Early September Tarpon Fishing Report in the Florida Keys

Got out for 3 days with return client Rob and his buddies.  Tarpon was the main focus.  I had time to catch bait in the evening before our 3 days of fishing, which was good because bait has been a little tough to catch in the mornings in the backcountry when we normally catch it.  Sometimes it’s available sometimes not, depends on the tides.  But we had great fishing on day 1 with 7 or 8 tarpon bites and landing 2.  We did catch a permit in the gulf later in the day as we had nice calm weather to run out there.  The following day though the big school of fish was gone from that area.  We spent an hour or so looking around and finally got into a small group of them and put a couple of them in the air but did not land one.  After that we never had another bite all day we checked a few other areas and found a handful of fish but no response, though we did catch a couple big sawfish which was cool as well as some sharks.  Day 3 we were totally out of our mullet and tried to catch them in the morning but didn’t have any luck.  Saw some bait around but just hard to get a throw on.  So we went fishing with our pinfish and found a few tarpon around early.  After an hour or so of drifting and casting we did hook either a small tarpon or a large snook but unfortunately after a minute or so a big bull shark ate it.  I was hesitant to put a lot of pressure on the fish as if it was a tarpon usually you need to go a little easy on them.  But we did finish the day catching a couple permit in the gulf as conditions were good for that.

So right now tarpon fishing is as it has been most of the summer – hit & miss.  If you have the bait it can be worthwhile but you may spend a lot of time looking around for fish.  If you get lucky and find a big school you may have a banner day.  I’m happy to take anglers who want to focus on tarpon though if it’s up to me, I’m usually recommending people to be open to other things and maybe just trying tarpon for a portion of the day for the time being.

Capt. Rick Stanczyk
Instagram: @richardstanczyk
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