Skinny Water Report By Derick Burgos & Natalie Manrique

These upcoming months tend to be some of the skinny water angler’s most favorite time of year, because tarpon are plentiful! We, as kayakers, love to target the juveniles that are rolling in our shallow waters, canals and streams. Florida’s juvenile silver kings tend to migrate in our skinny waters looking for the darker water that contains the bait they love to feed on.  Juvenile tarpon have always been a favorite of ours to target by kayak, because jumping them and watching them sky rocket in the air in a tight canal is bar none one of the most incredible feelings in the world!

Making sure you keep them tight and away from the mangroves is very important when wrangling a tarpon up to your kayak. When you see them roll, always try to throw around a five-foot radius of where you see them surface. We do this because, if that one doesn’t hit your lure, the one next to it will. Use a top water lure at first because, when they roll, they are considered “happy,” and are also normally feeding. Your chances of a fantastic topwater strike will be very high! If you are a fly fisherman, small gurglers will do the trick. And, for our live bait friends, small bait fish will happily entice a tarpon with its squirming. Once they strike, they will give you an incredible aerial show, especially from a kayak’s perspective.

Make sure to always bow to the king. This means, every time the fish breaches, be sure to point the tip of your rod down so the fish will not throw your hook or break your line. This term has been commonly used by tarpon anglers for a quite some time. So, get ready, because juvenile tarpon will definitely tumble, twist, cartwheel and jump insanely!

We love to target them, because we feel they give you more action than some of the larger tarpon who can tire faster. Make sure that your rod tip is ready to be lowered over and over again until your fish eventually is no longer green. Remember, these fights can be very challenging and can sometimes last a long time, so line management is very important. Make sure your fish does not run into the mangroves or oyster bars where your leader can fray.  Definitely, be prepared to hang on and enjoy the ride! Use these tips and you will definitely have a fantastic time watching the acrobatics and aerial spectaculars of the juvenile tarpon’s agilities and speed. Good vibes and tight lines always!