Each year tarpon season is challenging and rewarding. So far this season, a dozen of my anglers have caught their first-ever tarpon…most had never even seen a tarpon before. Exciting for the angler and rewarding for me!
One of my challenges during tarpon season is having spare time to take care of phone calls, emails and this year – my blog. I’m way behind getting current information to you but I’ve been on the water every day – usually picking my anglers up by 5:30-6:00am so we can get to the tarpon grounds just before first light. There’s usually a good bite starting early and I want my customers to have prime opportunities for hookups. In the afternoon, after dropping off my customers, I get home, wash the boat, get the trolling motor batteries (6 of them) on charge, take care of any boat maintenance, and drag myself upstairs where I look forward to a refreshing shower before dinner. Joyce usually has a snack/appetizer of some kind ready for me to munch on while she prepares dinner. After dinner, I go downstairs to check the battery chargers to make sure they’ll be charging all night and get tackle ready for the next day. Then it’s off to bed dreaming about tarpon.
The fishing with the 10 & 2 Magazine contest winner, Jeff Minderlein and his buddy Jason, went well even though we didn’t have a hookup. Saw lots of fish – just no eaters. with Kerry Gubits from Colorado – he’s fished all over the world but never in Florida! We had lots of shots at fish but none willing to eat feathers. The next day was highlighted by Owen Chariton – also from Colorado. While we had some fly casting lessons early in the day, Owen just wanted to catch a tarpon. We switched to spinning gear with live crabs. He jumped 5 tarpon and landed the 5th one. His first-ever tarpon!
Actually even watched tarpon swim around the crabs, not eating. You think, where do you go from where when the fish aren’t eating live bait. Chicken feathers aren’t going to be that appetizing to them. The tarpon were still acting “snooty” – wouldn’t take a fly. Jon Cole was going to travel from the east coast of Florida for two days of fishing tarpon after Bill Shultz. I called him and suggested we postpone the tarpon trip as the fish just weren’t acting normal…they weren’t eating…even the live bait guides were having trouble hooking up. The numbers of tarpon were diminishing.