Author: Albert Acosta
December Tarpon Action In Islamorada
If there is one place you could fish for tarpon then Islamorada in the Florida Keys is it. Islamorada...Fishing Capitol of the World and I would have to agree. I was fortunate to be able to stay an entire week there for work and of course I did not mind at all! So upon hearing of this great news I packed a few rods and tackle and grabbed the bait bucket and set off to Islamorada.
The weather was going to be beautiful as it usually is down in the Keys and I was ready for work and get some late night fishing time. I would be working during the entire day but I knew that I would be able to fish late at night so I planned for a few fish....tarpon and snook.So after the first day of work as I was heading back to the hotel I stopped at a local bait store and got a few dozen shrimp, changed, grabbed my rods and headed out.
"He tore line off my reel through the pilings"
The Keys are still recovering from Hurricane Irma but from reports the fish are back and stronger than ever. I started at a few bridges underneath from the sides looking for snook and tarpon on the outgoing tide but was not seeing any action and by action I mean tarpon or snook hitting the outgoing bait like shrimp or crabs. I was ready for action on my Quantum Cabo's 40's loaded with Bullbuster 30Lb Braid and 50lb flourocarbon with a 3.0 thin wire circle hook. I stopped at another location where there were dock pillings abandoned and started to freeline live shrimp around them and it did not take long before i was on to something. It was not big but I was bringing it in....a nice keeper mangrove snapper. I continued to freeline shrimp and was catching some nice mangroves and the bucket was filling up. Then all of a sudden I felt something grab my shrimp and zoom through the pillings....it was big....this was no snapper! I quickly set the hook and the fish went crazy running under the pillings and broken docks it was a nice tarpon about 30-40 lbs and it started going crazy jumping and spinning in the moon light....I was in trouble!
I tried frantically to get a good angle on him as he tore line off my reel through the pillings....I started to get some line back and was working him through the labyrinth of pillings and broken docks....but I was doomed he wrapped me around a few pillings and the line got tight and he was gone. Just like that my Islamorada poon was gone. I was disappointed but left with my limit of mangrove snapper so I went back to put the snapper on ice and then to get some sleep for next mornings work.
The next time I went out I went to a different bridge looking for some more poons or snook. I looked at the tide chart and wanted the outgoing tide...it was going to be a late night but I knew they would be there. The moon was about 15-20% so not to much night moon light but I could here the tarpon in the distance as the tide was about to change. They were hitting out in the bay faraway but coming closer. The tide started to rip out to sea and sure enough the poons started to feed by the bridge they were popping baitfish, shrimp, crabs what ever came by. I freelined the shrimp for a while back and forth cast after cast and then it was magic time! A big gulp of water on the surface and I was on...I set the hook and the tarpon started running and jumping near the bridge concrete pillings. I worked the tarpon frantically away from the pillings and now he was in the open where I had better chance of landing him. He fought hard making some real acrobatic jumps and spins but the Bullbuster 50lb Flouro held strong. I got him close and grabbed him. He was beautiful..shining in the night light...my Islamorada Silver King!
After a few pics I release him and off he went into the ocean under the moonlight. I was a happy guy not the biggest poon but perfect size to fight from land around a bridge. The night was late and I had to sleep for work! The next night I knew exactly what time I had to be there again for the poons so I made my way to the bait store where the guys already new my name and off I went. Sure enough the poons started again like clock work.....free lined my shrimp and boom I was on again. This one was slightly bigger and put up a great fight! I got her close and as I was about to grab her I could see a dark shadow behind her in the water...it was a big bull shark and she wanted my poon! I quickly grabbed her and jumped back on the rocks to safety...that was a close one...bull sharks love tarpon and will quickly snatch them from you.
I quickly put on another shrimp and tossed it out and it was quick I was on again to another Silver King....I fought the fish for a while and brought it in quickly knowing there was a shark around. A few pics and I was releasing my second poon of the night another perfect sized one.it was a great night in Islamorada and I had the whole place to my self under the stars and moon.
I had a great week I cannot complain working in the morning and afternoon and slaying tarpon at night under the stars and moon! If you have a chance head down to Islamorada and fish for some tarpon you will not be disappointed!I hope you enjoyed my article and it helps you catch more fish! See you next time!
Check out some of my other tarpon fishing articles below:
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