Paddle Power in November 2023

If you have caught a few of my articles over the years, you might have picked up a little hint that I love juvenile tarpon fishing in the summers on the lagoons of East Central Florida. This silver king fish in its younger years (0-35lbs is a baby when you max out at 200 pounds) in the Indian, Banana, and Mosquito Lagoons share a special relationship. For reasons we may never truly know the kayak friendly canals and mangrove swamp backwaters of our lagoon waters from Sebastian Inlet to Ponce Inlet team with these juvenile versions of a fish that is coveted as a top prize among anglers throughout its size range. There are very few places where you will find better fishing for the juvenile range of tarpon than Brevard and southern Volusia counties in the summers. Being a sub-tropical to tropical climate ranging fish, this means the tarpon is not very fond of colder waters and can die if the water temperature dips too low for too long. This means that many will seek refuge from the winter chill by pushing farther south in the lagoon system, head to a power plant outflow, or hunker down in a deeper canal and hope. Even if you do find a group of these fish in the cooler months (Dec-March) they tend to be hard to get bites from due to being lethargic from the cold water. So, this makes November that last chance to really have good success in locating and catching this amazing gamefish. The juvenile tarpon can be a bit challenging to catch at times and persistence is often necessary to get the hits you are after. Small baitfish or mullet imitating lures can be productive and are a bit easier to deal with. However, nothing beats a small finger mullet on an appropriate size hook for not just getting the hits but also keeping the fish hooked during the fight. Tarpons are notorious for tossing the lure or hook when jumping and require you to bow or dip your rod, creating slack in the line to keep those hooks planted. Though this flies in the face of a solid fishing rule that you must always keep the line tight when fighting a fish, this is the way! Kayaks tend to excel in these close quarters creepy backwater areas that the tarpon love and will put you in spots where boats have a hard time fishing. Utilize that advantage to have a blast with this prized gamefish.