Tarpon in the Golden Isles of Georgia
On their annual migration up the Florida Peninsula and the East Coast. Tarpon begin showing up in our waters the end of June and are normally here through September.
We chase these fish in the ocean and back country marshes. In the ocean, we look for these fish migrating in strings and on bait balls of Menhadden, locally called Pogies.
As they migrate, the fish are in strings anywhere from close to the beach to a few miles off the beach. Normally, we work bars that push the fish up so they are visible.
Clear water is essential, and only on particular tides are our waters clear enough to actually sight fish them.
Fishing of tarpon on bait balls is extremely exciting. You see 100+ pound fish eating Pogies rolling close to the boat. You see bait showering when a fish feeds on them.
Sharks also love these bait balls, and you see the Black Tips doing flips above the water as they feed. To catch the tarpon, we try to stay in front of the bait and cast to rolling fish.
Particular techniques are necessary to hook up. Fishing for tarpon in the “Marshes of Glynn” involves finding them coming out of a creeks as the tide starts to move out and following the bait in open marsh.
You will see them rolling and gulping air. Your job is to cast in front of the fish and fish a fly to them. I call this, “Educated blind casting.”
When you hook one, they explode in the air and jump and run and jump. You have to set the hook hard, and hold on. We use 11 and 12 weights and various flies to feed the fish. This is heavy tackle, but proper casting technique will deliver the flies to them.
All this being said, these are tarpon, and sometimes they eat and other times they don’t. In the summer when the water is hot and the redfish are finicky, tarpon offer a good opportunity for you to land the fish of a lifetime.