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Old 04-07-2002, 10:00 AM
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BobG BobG is offline
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Join Date: Before Nov. 1999
Location: bourne, ma
Posts: 4,075
marathon fla tarpon

i was watching mark sosin's show yesterday morning. mark was in marathon, livelining pilchards and mullet or tarpon. i believe he was in and around the 7 mile bridge area? (i'm not familiar with it)
the fish ranged from 40-100 pounds. it was a VERY impressive fishery! really reminded me of livelining herring on our stripers here up north.

so, my question, is it really that good, or was this a "tv special day" so to speak?
i was sort of thinking about trying to sneak away for a quick trip in late may to give t a try.
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Old 04-07-2002, 07:20 PM
Quicksilver Quicksilver is offline
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I think if you use conventional tackle the odds of hooking up are much better. Guides chum for tarpon too, which would really bring them in.
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Old 04-07-2002, 09:32 PM
joshr joshr is offline
Join Date: Before Nov. 1999
Posts: 300

I'm not a native, but I've done the live line mullet at the 7 Mile bridge fact, my very first tarpon--an 80 lber was caught there several years ago. It is a dependable fishery in the season. It all depends on which slot (between bridge stantions) you get your boat in...some are evidently much more productive than others, so guys get there well ahead of the optimal tide period to get a good position. I find it a pretty boring way to fish actually, but I have some step-family in Marathon who do a lot of live bait fishing, so when in Rome....

Basically, they anchor between bridge stantions with a buoy attached to the anchor rode and they drift a live mullet in the current (which moves through the bridge fast) off the stern about 30 or so feet behind the boat. When a fish takes the mullet, they uncleat the anchor (the buoy is there to mark it) and give chase...the key is keeping the fish from wrapping you around the bridge stantions. Once the fish is brought to the boat (or breaks off), they run back to the bridge, find the anchor, which is marked by the float/buoy and set up again.

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Old 04-10-2002, 07:20 AM
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Capt.ChrisLembo Capt.ChrisLembo is offline
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Location: Key West, FL
Posts: 401
Anchoring and chumming/ Livelining is the most productive method for hooking Tarpon near a structure/channel.

Firstly, just know that the 1 TV show episode was probably taped over at least a 3-5 day period. I have witnessed shows down here being taped for 10 days and edited to appear as 1 day. The fishing can be red hot, but generally it is no different than any other fishery. Some days that are great, some that are ok, some that are poor and some skunks no matter how hard or long you try. as for the show, If you look really close you may see subtle differences in the weather or something on the boat. I once saw an episode where it was clearly scattered cumulus clouds and high tide in the background while they caught a fish.... a few minutes later it was clearly low tide and cirrus clouds with another fish on. I also noticed a red sweatshirt was on the console for one shot while waiting for a hookup, then it was gone while they hooked up, then it was back for a fish a few minutes later.

It may be impossible to find a guide with an open day at this time of year as most are booked well in advance for April-June tarpon season. Late May would be your best bet as most variables (weather, water temp, migration timing) should be in the best phases. If at all possible try to get out for more than one day. I feel you are better off with two or three half days than one full day as you will have better odds with weather/tides/strategy.

Expectations need to be realistic... Most anglers coming down for a trip mistakingly come in January or Feb expecting a Walker's Cay Chronicles day with a Grand Slam...when the truth is that fishing slows in the winter here also. Cudas will take over most flats, Permit are around but a novice to intermediate should expect a few shots but probably no hookup, bonefish will be few and far between. The weather will be far better than Boston's weather but fishing is difficult.

Best advice....Find a guide, ask a week before how things are going, read a few articles on what fish are currently targeting, PRACTICE CASTING BEFORE YOU HEAD DOWN. (if fly fishing) a warm up helps trewmendously after a few months off. When you get on the water make sure you ask the guide if you can take 10 minutes to cast and get used to his equipment. The guide will also need to know your casting ability in order to get the boat in the right position/distance.

Go over the strategy while practicing. Go over the directions, where is the guide looking. Typically I tell my clients I am scanning from 7 o'clock to 5 o'clock at about 50 -75 feet from the boat. When I see a fish I will first give the clock face and then the distance. If they know I am scanning out 50-75 feet they will begin to look out to that distance. Then I will give direction fish is heading and what it is.

Most of all when you are out there enjoy the scenery, the hunt and don't consider hooking a fish to be the only measure of the quality of the trip. Try to learn from any mistakes you make as it may have been the first of only two chances you get all day.

Good luck
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Old 04-13-2002, 08:56 PM
mattmakk mattmakk is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Wellington, FL.
Posts: 2
Talking tarpon in may

Check with Captain George LaBonte in Jupiter, and you may be in for a treat. He put me on Tarpon and Permit at that time last year and is one of the best guides in Florida.
He is a contributing editor to Florida Sportsman and hosts a radio show on fishing on the East Coast of Florida every Saturday morning.
(561) 746-0032
Good luck
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