Springtime Tarpon Fishing

By: Caitlyn Gatrell

Tarpon fishing is nothing short of an adventure. It’s an intense and challenging yet rewarding activity. If you’ve caught tarpon before, then I’m sure you know all about the battles they provide. From their crazy acrobatic jumps, incredible strength, and quick runs, they’re sure to put up a fight! Your back may be hurting, and your arms might be sore, but once you can get your hands on your prized catch, it’ll all be worth it.

The tarpon bite has been on fire in the Ten Thousand Islands area recently, with tons of them migrating through. I was fortunate enough to catch a pretty large one at the end of last month. One that might just even be my newest personal best! A lot of effort, strength, and patience went into this fish, and it’s a story I love to share.

We started our day off by pulling up to one of our tarpon spots, where we saw plenty rolling all around us. The sizes can range at times at our spots, but we have definitely seen some larger ones in the three-digit range. We started our morning off with artificial lures, but they didn’t seem too interested. With a quick trip back to our local bait spot, we stocked up on some mullet and made our way back to the flat. There they were, still lurking the flats in the search for some tasty treats.

It wasn’t long after throwing my mullet out when I got hit. The thump was quick and sudden, followed by an intense drag scream and then that first jump. Now this was quite the feisty fish, as my tarpon jumped numerous times, having lunged itself out of the water ten plus times. It was highly energetic indeed, as every time it got close to the boat it would give a huge kick and swim far out, followed by a jump of course. It took me some time to get it close to the boat, and I have to say my arm was pretty sore. But with consistency, carefulness, and patience, I was able to get it close to the boat.

Being able to lay your hands on a large tarpon and be face-to-face with it is truly remarkable. It’s amazing to see these large creatures up close and admire their beauty. From their shiny scales to their tough build, they’re an overall strong and awesome saltwater gamefish. As a matter of fact, it’s probably my favorite species to catch, and I’m sure plenty of anglers can agree!