Everette and Sherry Howell, from Nashville, TN, tarpon fished with me on Sunday and Monday. They had good action on Sunday, jumping 4 tarpon on pinfish and live crabs and fighting one for almost an hour before it wore through the 80-pound fluorocarbon leader. Tarpon were plentiful and moving fast, but by setting up in their travel lane and keeping baits in the water we were successful. We also spent some time in shallow water that day where Everette had numerous shots at tarpon with a fly. Conditions weren't as good on Monday as west winds increased and sea conditions deteriorated, but we did jump 1 tarpon on a live crab that day.
A front stalled over north Florida for most of the week and kept the wind in a westerly direction. The westerly flow also increases rain chances, which makes the coastal gulf rougher. The wind finally switched back to the east on Friday evening allowing us to get into the coastal gulf to tarpon fish on Saturday morning. Despite lots of rain and west winds, conditions were good in shallow water. Tarpon schools were plentiful and moving in both directions, but the happy ones were all singles and doubles. We had lots of shots at tarpon with a fly, several follows and landed a 60 to 70-pound fish on a black Lefty's Deceiver fly.
Tarpon fishing should be good next week as we head towards a new moon. In a normal weather pattern of east wind in the morning with an afternoon sea breeze, there should be a push of tarpon in deeper water for the first couple hours of the day. When sunlight is good later in the day, you might find tarpon in shallow water or following deeper edges.
Capt. Rick Grassett with a tarpon caught on a fly in the coastal gulf off Sarasota