Tarpon east side 40 to 120 pounds are still very active.
Here is the scoop.
Step 1 Put in at Ponce and head south as you get to mangrove point you need two regular fishing rods on one rod a Storm twitch, White & gray on the other rod a curly tail grub jig, a tandem rigs works even better than a single jig.
Cast them out and start trolling about 3 miles per hour. You are looking for Lady fish. Your depth should be about 4 foot of water. follow the sand bar as you go south along the eastern side of the Harbor. 4 feet of water out side the sand bar, is a good trolling depth for these lures and that is prime Lady fish territory. Once you hook the first Lady fish, stop the boat and start casting the lures for Lady fish, Find them then cast. Once you have 4 of them in your live well, it is time to start looking for Tarpon, if you have not already seen them get your boat on plane, then slow the motor down as slow as you can go while remaining on plane. Watch for rolling fish or Tarpon breaking or slightly breaching the surface, It may be a very little bit of the back of a Tarpon which will tell you of its presence. Not often will you see a 6 foot Tarpon free jump 6 feet out of the water falling and laying back into the water. Thrilling to see but not what you are likely to see. It will be a flash of silver or white on a small wave, or just a bit of the back which appears to you.
Once you see the Tarpon go toward the sand bar 3 to 4 feet of water. You should be in shallow against the sand bar casting out into the deeper water.
One rod a lighter tip rod 25 pound class spinning rod with a 5000 or 6000 reel, 40 pound Braid line, 50 pound test fluorocarbon leader with a D.O.A. Bait buster lure, either the dark green, or Root beer color 4 feet of leader by the way.
This you will use to cast at Tarpon. your other rod 6/0 or larger hook for the lady fish, put the hook through the lower jaw and out the upper, 4 feet or more of 60 pound fluorocarbon leader with a large bobber or balloon just above your leader knot. cast it out and set your live liner drag for about 2 pounds. Your front drag should be set at 10 pounds, maybe a little more but not much the Tarpon needs to run out some of its strength. I like having as close to 300 yards of line as possible. The line on my lady fish rod is 50 to 65 pound test braid.
Yes you can catch & kill as many Tarpon as you like with light line. And kill you will the fight lasts too long and the Tarpon swim away and die later after you are home thinking how cool the fight was. We saw this 50 times a number of years ago, Charlotte Harbor is closed in, un-like where Tarpon are caught in other places where the dead are swept out to open water. So please if you have to fish light line Tarpon, go somewhere else.
If you are a real Angler and use heavy enough tackle to land the fish in a reasonable time. Please come here to Charlotte Harbor. You are my kind of people.
Back to the fishing you have a lady fish out under a float 10 to 16 inches long is a good bait size Lady fish, I would say the float is the best thing but here late in the Year it should be said that a heavy sinker 4 ounces or even 6 ounces is a great idea for catching Tarpon with a whole Lady fish. The sinker will keep it in one spot, free line is great and will catch fish, But only if they hit while you are not untangling your lines from the free roaming Lady fish, which has wrapped up all of your lines into one bunch night mare spider wed of knots.
Keep your rod handy with the Bait buster, I am not much for random casting at Tarpon and will hold the rods at ready for when I see one roll.
besides casting the Bait buster will give you something to do while the tarpon hit the lady fish. It is good to stay busy.
Avoid the ergs impulse to chase the Tarpon up and down the Bar. You will pack up and get to where they are rolling only to see them back where you saw them when you decided to fish the first time. I will only pack up and move if I see the Tarpon, down farther and then see them father away again.
Tarpon seem to feed up and back along the bar, working an area. only after an hour or so will they really move down the bar, once they move they will work the area for food and then move again. You will spend a lot of time chasing Tarpon, If you sit and wait, not run and gun you will catch more fish.
Fishin up-date 2nd verse same as the first Red Fish on the east side Red Fish on the north side, Red Fish on the west side, and yes, Red Fish are biting on the southern half of the Harbor. Pin Fish, shrimp, white bait, Where ever the Reds were during the first half of this year they have showed up, in more numbers than I would have dreamed of.
Right now the fishing for Snook Red fish and even some nice Sea Trout have showed making September and I will go out on a limb and Say October is going to be the best catching months of 2015 so far.
If you are thinking about getting out, try to do so this is what we wait for lots of fish willing to eat.
Plenty of Mackerel in the gulf, from 3 miles and out a few Cobia and Some Pompano. Watch for the afternoon storms they are getting fewer, but still around. Great grouper and Snapper fishing.
It is hot might as well be hot on the gulf catching grouper
Tarpon Yes the Silver is the story all along the eastern side of the Harbor,
The center of the activity seems to be the mouth of Alligator creek, North to Ponce and south to Pirate Harbor,
Out going tide is the key to the bite, a heavy out going tide and the tarpon turn on like crazy feeding. chunks or whole lady fish.
D.O.A. Bait busters, Bomber long A, Rapla X-rap 10 . Savage Lure 6 inch .
Look for them Just off the bar and on top of the bar. White and green mix color patterns.
Snook bunches or I should say schools of them. In the aRiver and the canals. Not huge but I say that and then think
of Bay shore pier where a 41 inch Snook was caught mid morning walking a Shrimp yesterday. But I guess I a thinking about the massive numbers
of Small Snook bright shiney Silver sided pretty as they can be and appear to be fresh into the Harbor from the gulf. If they had been here for long,
they would be more gold color.
Still some great fishing out of Matlacha during incoming tide. Reds have been hitting on live shrimp and pin fish. Nice size schools 5-8 and a few small stragglers running the flats. Fish the north side of the bridge in the flats between the mangrove to the east of the chanel. I few small snook, 16 inches or less also running the same flats.
Mangrove Snapper are striking live shrimp and artificial shrimp along the bridge.
Trout bite has started to pick back up north of the bridge just outside the chanel near any of the grass flats between chanel & mangroves to the east. Popping cork with artificial shrimp has worked great.
Bend Some Rods Today,
Flounder from the beach on Manasota key. Yes the tasty flat fish are in fish-able numbers right from the shore on Several of the area beaches, Manasota being the best bet right now. Shrimp or a bait fish caught on site are your best bet,
Buck-tail jigs bounced along the bottom or Banana “Crazy/silly” Jig are also working well, keep in mind the flounder lay on the bottom and if you bounce the jig off and them let it slam into the bottom it will kick up a little sand and let the flounder know it is there. Flounder will most often hit while you are lifting your rod tip, which makes the jig come up off the bottom like it was chased off the bottom by another predator.
So take the family to the beach, enjoy some rays and good fishing
Red fish, red fish seems like they are every where in the upper Harbor, From I-75 down to Alligator creek and the east side to two pines,
Shrimp is the best bait right now from what I hear from the reports.
Start looking on the east side right out at the sand bar, along the east side the sand bar for most of it’s length, has a slight trough running down along the in-side of the bar, and that is where some of the best fishing can be found right now.
I have gotten quite a few reports of Reds under the mangroves as well. So where ever they were hiding a couple months ago, they have come out to play and have brought along a few thousand Friends with them.
So Have fun out there, keep an eye out for larger schools 50 to 100+ Reds, This is the time when the Adults come into the Harbor to see who is big enough to join them to go off and chase around the Gulf, Even up the Atlantic.
Matlacha has had schools of Red from 5 to 8 running on the flats southeast of the bridge. With a few hanging around the mouth of the canals north of the bridge. Mangrove snappers are also hitting around those canals during incoming tide.