A Step Above a Others

July 19, 2016 - garden totes

Fly fishing for summer tarpon from a singular perspective.

Story by Mike Cosentino, Photos by Cavin Brothers

Originally Published Jun 2011.

Amid a emerald shoals, Cosentino unfurls a expel to heedful tarpon, while anglers in stretch hunt for fish.

Are there any Gulf Coast fly fishers out there who wish to suffer some Keys-style steer fishing for tarpon yet withdrawal home? It’s easier than we think. Just squeeze your step-ladder and conduct for a bank outward your nearest pass.

While I’d seen tarpon on a transparent bank flats of a pass shoals for years, I’d never taken a time to figure out how to aim them, opting to fish a schools migrating down a coast. Several years ago, however, we motionless it was time to recompense my impost and to figure out how to aim these bank H2O fish.

I began my hunt by pushpoling a shoals. And while we could find a fish, their cruising speed valid too quick for interception. we spent substantial time examination their routes as they traversed a shallows. And either a bar point, tray or dropoff, we found several places during that a good commission of a fish seemed to float within casting range.

My subsequent pierce was to anchor on these spots and wait for a fish to come to me. And while they did, in all yet a calmest conditions a carcass slap of my flats motorboat kept them customarily outward of fly-casting range. Amidst my ascent disappointment we remembered saying some fly fishermen steer fishing for mangrove-cruising snook from step-ladders in Charlotte Harbor many years back. Ah-ha!
The subsequent day we was back, with ladder. My object mangle underneath a Bimini was interrupted by a furious howl from my crony Zeke. He had a 100-plus bruise tarpon tail-walking divided from him.

From Captiva Pass to Anna Maria Island, there are shoals outward a passes built adult by a lessen waves sedimentation and by a blockage of a southerly deposit of eroded coastal sand. While a tarpon quit adult and down a coast, they also pierce into and out of a bays. And yet some use a channels, many use a shoals as their channel track to and from a bays. The shoals are where we’re headed.

The best proceed to safeguard unchanging movement is to spend some time looking for those spots that seem to flue a tarpon into casting range. Surveying a bank during impassioned low waves is useful for locating impending spots such as bar points, dropoffs and finger channels, all of which, during times, seem to combine a fish. It’s estimable of discuss that any summer a shoals, and my spots, change considerably. Even so, a tarpon will be found nearby a same form of topography as in years past, so it pays to note a conditions prevalent where we locate a fish.

Here’s how we set up. we open my ladder on a brazen rug of my motorboat and mount it adult into a water, a abyss of that is about 4 feet. we afterwards anchor a vessel a integrate casts away, hopefully such that it will pull coming fish toward, not away, from me. we use a garden core collapsible grass and root bag as a stripping basket, into that we put my rod, Crocs (easy on a feet), and dry receptacle bag filled with camera, phone, snacks and other needs. we afterwards wade to my ladder, secure my things, and start looking. we tie a basket to my waist; a fish might proceed from any instruction and we have to be means to spin and cast. we use an aluminum Werner 10-foot ladder that has a height during 8 feet. This is utterly quick and gentle and a height creates it easy to spin and expel when necessary.

Surely 100-foot casts are nice, yet a many critical thing is to lead a fish by a good 15 feet or so. They have extensive eyesight, and they’re unequivocally scary in a shallows, so alighting closer than that customarily sends them quick away. You contingency also recompense for current, that can be utterly clever during times. Note that when fish are relocating during we with a current, even a 2-foot frame is customarily going to pierce a fly 6 inches or so. As a fly lands we contingency frame as quick as we can to explain any movement during all to a fly.

Do what you’re gentle with, yet we use customarily a floating line, regardless of conditions. Inevitably they infrequently zig when we guessed zag. we can collect adult and recast a floating line immediately and feel this advantage outweighs any other considerations.

For fish over 60 pounds or so, that is roughly all of them, I’m headed for a vessel once they’re on a reel. Not that we couldn’t land a large one from a ladder; I’m customarily wavering to possibility that tarpon- shark assembly function during my feet.

I’ve found it to be both useful and fun to buddy-up for this game. Not customarily can we assistance any other mark fish, it’s good to have someone move a vessel to we amidst a post hookup chaos. Just place your ladders detached such that we can roughly expel to a median between them.

It’s really tough to mark a tarpon before about 10 a.m. due to a angle of a sun. Similarly, they’re tough to mark after 4 p.m. Most days, 10 a.m. until noon is best since a object is adult and a clouds are not. Midday can be great—just be studious and fish during a breaks in a clouds. And equivocate those afternoon thunderstorms, obviously!

My favorite waves is none. The tarpon seem to ramble some-more during a tardy H2O and we don’t have to quarrel a stream to work a fly. Around a new and full moons, we like a final of a incoming compartment a lessen gets moving; this customarily occurs during midday. Like other fishing, though, a best time to go is when we can.

Tarpon coming with a fly in position.

One of a many poignant advantages of a ladder is a comfort it provides. we watch a guys around me being tossed about their skiffs as a sea zephyr gets kicking and know they’re miserable since it used to be me. we customarily kind of grin as we consternation because they make it so tough on themselves and their clients. Plus, I’ve held many fish from a comfort and fortitude of my ladder prolonged after a sea zephyr swept waves have chased a others away.

While it’s elementary to tag a ladder or dual to a poling height of a skiff, a good choice is a pontoon boat. Not customarily do they have copiousness of room for equipment, it creates for a untrustworthy and comfy place to take a break—not to discuss a combined advantage that other fishermen would expected never think we were fly fishing for tarpon!

Speaking of other fishermen, there are copiousness of fish and there is copiousness of room. So relax, people. Be nice. You’ll have some-more fun. And don’t worry about a Jet Ski that customarily ran over those fish. More will come by soon. And distinct other areas, these fish don’t seem as worried by a traffic. Okay, yes, a guys in a building boats chasing them around a bank are spooking them, yet a disappointment of never hooking one helps them leave on their own. No need to tell them how stupid they are.

Finally, a suspicion or dual about fly selection. we now trust choice of fly truly doesn’t matter. If they’re eating, they’ll eat it. If they’re not, they won’t. So use one we trust in and hang with it. When we tie a fly on it stays on until it catches a fish or gets damaged off by one. That said, we tie mostly Deceiver-type patterns of any tone with bucktail and feathers on 3/0 Tiemco 600SP hooks. we snell them to 60-pound mono punch tippet early in a deteriorate when a H2O is clear. As a summer rains dim a H2O we go adult to 80-pound. we test-swim a snelled flies—they contingency float ideally or we retie them.

The immeasurable infancy of a fish we see won’t eat. It doesn’t meant we or your fly is wrong. Be studious and keep trying. When we do get one it will be a many noted fish of your life. Good fitness and have fun!


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