Miami Tarpon Fishing

Posted on August 24th, 2013 by Mike

There continues to be lots of very small dolphin all over the ocean whether you are 15 miles out or fishing in 150 feet. The best bet for finding decent size dolphin has been to fish inside of 250 feet.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for some rod bending action, there have been plenty of bonito (little tunny) in the 100 – 150 foot range. Before you go saying it’s only a darn bonito, think about the folks up north who can’t wait for them to show up. They call them false albacore and even have tournaments where they fish for them. They are great light tackle fish and can really pull some line off a reel. They can save the day when other fish aren’t cooperating. I guess we’re spoiled here in South Florida with all the other different species of fish that we catch. Mixed in with the bonito have been a good amount of kingfish in the 6 – 15 pound class and we’re in that time of year when the barracuda are making a good showing on the reef. They’ve all been hitting both flat line and downrigger baits, so put out both and let the fish decide what they want on the day you are out. And finally, when you find some good north current, there are still a few sailfish around. Once again, don’t be surprised when your downrigger line pops and up comes a sail jumping and putting on a great aerial show.

Tuesday (6/20) was mother daughter day aboard Knot Nancy. Eileen Clark and her two daughters Cindy and Sharon spent some good quality time together while getting in some fishing action. The day started by catching herring off Haulover Inlet. There were lots of schools of bait to choose from and after filling the live well, we ran offshore looking for dolphin. Lots of scattered weed and very weak scattered weedlines were all we could find. The few birds we saw were looking and searching just like we were. At 20 miles, we turned around and started back in. We trolled a weedline that was forming and spent lots of time clearing weeds off our lures. At 12.5 miles, I set up a drift with a weak weedline and about 10 minutes later we got some action. The dolphin were all under size and could only kill the live herring. Cindy caught her first dolphin while Sharon and Eileen are old pros at catching them. Chunk baits and Kaplan jigs netted us 6 dolphin that were caught and released. We decided to run in to the reef to give Cindy a chance at pulling on some hard fighting fish. All our action came in the 110 – 130 foot range until our last drift. We had baits pulled off the hooks and mono leaders cut off by toothy critters. Then it was a triple header bonito with everyone landing their fish. The next drift had a sailfish eat two of our flatline baits and Cindy got to see and experience the excitement of fighting a large fish. The last drift of the day was set up in 150 feet and a large school of under sized dolphin invaded us. The fish followed us in to 80 feet and during this time we caught and released 18 more dolphin.

Friday (6/23) evening I fished for tarpon for the first time in eleven (11) days. Shaun Hoskins from England had never caught a tarpon before and he was anxious to do battle with a large silver king. Before it got dark, we only saw a few fish roll and one explode on some bait. We were fighting large lines of grass that kept fouling our baits. I made a move to a different area and on our first drift we had something pick up the live crab and immediately drop the bait. We reset our drift and this time we got a solid hook up. Shaun wanted to catch his tarpon using a spinning outfit and he got his wish. The fish fought very sluggishly at first and then suddenly realized that something was wrong. It then made a tremendous run and dumped half the line off the reel. After about 30 minutes, we got the leader to touch the rod tip. Shaun wanted a good picture and it was then that he learned how hard tarpon really fight. Every time the fish began to tire, it would come up and gulp air. It then got strong again and would make a nice run. This see saw battle went on for another hour and a half with the neither the tarpon or Shaun wanting to give up. The fish moved offshore to 22 feet and then reversed field and went inside of the swim markers to 8 feet. It then went offshore again and then back shallow again. Shaun could not believe how hard the fish fought. The fish gulped air for the 6th time and made a dive under the boat. We had the drag very tight and it pulled the spinning rod down again the rub rail. Shaun could not lift the rod up and when the line rub again the boat it parted. During the fight, I got several pictures with his camera. I convinced him that using conventional tackle would whip the fish quicker and he agreed to put them out. In less than a minute after setting up another drift, we were hooked up again and this time it only took about 20 minutes to whip the fish. The final two drifts of the evening produced no action and a very tired and happy Shaun enjoyed the ride back to Spinnaker Marina. He had caught his first two tarpon, gained a tremendous respect for how hard they fight, and was looking forward to his next battle with the silver king.

Call to schedule your fishing trip and get in on the action.

Captain Dave Kostyo
Knot Nancy Fishing Charters
305 620-5896 Charter
305 965-9454 Boat