Tarpon season 2017 update/ Fly casting advice
Capt. Alex Zapata
May 18, 2017
Biscayne Bay - Saltwater Fishing Report
Well, it's been a while since my last report and I just have a chance to catch up. The tarpon migration in south Florida is on and I've been out on the water everyday since the first week of April.
The majority of my clients book me for flyfishing in the Florida keys this time of the year but we also drift crabs and mullet in the bridges and channels for the non-flyfisherman or when the weather is too marginal to flyfish. April was definitely a month to forget..... the wind blew out of the North and west at 20+ coupled with clouds and rain for almost 3 consecutive weeks. Such conditions are the kiss of death for tarpon fishing... let alone flyfishing!!!
I was out there every day battling the elements with my tarpon junkies. Needless to say, Very few fish were caught or even seen during those weeks. Many agree that this past April was one of the worst for tarpon fishing if not the worst we have ever seen in years.
The tarpon migration really took off on the first week of May when the weather fiinally settled down and the schools of tarpon started to make a strong appearance in both, the ocean side and the backcountry.
Since the beginning of May, I have been fishing mainly out of Marathon and islamorada. The fish have been pouring in the ocean side and we have been hooking several on fly, crabs and mullet. Some of these schools of tarpon have been as big as 600 hundred fish or more, quite a sight over the gin clear ocean side waters. These fish range from 40lb all the way to 200lb.
We have had a few decent days flyfishing for laid up tarpon in the backcountry close to flamingo but it hasn't been as consistent as the ocean side shorelines.
So you want to come and flyfish for migratory tarpon in the keys??
It still amazes me how many people come totally unprepared for fly casting in saltwater. Tarpon, Bonefish and permit require advanced flycasting skills. If you have never done this before or you've only done it a few times, your are usually facing a long learning curve that can not be completed in only one or two trips. How much or how fast you progress depends entirely on the time you put out practicing your casting, even if you book a decent amount of days with a guide every year.
Do not underestimate these fish and the required skills to catch them. These fish do not care about how many trout, salmon, bass, walleye, Marlin etc you have caught or for how many years you have been flyfishing.
If your years of flyfishing experience haven't logged enough time on the saltwater flats, chances are that you will need to practice and do some work in the park before you come. With that being said, I am aware that we all have to start somewhere.
Do yourself a favor and practice your casting before you spend $650 a day plus your valuable time. Bring a decent DOUBLE HAUL technique. Double hauling is the most important part of your casting in order to develop line speed. If you can't develop line speed and tight loops for windy days, your chances of catching fish on the flats are down to 30% or less. In the keys, you will truly face more windy conditions than calm. The fish also eat better and are way less wary when the wind blows hard. You have to be comfortable casting in the wind (both forward and back hand shots) and make it your best friend.
Your casting needs to become second nature in order to advance to the next level, which includes learning to spot and feed fish. In my opinion, The keys are at the top of the pyramid in the flyfishing world. Get it done here and you can almost get it done any where else in the world.
Come prepared, practice, bring your A game and a decent casting for your guide to work with. I am a certified fly casting instructor (IFFF) and I can help you with your casting. Book a few casting classes with a reputable instructor before you get in front of the fish.
I still have a few days open in June and July for tarpon fishing in the keys or Biscayne bay. Give me a call and let's go dancing with the silver king.
Scanning the ocean side on a windy day
Ron Giddins from California with a nice fish on
John Lloyd from Missouri dancing with the silver king
Rainbow after rain showers in Islamorada
Arthur Vieter with a nice 40lb poon
Duncan Smith pulling on a nice fish
Biscayne Bay Fishing Forecast:
The tarpon will continue swimming steadily in big groups until the end of June. Were you unable to find open dates during May and June? There are still plenty of fish to throw at in July. The permit and bonefish have been around in good numbers. These fish receive very little pressure this time of the year as everybody is tarpon fishing.
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