In late summer and fall, Black drum and small tarpon continue to hold in the brackish water at the mouth of the Peace River where it meets Charlotte Harbor.  Now, as with the last six weeks, it’s best to get out before first light. In particular, the tarpon drop down in the water column when the sun gets too high about 8:00 a.m.  From before sunrise until then, it’s not unusual to find them rolling anywhere between the U.S. 41 Bridge and the perimeter canals of Punta Gorda.  Tarpon have fished best on the early incoming and I’ll usually target them until high tide then keep an eye out for schools of black drum.  For the tarpon, I’m throwing an eight-weight, a floating line and nine-foot leader tapered down to a 20-pound class tippet. With a spinning rod, a medium fast seven-foot rigged with 15 pound braid and a three-foot mono or fluorocarbon leader is fine. The black drum are large fish in the 30 to 40 pound class and I’ll use stouter tackle. I’ll throw a ten-weight rigged with a matching floating line and the same leader I use for tarpon. For both species, I like small, #1 or 1/0, baitfish patterns. On a spinning rod, a soft plastic jerk bait rigged on a 1/8-ounce jig head is perfect. Of course, live shrimp is always a good bet.

Spring is coming to the Golden Isles

With the advent of Spring, our waters begin warming.  68 to 70 degrees is the magic temperature.  The big winter schools of reds begin to break up and we are able to find them in more places.  Trout come up from the depths and gather around oyster beds and grass.  In May we expect the first "tailing" tides of the year where the reds get into the grass and tail aggressively grubbing for fiddler crabs.  Tailing redfish in the grass is classic, southern fly fishing for redfish.

In St. Simons we have an interesting fishery chasing free floating triple tail just 1-3 miles off of the beaches.  This is an unusual behavior because they are not floating close to structure.  They are simply free floating.  We look for these fish by idling around just off the beaches.  When I see one, I motor close to it and try put you in a good position for a cast.  The flies are generally lightly weighted or unweighted flies that mimic small shrimp or bait fish.  If you make a good presentation a little beyond and in front of the fish, you may come tight with a triple tail up to 20 pounds.  Triple tail are a hard fighting fish that jumps and runs.  I have said many times, if you can imagine how hard a 10 pound blue gill would pull, that is how hard a Triple Tail pulls.  This pattern runs from late March until June or July.  

At this time of year, I like to combine a red fish and Triple tail trip.  As in all sight fishing, a clear day with light wind makes for the fishing.  So, click the link below to inquire on booking a trip for a species I would bet you have never caught on fly.

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