2/20/17 Late February Tarpon in the Everglades National Park

Got out with Steve, Dick, and Floyd today.  Tarpon was one of the fish mentioned on their itinerary.  We had some bait leftover from yesterday so we went right to it.  The tides were predicted to be very weak, and i knew after yesterday we’d be near the slack if we did other fishing first, so we went right to the tarpon area.  We didn’t see much for fish in the first few stops.  I looked around hard since I’d been seeing a lot of activity and such when I’d been catching them.  We spent around 30 minutes checking 3 different areas, but not a whole lot showing.  We fished for a bit in one, caught a few sharks and a 200 lb sawfish mud marlin.  I talked to another boat who had been fishing up the channel where we had looked first thing, he hadn’t seen much either.  So we checked one more spot where I had ran over a few fish the day before.  We lucked out and as soon as I stopped the boat, I saw multiple fish on the bottom machine and a few rolling – we were in ’em!  First bait out we had a bite in about 30 seconds, though we jumped him off.  Put it right back out there and a minute later we were hooked up.  A nice 100 lb fish!  He jumped a couple times, but then was playing down and dirty the rest of the time.  We followed him around and he dragged us for quite a ways.  He didn’t give up and we fought him for an hour and a half!  We finally got him to the boat on the leader, but as soon as we tried to get him in the hand for pictures, the line went slack and he fell right off the hook!  Oh well the boys got some good video at least, I snapped a few pics while he rolled while we fought him.  We were very happy to get the official release, minus the boatside pics.  After that the tide was very dead, a few more fish were rolling, but no more action out of them.  We finished the day catching some spanish mackerel and headed home.  1 for 2

Capt. Rick Stanczyk