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.

Red fish tail

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