Tarpon on the Flats

Tarpon fishing shallow water

John came back and fished the next day as planned. We arrived at our flat a little late, about 7:30am. There were plenty of tarpon rolling around the surface in the deeper part of the flat so we staked out in about 4 feet of water and drifted live bait back to them. Most of the tarpon were cruising in about 6 feet of water. The wind was actually very calm but I knew we had a limited amount of time before it picked up and these tarpon would move off the flat into more protected water. Fifteen minutes into it we hooked up to our first poon, a nice twenty five pounder that was very hostile. He took to the air three times right off the bat in attempts to shake the hook. The hook set was perfect, right in the top of the lip. This poon jumped six more times and attempted to wrap the line around the push pole that had us staked out. After a bit of scrambling to keep the line clear and alot of bowing to take the pressure off the line this fish came boatside. I threw on the kevlar glove and grabbed his bottom lip. After getting the hook out we tagged him with a tag from the Sportfish Research Institute, recorded his size, and released him. After getting resituated, we drifted out two more live baits and thirty minutes later our second tarpon of the day took to the air. This one made four incredible jumps and thankfully stayed clear of the push pole. He was landed, tagged, measured, and released. During the fight, however, I noticed the wind picked up and was increasing as we got rigged back up. Over the next ten minutes our 5mph breeze increased to almost 20mph and our chances for more tarpon slipped away. The poons that were rolling earlier we all but gone. A few fish rolled every now and then but we never had another hookup. John did land his first tarpon that morning so we couldn’t complain to much.

Our equipment was spinning gear, with 10 lbs test base, 40 lbs leader, 3/0 mustad hook, and live mullet for bait.

Capt. Mike Badarack
[email protected]


Email Newsletters and Special Offers

Sign up for Salt Water Sportsman emails to receive news of the latest techniques for big and small game fishing and the hottest fishing destinations as well as special offers on behalf of Salt Water Sportsman’s partners.

By signing up you agree to receive communications from Salt Water Sportsman and select partners in accordance with our Privacy Policy. You may opt out of email messages/withdraw consent at any time.

More How To