Catching Tarpon in a Kayak!

By: Eric Henson

I hope everyone is ready because it’s tarpon time!! With it being a warmer winter, I have a feeling that they are going to show up in big numbers early. So hopefully you have already gotten all your bases covered to have a successful tarpon season. But if you haven’t I am going to share some of my knowledge that helps me get these slimy silver kings into my hands. No matter the size of these fish they will get your blood pumping and leave the biggest smile on your face every time!

Juvi Tarpon- These fish can be some of the most fun fish to catch on light tackle. My two favorite ways to target them is with artificial lure and flies. For spinning tackle, I generally use a 3-4000 size reel with a 7 ft. Med.-Heavy Fast Action rod. I spool them with 150 yd. of 20-30 lb. Seaguar braided line accompanied by a 20-30 lb. fluorocarbon leader.  And for fly fishing I like to use a 6-8 wt. 9 ft. rod. A 3-Tand T-Series reel to match the rod with a RIO WF Floating line accompanied by a tapered leader. Length changes depending on where and how I am targeting them but, I still use a 20-30 lb. tippet. For spinning I like to use soft-plastics like the Monster 3X 2 ¼ Ultrasoft or smaller hard baits like the Yo-Zuri 3DS Minnow 70 SP. And for flies, small bait imitations like EP minnow and gurglers work best.

Adult Poons- These fish can and will put every nerve to the test both mind and body.  There is no mistaking when you hook one of these giants!  In a kayak I like to use a 6-8000 size spinning reels with a 8 ft. Heavy Fast Action rod. I spool them with 40-60 lb. Seaguar braided line accompanied by a 60-80 lb. Fluorocarbon leader. I use 2 or 3-X strong hooks with the right size to match your bait.  Fly fishing wise I beef up to 10-12 wt. set up with a WF Floating or slow sinking line. Also, beefing up the leader with a 40-50 lb. tippet. Most of the time I target these fish with different live baits depending on what part of the season it is. And for flies, different type bunny flies seem to work best.

Make sure to please be courteous to your fellow angler out there. And please respect your waters and make sure that your fish swim away healthy so everyone can enjoy our fishery. :) Tight Lines and Tight Knots to all!