This week got off to a slow start as Nick McMullen, Matt Deluca and Scott Hechlik of Sarasota fished hard all morning with little to show for their efforts. The group didn’t even see a tarpon until nearly 9:20 when they spotted several fish milling about off Casey Key. With the exception of one crushed crab they were unable to get the fish to eat. With the wind out of the west it was a bit sloppy but the results were not because of a lack of effort. They’ll get em next time.
The west wind continued to blow on early this week but that did not deter Ben Bates and John Shelton of Sarasota and Ben’s father in law Alan Hobeck of Richmond, VA from getting out and chasing a few tarpon. Even though the seas started out rough we were able to get on a school early with Ben getting the bite. After a four spectacular jumps the fish threw the hook. Approximately an hour later we managed to find another school and this time it was John who got the bite and managed to get the fish hooked long enough to get a long run and one jump. Again the fish won and threw the hook. Alan was up next and he had two crabs stolen by the stealthy tarpon. Along the way we had a pinfish eaten by a small shark. No fish were boated but the action was good till late morning. All of the tarpon bites came on crabs.
Nick Conicella, son Alex and father John gave tarpon a try this week on a much nicer day as the wind was still from the west but much more fishable. During the early morning several schools of fish were presented baits but they were unable to coax a bite. After a move to another beach more schools were found moving along and Alex was able to get a crab eaten. When the line came tight and the fish jumped the leader broke and the fish was gone. They were unable to get another fish hooked up.
Bryan Chesnutt and daughter Kendall of Macon, GA went bay fishing this week where they caught a mixed bag of fish that included speckled trout, flounder, black drum, sheephead, ladyfish, jacks and a nice redfish. Daughter Kendall had the hot hand as she out fished dad catching several nice black drum, the redfish as well as hooked in to a nice snook that was able to throw the hook before she could get it to the boat. They also had a nice mangrove snapper that went home along with the drum for supper!
Back out on the beach the wind kicked up a little early Friday but tarpon were still schooled up and eating. Heath Swihart and son Tyson found several fish that were willing to eat their crabs. Heath finished the morning two out of four on the tarpon and Tyson wrecked the bait fish with the sabiki. It was a busy morning!
To end the week we saw the best and worst of tarpon fishing on my boat. On Saturday local Mike Mumma and friend Tony Bartucci fished and even though we saw a lot of fish and had baits in them multiple times they just could not find a hungry fish. In contrast on Sunday David Holifield found the opposite as he couldn’t put bait in the water that the fish wouldn’t eat and he finished the morning four out of four. (As a side note the captain went a disappointing zero for two jumping both fish off.) It just goes to show how challenging tarpon fishing can be!!!
Remember, the best time to go fishing is when you can and be sure to save some for seed!