Whether you’re in Homosassa or Crystal River, fishing for tarpon is like pursuing a dinosaur. These monsters have roamed the ocean since prehistoric times and can live up to 80 years. In fish terms, that’s ancient. Although tarpon have no food value and are catch-and-release only, they remain one of the most sought-after sport fish on the planet.
The Nature Coast’s migratory tarpon season runs from late April though August and one of the main reasons why the tarpon fishing is so good along our coast during those months is that the fish are in a full-on pre-spawn feeding mode. They’re hungry, and very likely to attack a well-presented fly, lure or live bait. The other reasons are the superb water clarity and lack of significant fishing pressure. Anglers typically stake out their boats along the migration route, or poll the shallows in search of fish. This fishery involves 100-percent sight fishing over lush grass flats and sand flats and there’s nothing more exciting than watching 100lb fish swimming down your lane from 100 yards out.
The highlight of tarpon fishing is watching the acrobatics that ensue once a fish is hooked. Tarpon are famous for their jumps and long runs and once a fish is hooked up savvy anglers find that lowering therod tip and pointing it at the hooked fish when he goes airborne helps to create slack. Your slack line keeps the line from breaking and the hook in place.