Key West Tarpon Season

by Captain Mike Bartlett April 13, 2013 0 Comments

First and foremost I would like to take this opportunity to thank Vince and the Team at Skinny Water Culture for asking me to be a contributor to the Skinny Water Culture Blog. I’ve been following these guys on Instagram for a while now and have seen some of their products at the March Merkin Permit Tournament held here in Key West.

I must admit I am a little jealous of these guys. They take killer photos and their artwork is awesome. And it seems like they are always out fishing somewhere really cool and having a great time. Even though I am on the water almost everyday, I am usually standing on the platform pushing my clients around the flats.

I love what I do, but this time of year gets me itchin’ to go fishin’!!

Tarpon Airborn

It’s officially tarpon season in the Florida Keys, when schools of full grown tarpon migrate through the area on their journey to make more tarpon. It really is awe inspiring to witness large schools of 100 plus pound fish pushing their way up a channel or over a shallow flat. The only thing better is standing on the front of a skiff armed with a fly rod and bit fluff on a hook to present to approaching fish.

Flat calm mornings and evenings are filled with the sight of tarpon lazily rolling at the waters surface. I’ve been longing for these days for many months, enduring another cold and windy Key West winter. Finally, the last few days mother nature finally gave us a little break from the wind and the tarpon moved in big time.

Flat Calm

I was able to share this experience with several new clients this week, hooking and jumping several tarpon each morning. As soon as I got back to the dock with my clients, I gathered up the wife and a couple of fly rods and off we went to play with the tarpon for a couple of hours.

This morning was especially fun for us as we were in an area where tarpon were rolling good and feeding. My wife made one cast and was quickly hooked up. A couple jumps and the tarpon threw her fly back to us, perfect!! It wasn’t but maybe another five minutes when she cast to another rolling tarpon that was more than happy to accept our offering of deer hair.

This one however stayed stuck and took off like a bullet down the channel straight for a crab trap. Luckily we were able to maneuver around it and ten minutes later we had the fifty pound specimen boat-side.

That was good enough for us, it was now time for some breakfast.

Tarpon to the Boat

Tarpon Landed 2








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