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I'm hoping to get the OK (from the wife) to book a tarpon trip for my B-day, but don't know where would be the best spot to try and the best time of year. I don't need to catch a 150+ lb fish, but would love to just catch something. Everything I've heard/read points to Florida around May. Do you have any specific experience with any guides? Thanks.
 

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for the flyfisherman, nothing compares to the take in clear shallow water of the Keys. Give yourself a few days to complete this trip. Wind, moon, rain all contribute to the process. I have always heard that for every 10 you hook you'll get one to the boat. Try the florida sportsman fishing forum for the keys and ask there for advice. I travel in June/July time to fish for Tarpon, the fish are migrating along the edges of the flats. Practice throwing a 11wt 12wt if you have one, but practice in all directions. Don't worry about the size, you never know how big the fish in the pod will be. The small ones (10 to 30lbs) love to jump and get your heart pumping. Happy B'day
 

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Ambergris Cay in Belize any time for smaller tarpon and Campeche, Mexico anytime for smaller tarpon. These are the tarpon that are actually landable. The 10-50 pound variety that still look enormous in the water, jump like acrobats on crack and you still have a prayer of landing one on a 10wt. If you go to the Keys in May I think it will be awesome but mostly for monster size fish that are next to impossible to land. If all you want to do is jump a few, than by all means go for it.

I don't know anything really about the Keys but I know a little about Tarpon. What can and will go wrong when fishing for these guys.

Or wait till August and go to Trinidad for the annual Tarpon Bash. But to me that's not as much fun because you are often fishing in deep water for those fish. The best fishing for tarpon is on a skinny flat while site casting. Once you bow to your first king, you'll never be the same.
 

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Big tarpon move into Florida,s 10,000 Islands sometime around the middle to the end of March and, if found in the bays, can be made to take a fly. They are often around til the end of April and Early May and then move to Boca Grande Pass in Charlotte Harbor for spawning in June. There are many guides in the area that fish them so I can put you on to a good one. I also hunt them, for hunting is what it is, and could take you out to search for the big laid-up fish should you decide to fish TheNaples/Marco Island area.
 

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Tarpon Fishing in the Keys

Hi there,

I have done quite a bit of tarpon fishing in the Keys out of Islamorada and Key West. There are two very good flyshops that can set you up with good and successful guides. One in Islamorada is Florida Keys Outfitters, the other in Key West is The Saltwater Angler, (Both have web sites) ask them for advice and insist on the fact that it is your first trip and that your guide should be able to treat you with patience and respect. Yes it is true that some guides are a bit demanding... but most are the ultimate professionals that will enjoy teaching you all the basics. Make sure to book your trip early, most of the very good guides are booked solid months in advance. Best time to go is all weather dependant but the best days are usually from mid-April to mid-June. I have also met a great guide based in Islamorada, never fished with him, but he was most helpful one day as I was trying to land a fish on my own..... Capt. Steve Friedman at www.afishingguide.com
I was lucky to learn with a great guide named Vaughn Cochran, he is retired now, but owns a couple of fly shops in North Florida (www.Vaughcochranart.com). Send him an e-mail or call him and see if he recommends anyone in particular. I know that he will be hosting a trip in Mexico at Isla Holbox this coming May that would be the perfect intro to tarpon fishing for you. Be careful, tarpon fishing is VERY addictive! :)
 

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I'm also working on a tarpon trip with Florida as the destination. Here is an outfitter that did some shows with Flip Pallot's Walker Cay Chronicles - www.bocagrandeoutfitters.com

I'm not sure if my family will be going along, so if you are going solo maybe we could split the charters..

doug
 
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