The peak of summer tarpon fishing is upon us. Tarpon can be fished year-round, but its peak season is from early July to October
Capt. Mike Williams (www.galvestonguides.com) says if you want to catch a tarpon this summer you need to be in Tarpon Alley. The alley is described as a two mile band of water that runs offshore of the Galveston beachfront. It starts at 30 feet deep and continues until you hit 40 feet of water. “It’s like a goose migration flyway, or a two mile wide road without curbs on the sides. Ninety percent of the tarpon we catch are going to come out of that alley.”
Natural or artificial baits catch their share of the big fish, but according to Williams most tarpon chasers prefer natural bait…shad, ribbon, sand trout or a croaker. Live or dead, both work.
“We wind troll,” says Williams. “Place the boat sideways in the wind and let the wind push the boat along. Drop the baits out along the boat.”
Williams sets out four rods with the bait trolled about 50 yards behind the boat much like you would do for kingfish. He uses a #16 Mustad circle hook with no weight. Most of these natural baits are hooked through the lower jaw up through the head. Leader is six feet of 150-200 lb test monofilament, attached to a swivel, attached to your main line. He uses 50 lb. test monofilament on his reels.
“I don’t use wire leader because it’s too dangerous and I get more hits on the monofilament. Wire leaders when you are dealing with 200 lb fish can cut you in half.
Favorite artificial lure is the Coon Pop. A Coon Pop is described as mostly hook with a small plastic swimming bait. Troll four of these lures through a school of tarpon and you better has a good grip on your rod.
Boating a tarpon…”People try to fight a tarpon like any other fish,” says Williams. “Settle down and relax. It’s going to take you at least an hour to catch this fish…sometimes 2 hours, sometimes 3 hours. People lose them at the boat if they try to bring them in quicker. Tire the fish.”
On a recent drift down Tarpon Alley one of Williams’ anglers hooked up with an estimated 150-pounder.