I had some diversity lately on my trips with clients that wanted to target particular species of fish. I recently had a couple contact me who had never caught a tarpon before, and it was on their bucket list. The couple from Massachusetts booked a fishing charter in February in the Keys to fish for tarpon, but they had no luck because it was a little early in the year to fish for them in that region. I haven’t really fished for tarpon much this year. I have been more focused on targeting snook, reds, and trout. When they booked their trip with me I explained to them that this time of year we only have juvenile tarpon around. That didn't matter to them, their sights were set on landing one so that is exactly what we did. I was definitely up for the challenge and took them to the back waters near the Sebastian Inlet to try to hook up with one.
When I fish for tarpon I look for them to roll on the surface. Tarpon have some characteristics that most fish do not such as gulping air. When they gulp air they roll on the surface so they're fairly easy to spot. As soon as we arrived at the fishing grounds we spotted a pretty good school of them coming up to the surface, so I immediately started trolling live mullet behind the boat. Tarpon have extremely hard mouths so it can be hard to get a good hook set. By trolling the mullet behind the boat it allows me to have forward momentum so when the fish strikes that forward momentum allows for a much better hook set. When our mullet swam over the school, it was fish on! What an awesome fight it was too! This fish really put on a clinic of jumps and hard headshakes. They ended up landing a perfect first tarpon that was about 30 pounds. I personally couldn't have been happier for them. They set out on a mission and at the end of the day they achieved their goal.