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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-04-2009, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
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Tarpon

If I had 8 days to do some tarpon fishing where and when would you folks recommend?



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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-04-2009, 01:43 PM
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-04-2009, 02:13 PM
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I love fishing the lower Keys for Tarpon but it is very expensive. May and June is prime time and hard to get dates with a good guide. In the shoulder seasons you need the weather to cooperate but there are less boats around, fewer fish but they eat flies well. Let me know if you need the names of 2 super good keys guides that are really good not only at finding fish but also teaching you (instead of yelling at you like other Keys guides) about the fish and the fishing situations. You will need to lock down dates now for next year as they are booked up fast.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-04-2009, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Al and Greg--Greg PM sent.



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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-04-2009, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by GPearson View Post
I love fishing the lower Keys for Tarpon but it is very expensive. May and June is prime time and hard to get dates with a good guide. In the shoulder seasons you need the weather to cooperate but there are less boats around, fewer fish but they eat flies well. Let me know if you need the names of 2 super good keys guides that are really good not only at finding fish but also teaching you (instead of yelling at you like other Keys guides) about the fish and the fishing situations. You will need to lock down dates now for next year as they are booked up fast.
You know, I hear this a lot. "Tarpon fishing is very expensive." I just paid my guide for next year upfront. 5 days of tarpon fishing out of Key West is $2750.00. And that's for two people. If you stay at a La Quinta or something similar you can get away with a C-note or slightly more as that's the slow season for them (May-June.) Restaurants that are fairly reasonable are all over that area-even McHorrible these days. I fly round trip from Milwaukee for less than $200.00. I rent a car that'll cost about the same for a week. I also go to the Bahamas in January. There I pay $3500.00 as my part of a double occupancy rate. That includes food and lodging, but the airfare is closer to $600.00. If you add it up, understanding that in tarpon fishing only the flights cannot be divided in two because the cost will be shared, the fact is that tarpon fishing is a far better value. Plus, you normally will have better quality guides (and only a few old timers are screamers these days), far better boats, and no place on Andros Island rocks like Key West. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy both and the case could be made, I suppose, that that only means that bonefishing is even more expensive, but I think tarpon fishing compares quite well against lots of other destinations. It's cheaper, by far, than almost any guided Atlantic salmon fishing. In fact, it's only slightly more expensive than a week of being guided on the Deschutes. I've fished with seven different guides in that area since 1986, and I truly enjoyed being out with every single one of them. One or two would get a little terse at times, but none were screamers and none were overall rude. Simply ask people, as Dana is doing, and you'll find lots of names of superb guides throughout the Keys and up both coasts. There probably is not a place on the planet with a greater concentration of outstanding guides than southern Florida.
post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-04-2009, 06:09 PM
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You're a Canadian, go to Cuba.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-04-2009, 06:10 PM
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Jim,

Are you flying into Miami for $200.00? Seems like GR would be in the same price range? I have been looking for tickets for a month for late Feb early March.

Dana,

Since you didn't say anything about money, I would go to Belize, I have never been, but I hear great things about Ambergris. PM "El Pescador", he knows a thing or two about that area.

Your not a US citizen, correct?

CUBA.................

Or sneak into Robbies at night with a french fry fly.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-04-2009, 08:47 PM
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Jim,

Are you flying into Miami for $200.00? Seems like GR would be in the same price range? I have been looking for tickets for a month for late Feb early March.

Dana,

Since you didn't say anything about money, I would go to Belize, I have never been, but I hear great things about Ambergris. PM "El Pescador", he knows a thing or two about that area.

Your not a US citizen, correct?

CUBA.................

Or sneak into Robbies at night with a french fry fly.
Jamey,

I don't ever go near the Miami Airport. I had some bad situations develop there years ago and the Miami area drivers are the worst in the US. I fly Air Tran non stop from Milwaukee to Fort Lauderdale for $194.00 round trip. Sometimes, the price is even lower than that. GR might be similar, but I'm not sure you'll find a non-stop flight. Fort Lauderdale is only about 45 minutes farther north than Miami and you'll save a bunch of that time by taking the Turnpike and avoiding all the Miami traffic. It's what I've been doing since the late 1990s. It used to be on Midwest Airlines, but they don't fly to Fort Lauderdale any longer, or any place in South Florida for that matter.

You really won't save any money by going to Belize. You'll be fishing from pangas instead of a flats' boat, and their flats are very soft. Even a little bit of wind will cause them to color up and there goes your tarpon fishing. They then can take you to some mangroves to fish for small tarpon and snook, but usually they'll take you to a hard flat to fish for small bones.

I'm not that familiar with tarpon in Cuba, but I've heard great things about the bonefish and permit in CERTAIN areas. You really have to do some homework on that one as to where and when to go. In reality, there's nothing like southern Florida for tarpon. From Jupiter on the East Coast, through the Keys, up all the way to the panhandle on the West Coast can be superb if you pick the right time of the year for each area and do your homework before hiring a guide.

Upon proof reading this I realize I sound like I work for the Chamber of Commerce for southern Florida. Just to clarify things, I don't!
post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-04-2009, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by JR SPEY View Post
You know, I hear this a lot. "Tarpon fishing is very expensive." I just paid my guide for next year upfront. 5 days of tarpon fishing out of Key West is $2750.00. And that's for two people. If you stay at a La Quinta or something similar you can get away with a C-note or slightly more as that's the slow season for them (May-June.) Restaurants that are fairly reasonable are all over that area-even McHorrible these days. I fly round trip from Milwaukee for less than $200.00. I rent a car that'll cost about the same for a week. I also go to the Bahamas in January. There I pay $3500.00 as my part of a double occupancy rate. That includes food and lodging, but the airfare is closer to $600.00. If you add it up, understanding that in tarpon fishing only the flights cannot be divided in two because the cost will be shared, the fact is that tarpon fishing is a far better value. Plus, you normally will have better quality guides (and only a few old timers are screamers these days), far better boats, and no place on Andros Island rocks like Key West. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy both and the case could be made, I suppose, that that only means that bonefishing is even more expensive, but I think tarpon fishing compares quite well against lots of other destinations. It's cheaper, by far, than almost any guided Atlantic salmon fishing. In fact, it's only slightly more expensive than a week of being guided on the Deschutes. I've fished with seven different guides in that area since 1986, and I truly enjoyed being out with every single one of them. One or two would get a little terse at times, but none were screamers and none were overall rude. Simply ask people, as Dana is doing, and you'll find lots of names of superb guides throughout the Keys and up both coasts. There probably is not a place on the planet with a greater concentration of outstanding guides than southern Florida.
Sorry, I should have said it is very expensive FOR ME. It is the most expensive thing I do and I do it as cheap as I can. I am a guide/rep so I can't typically afford guides. I will split 5 days in the Keys with a buddy and it will cost me more my wife and I can do a week of dirt bag bahamas fishing with a day or two on a guide boat. For dudes with money it is not expensive and I don't mean to imply that Keys guides are getting rich. At $550 a day plus tip they are not going to far beyond covering expenses. I am glad that it is no big deal for you but it puts me in the hole for about 3 months. I still do it every year because it has become one of my favorite things.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-04-2009, 10:36 PM
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I haven't flown into Miami yet. Lauderdale once, and paid the bucks to fly to Key West once. Family stays in the mid Keys Islamorada-Marathon, about the same drive either way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GPearson View Post
I still do it every year because it has become one of my favorite things.

Thats the truth, however I got into some very fresh kings pitching stick baits in the lower river, comes pretty close, and only 15min away.

I do love the Keys, its like its own little planet down there. Doen't matter what I do down there, still end up in the hole when I get home, and I have a free place to sleep.

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-09-2009, 01:07 PM
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Dana:

I would contact Tom Roland in Key West. While he is probably booked, he will hook you up with someone that fits your style and temperament. As stated above, May/June is peak migration time but I fished for years during the last two weeks in April with good results. That being said, April can be very windy. We would book 7-10 days and plan on getting blown off on 2 days with an additional 2 days of challenging fishing with the balance being prime. Our budget accommodations were the Holiday Inn on the east end of the island by Cow Key. Do not stay at the Holiday Inn downtown as it is a historic structure (no soundproofing) and you will get no sleep. We would book our room through the Holiday Inn rewards club (Priority Club) and get some discount/additional benefit by using them. I have not stayed there for a number of years so cannot comment on the current conditions, but you can probably get current reviews at Trip Advisor.com. The nice thing about late April is the lack of competition. Some days you will be the only boat inside the Marquesa's. Other days there will be two or three other boats but it is a far cry from May/June.

My experience in the spring in Belize is that the keys there, only hold resident tarpon at that time of year. The bigger fish seem to show up during the summer and fall. Key West is very easy logistically. Belize is all destination fishing lodges (no running down to the 7-11 for Gatorade at 5AM before you head out fishing). Again in my experience, the permit fishing is better in the spring in Belize than in the Keys but the fish are smaller. The diving/snorkeling is better in Belize. I love Belize, but if you want to focus on tarpon, I would go to the Keys.

Tom's website with his contact information is: www . saltwaterexperience . com. His website has become a little busy with promo’s for his TV show and other advertisements. I would just call him and chat with him about what is available. He is a good guy.

Mark

They minded their own business, did their jobs, and hunted close.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-09-2009, 02:16 PM
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How about the West Coast of Florida, like Homosassa? Prime time there is May through June, and you'll have a chance at some world record tarpon.

Or how about the Rio Colorado in Costa Rica? You can double up and target snook there too.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-10-2009, 09:39 AM
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For all practical purposes, the fish never showed up at Homosassa this year. That fishery has been undergoing quite a change for ten years or more. If you'd like further verification of that go to Dan Blanton's board and check out Dan's own thread about tarpon fishing. The post is by jbonin. He is a customer of mine and VERY knowledgeable about fishing in Florida. There are good fish on the West Coast, but the best action is farther south, and there are a lot of gear fishermen to contend with there. In other words, it's even more crowded, for the most part, than the Keys.

Costa Rica tarpon fishing is totally different. There is no sight fishing, at least not on the Rio Colorado. You use a T14 or LC 13 head and fish the river bottom in a still fishing manner. Most guys don't even cast that head out, only thread it out in the current. At times one can negotiate the river mouth and fish on the outside, but even then, with very few exceptions, it's not sight casting. I guess it's one way to say you've caught tarpon, but to me the real thrill in tarpon fishing is the sight casting, the take, and the first few jumps. The rest is just a lot of work!
post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-11-2009, 12:35 AM
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Panama/venuzeula

I fish for tarop here,Panama, in lake Gatun. Not monsters but can be a lot of fun. Couple of smaller lakes near the ocean that have tidal flow,hold them as well. Not a lot of presure on them. A friend has just started a lodge on the Belen river(looking for a guide as well) carrib side. Lots of shot for poons and snook.

Venuzeula has it all. I jumped four in the first fifteen mins. on the boat. Deasent size 40 to 50. When yo are board of that,all the 5lb bones you can handle. You can even get ligit shots at Permit. Las Rouques is teaming with all spices of fish.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-14-2009, 01:13 PM
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dana, go to cuba. you are a canadian and is a special place right now, yet wont last for long. get it while you can.
i have been several times only for tarpon so pm if you are interested.
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