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Tarpon Flies

4708 Views 14 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Marty Owens
I'm heading down to Florida in a couple of weeks on business but I'm going to be able to get a day a fishing in. Anybody have any suggestion on Tarpon Fly patterns or colors to use?
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I wouldn't mind going down and doing 13 days or so research just to make sure you get the best shot at them.:D Florida is a pretty big state with 2 coasts and lots of variation in habitat. If you can get more specific I'll try and do some research on a paticular location. What works best for Indian river is not going to be the same as for Boca Grande. If you know where you will be fishing you can get a more tailored selection. AL
Sorry, bout that. I'll be running out of Chokoloskee , South of Everglade City. The 10,000 Islands area.
I'll get cranking on it. I 've never fished there but I think I can find out some local info that would serve you better than just the standard patterns. AL
So far about the most I've found out is the place is an information vacuum. I still have several possible sources to check out but they will require some phone calling which I didn't want to do on the weekend. One tidbit or two that may give you a little extra fishing. The Tamiami Canal is a great pull over and fish whereever you like affair. Just be careful where you pullover to avoid getting stuck. Baby tarpon being the target try darker baitfish patterns such as Enrico Pulgassi's pinfish in #6 up to #2. Basically a morning and evening fishery. You might get a little time to exercise a few of them during the evenings. Also at the time you will be there snook will still be in season but the big ones will be just off the beach schooled up on structure. Normally they will be visible in low wind situations. We are talking lots of snook in a tiny area. If you go outside with a guide or someone knowledgeable they will probably want to put you on top of a couple of those schools. Flies of choice are grey/white or green/white decievers, clousers, or other baitfish pattern's. Capt. Gary's lil' hadden looks like a winner for them when they are balled up like that. I'm still working on the Big tarpon and 10k Islands backwater fishing. So far nothing very reliable but the fact that you will be there during big Tarpon time. They should be near the passes and roaming the beaches. A couple of sources say dark tarpon bunnies and Keys style (STU APTE) tarpon flies. They seemed a little vague so I'm still hunting for a person who does it on a regular basis. I would like to get it narrowed down to the top 3 colors of the top 3 patterns or just the top 6 or 8 pattern color combo's. AL
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this site sells flies but they have them divided up by type of fish so you can look at the most common tarpon flies
From what I gather we were sorta barking up the wrong tree. It seems that pattern and color favorites are not an issue with the tarpon. Presentation is the key. According to what I am hearing it is more a matter of getting the fly in the strike zone and then stripping in a manner that will make your fly look right to the fish. Differences in the way a fly is tied will make them sink at different rates so familiarity with a paticular fly is helpful with getting your lead right on cruising fish. Faster sinking patterns are paired with a sink tip or intermediate line for fishing for cruising fish. A sink tip is best in areas with a fair amount of current or deeper water. You have very little time to spot a cruising fish and get your fly down to the right level in the water column. For laid up fish, a floating line is fine. Most of the big tarpon will be near the outer islands. For them you will need an 11-13 wt. and for flies dark patterns that sink fairly fast seem to work well. Once you move back inshore you are in resident tarpon territory and you can drop down to a 9-10wt and get by fine with a slower sinking fly. Further back inland it is predominately baby tarpon and dark baitfish patterns in #4 or #6 are the ticket, along with a 7 or 8wt. One good tip a 20+ yr vet of the tarpon wars gave me is to go with a guide and use his tackle until you get the timing and presentation down " because the guide will be totally in tune with how much lead you need to give the fish on his tackle and his flies. Not only that, his reputation is built on among other things, the reliability of his tackle. With any luck you can take advantage of this to more quickly get the presentation down so that when you are on your own you have a better mastery of the presentation. AL
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Thanks for the feedback. It sounds like you put alot time into your reply. I'm looking forward to getting after some fish. I'll be fishing a friend down there who has some experience with Tarpon but it sounds like I'm in for a big education. Thanks again.

It sounds like fun education. I could tell you several things that don't setting the hook as he comes shooting out of the water...or getting all excited and forgetting to do that last step that makes your knot an actual knot... but you will probably have just as much fun getting educated and maybe better luck. Good luck with them . AL
I just got back from Chokoloskee, FL. I had a great trip despite the 19mph wind that I had to deal with. We couldn't locate any Tarpon, but I managed to land a few small snook on the old 8wt. A Red and White Deceiver was the fly of choice. I'm going to be spending a lot of time praciticing my double haul. You really need 75ft or more of distance for Snook in Skinny Water. Anyway, looks like it's about time to pull out the Kayak and start hitting the NC Coast.
I'll Be At Topsail This Weekend For A Little Yakin' And And Surf Casting. I Need A Little Work On The Fly Rod Too I'm Sure. Snook Are Made To Order For A Flyrodder. Trout And Redfish Aren't Bad Either. TARPON ARE TOUGH ON ABOUT ANY TACKLE!
I planning on hitting Topsail with the yak a little later this year myself. As soon as I can clear about a dozen things off my calendar. Maybe we can touch base then. I would love to swap flies and lies with you.

guys maybe I just haven't researched it enough, but I have never heard about or read about taking tarpon on the fly in nc. could you enlighten a hillbilly if you have more info on the subject. not to say it does not happen, but all I have read are articles on bait fishing for them around cedar island and that area. i:confused:
I was actually attempting to fish the Florida Everglades. Come to think of it I never heard of anyone even fishing for Tarpon on a Fly in NC. Anyone know why?
One of the other post was on the money. When it comes to tarpon, presentation is the key. Place the fly right and they will eat it. When the fish show up cast to the second fish not the lead fish and strip the fly just in front of his nose let him dictate the speed. If you pick up the fly to cast again sip the line out of the water don't rip the line off the water and only one back cast you don't have time for a lot of false casting this not a dryfly. Get it back in the water and on the same fish. Don't line them (through it over his back) better to short than to long on the cast also when he eats set the hook and let him take the line he will take it quick enough even if he is coming at you. Dont start stripping it in with your hand you don't want that line in the boat you want it on the reel. Stripping it in buy hand instead of getting it on the reel as soon as posible will get you in trouble this is a big fast fish not a trout. Don't forget to bow when he jumps and if I had to say, I'd say Black Death there is no better fly for tarpon. Have fun Tarpon are addictive in a way no other fish is, your going to love it and your wife will hate it.
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