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Fishing Report for Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island & Port Canaveral

Capt. Ron Presley
October 11, 2005
Cocoa Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report

Tarpon Time

Between the weather which was brutal last week, and attending the Florida Sportsman Fishing Show in Tampa over the weekend, I have not been on the water for a while. I attended the Tampa fishing show as a representative of the Florida Guides Association (FGA). My wife and I and some other Florida Guides worked a booth aimed at attracting a few new members and supporters as well as selling some FGA caps and shirts. All proceeds from memberships and merchandise sales go to promote the FGA mission that reads, “Dedicated to promoting the conservation and wise use of Florida’s fishery resource”.

You can learn more about FGA by visiting their website at www.florida-guides.com In fact, you can join online and support the cause. If you ever consider supporting such organizations, this would be a good one to support as they lobby to protect the rights of all recreational anglers. I am happy to add my volunteer support as well as my paid membership to them. The next Florida Sportsman Show will be November 11 and 12. Put this date on your calendar, and drop by the FGA booth and say hi.

Well, like the headline above says, its Tarpon Time. Every year about this time (October – November) the tarpon show up to provide us with several weeks of fishing fun. These juvenile tarpon are a blast to catch on light tackle and at one time or another almost any technique will take them.

My absolute favorite bait to catch the silver king is a top water bait presented and worked to the tarpon’s liking. I say to the tarpon’s liking because they don’t seem to like it the same way every time. Sometimes they will prefer the bait worked in the traditional walk-the-dog fashion and the next time they want it slow. Usually I like to walk-the-dog with a medium, not to fast retrieve and wait for the fish to blow up on it. A bait like the Original HighRoller will give you this walk-the-dog action. This lure has an erratic back and forth action that simulates a wounded and excited baitfish.

At other times, an almost still top water lure will be the ticket to a nice high jumping tarpon. High Roller also makes a bait to use for this application. What they call a “RipRoller” is a prop bait that you can slash and let set, twitch, slash and let set, twitch, etc. It really gives a rush when that bait is setting there perfectly still, with a few ripples moving outward from the last twitching action and the surface erupts as Mr. Tarpon comes to dinner. My number one color choice on either of these baits is the “Electric Trout” color.

Remember, regardless of which technique you use, don’t forget to” Bow to the King.” Normally the first thing a tarpon does when it is hooked is come straight up out of the water and shake furiously. When the fish comes up, just lower your rod tip, horizontal to the water and lean into the fish, and give the big guy the respect he deserves. If you don’t, you may have already said goodbye.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Or, should I say don’t get stuck in a rut with the same old retrieve and color pattern. Change it up! I have my favorite techniques and colors, and you do to, but when you are not getting strikes, it is time to do something different. That might even include moving the boat! The tarpon can be tight mouth at times and it is frustrating to watch them all around you without taking your bait. I always just say to myself, “They are gonna’ eat sometime. I just hope I’m here when they do.”

I was out there today - the Tarpon ARE here. Get out there and catch one. These river tarpon are affectionately referred to as juvenile tarpon. In other words, the bigger ones only go 40 or 50 pounds. The average fish may run from 10 to 30 pounds, but occasionally you will see a huge 100 pound plus fish in the mix. Let me tell you, that 10 to 30 pound fish is good enough for me. Especially on light tackle. Watch for my next report where I expect to talk about some other tarpon catching techniques. Good Fishin’. That’s what its all about.

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Capt. Ron Presley is an outdoor writer and fishing guide. He serves on the board of directors of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, is Secretary Treasurer of the Florida Guides Association and editor of their newsletter. Capt. Ron operates Inshore Fishing Adventures in the Cocoa Beach area.

Contact Info:

Inshore Fishing Adventures
516 S. Plumosa St., #19
Merritt Island, FL 32952
Phone: 321-454-7285
Alt. Phone: 321-749-1787
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