The Beginning of Spring

By: Capt. Greg Poland

In my opinion, this is the best time of the year to be on the water in the Florida Keys and I look forward to the migration of the sliver kings all year long and finally it is Tarpon Season! As the saying goes, there are plenty of fish in the sea, but from the moment I first had a tarpon attached to my line and watched it summersault out of the water and almost yank me overboard, I have had love affair with them ever since. I like to fish for tarpon any way possible and they are a species that every angler from the flyrodder to the bait angler can have fun with. When the conditions are right, there is no better fishing than sight casting to early morning rollers in the backcountry either with a 12wt flared or a spin rod with a Hogy lure swim bait.  I creep up slowly on them with the trolling motor then drift while casting.

If sight casting is not your thing, load up your live well with pilchards or mullet and anchor up at a bridge and put a bait out on a cork as well as one on the bottom. Don’t be surprised if you catch a nice snapper for dinner with that pilchard on the bottom. We will get into tarpon a bit more on next month’s article, but I wanted to talk about the patch reef fishing here in the Florida Keys.

We have been having good success with the snappers lately out on the deeper patches in the 40-60ft range or on the edge of the reef. Above you will see a mutton snapper we have landed by using a 30lb fluorocarbon leader and a pilchard fished right on the bottom. This is the time of year that I can get my Contender Bay Boat out to the deeper patches almost any day so now we have the opportunity to catch much more for the dinner table!

— Contact Capt. Greg at 305.393.3327 or email at