the summer or late spring. However, this does not necessarily mean that Tarpons cannot be caught at any other period of time, before or after these months as there might be some tarpon fishes that will decide to stay behind at Tampa bay. So this means that you might be able to catch a Tarpon fish sometime in October if you look for them in the right place.
The Tampa bay provides these fishes with incredible characteristics that make them more comfortable. These qualities include the wrecks and reefs that can be found all around the center of the bay to the four main river systems (Little Manatee River, Palm River, Alafia River, and Hillsborough River) that feed into the Tampa Bay. All these amazing qualities make the Tampa Bay an amazing habitat for tarpon fishes and any other species of fishes that can be found in the bay. Tampa Bay is an incredible place to visit for both fishing and several other activities. All of these amazing qualities make this bay one of the best Tarpon fishing spots in Florida.
Even though the range of the Tarpon fishes on this bay is from 50Ibs to 200Ibs, most of the Tarpons that are on the heavier end of this range often have sizes that are more than 200Ibs. These means that the Tarpon fishes in this bay are some of the biggest in the entire world.
The Tarpon fishes that come from the south often get to the Tampa bay sometime around May, and they flood the bay and beaches by the thousands. At this particular period of time, a lot of local anglers will start sight fishing and fly fishing these fishes on the flats. And when the anglers are looking for the best tarpon fishing experience, they go the Tampa bay during the summer. If you are looking for Tarpon fishes sometime around November, you will have to go back to rivers and back bays.
How to catch Tarpon fish in Tampa Bay?
There are many techniques that can be used for catching Tarpons in Tampa bay. Some of these techniques include baitcasting, spinning, fly fishing and drifting.
It is recommended by anglers that you use a test line of 15 Ibs on spinning and casting gear. You should also pick fly rods that are between 10 to 12 weights with a minimum for 16 Ibs tippet. Also, you should make sure that you use heavy monofilaments leader or tippet to prevent the Tarpons from biting through the line.
When choosing baits for tarpons, you can choose dead baits like Mullet or small fishes and drifting live crab in the inlets. All these can be effective in catching a tarpon. There are many types of lures that you can use for Tarpon fishing and they include surface plugs, swimming plugs, and jerk plugs as well as a variety of other lures.
If you are fly fishing, it is mainly recommended that you use flies that are about 3 to 5 inch. And then you can add bucktail streamers or scissor-action feather streamers. When you are trying to catch a tarpon, you can decide to use a school of mullets as bait and cast a 7 – 9 inches white fly with dark stripes.
Tampa Bay fishing charters
Tarpons are one of the most stubborn fishes you can find out there, which is one of the reasons they are commonly referred to as the Silver King. Be rest assured that catching a tarpon will be a memorable experience for you. However, if you are still new to the bay, it is best that you hire a local guide to improve your odds of actually catching a Tarpon. This is because many of these guides will have developed their own unique method of catching Tarpons after years of fishing on the Tampa Bay.
If you are looking to book a charter at Tampa bay for a Tarpon fishing expedition, you can visit neighboring towns like Sarasota, Tampa, Bradenton, St. Petersburg and Clearwater. Generally, the average price of charters that are to be used only for tarpon fishing is around $500 to $800 for a half-day trip. But if you are interested in a full day of tarpon fishing, the price ranges from $700 to over $1,000.
The average number of hookups on a Tarpon fishing trip is often between 2 to 7 but some anglers may decide to make it as much as 20 on a full day trip if the season is in their favor. However, this not necessarily mean that all 20 tarpons will go home with the angler as there will be some that will break through in the struggle. You will find that it is even possible to struggle with the same Tarpon for about 30 minutes. But it is best that you keep the struggle as short as possible to avoid harming the fish.
It is very important to know that Tarpon fishing in the state of Florida is catch-and-release only. But if you are interested in keeping the fish you caught, you will need to buy a special tag (the price is $50 but this can change).