When I hear MARCH, I think of big tarpon in Miami. We target tarpon year round in South Florida, but this month is outstanding, averaging double digit shots a night. The tarpon we have been catching the past few weeks average from 50 to 150 pounds. March is great time to get on a stellar tarpon bite because cold fronts aren’t as consistent as the past two months. This allows time for the bay waters to warm a few degrees, which turns the bite on. I have been fishing Miami for many years and have noticed the best tarpon bite seems to be when water temps range from 71 to 76 degrees. When water temps fall below 70 degrees, tarpon are more lethargic and don’t seem to feed as aggressively. The best places to search for tarpon this month are along all the oceanside beaches, ocean inlets and inland bridges. When the sun is up, the best chance for a bite is to go look for the migratory schools that are swimming their way south, along the beaches from Haulover Inlet to Key Biscayne. My plan of attack when targeting tarpon this month is to cruise about a quarter mile offshore of the beach and search for rolling fish. I always watch my sonar to see if I mark any passing schools of fish.
Now, let’s talk about my tackle choice for catching and releasing the beautiful silver king. I like spinning outfits over conventional due to the fact I can make casts if need be when I see a fish roll or bust the water away from the boat. The spinning setups I use day in and day out are Penn Spinfisher 7500s spooled with 50 lb braid and a 7 foot, 15 to 30lb class rod, but any spinning setup in that size is perfect. For leader, I prefer fluorocarbon ranging from 40 to 80lb, depending on water clarity and aggressiveness of fish. In March, I like to carry a variety of different live baits such as crabs, big shrimp and try to always have a dozen or so live mullet in the livewell. For live shrimp and crabs, there are many local bait shops that have perfect tarpon size baits. The biggest key to chasing tarpon is you never know what the fish are feeding on that day and it’s critical to be ready for everything. Tarpon are extremely temperamental and their appetite can change from day to day, depending on conditions and what species of bait shows up in the bay that day. To be successful, you have to be prepared for all circumstances. Everyone be safe out there and enjoy the pristine inshore fishing of Miami and Biscayne Bay.
CAPT. RYAN RASBERRY
Tell N’ Tails Charters