• Captain John Tarr

Florida Fishing at its Finest


As the owner and operator of Tailhunter Outdoor Adventures, my primary goal is to make my clients happy. I work hard to make sure each and every trip meets their desires and offers them the opportunity to make memories that will last a lifetime. The work is not easy, but it is very rewarding and there is nothing else I would rather be doing. The last few weeks in Florida have been hot. This has made the job a little more difficult, as far as comfort levels go. We have routinely had temperatures in the upper 90's, with the "real feel" temperature breaking 100. Heat and humidity can make it a little hard to stay on the water all day, so most trips have been focusing on half day or six hour trips. To make the best of it, I've been launching early, before the sun begins to peak above the horizon.

This time of year has been providing a spectacular reason to get out early. We have hit the peak of the bioluminescence season. Microorgamisms in the water give off light, when they are disturbed. This leads to a gorgeous display of light and electricity in the water. The boat appears to be hovering over a blue-green glow, while the wakes pushing off the bow create ripples of blue-green light dancing across the water's surface. When baitfish move off, they appear to glow too, making for dazzling scenarios. The real show starts when a predator begins crashing bait; this creates an underwater fireworks show and the resulting droplets of water create an effect that you have to see in person to understand the beauty. It truly is something to behold and one reason why some people just want to enjoy a nighttime cruise; watching and experiencing this show while enjoying the coolness of the night. Check out this brief video for a preview.

Morning fishing trips have started off hitting some dock lights along the ICW. Each dock light has its own little ecosystem surrounding it and the fishing varies from location to location. Seatrout on one dock, snook on the next, tarpon in the shadows of a third, fast swimming jacks or ladyfish on yet another, and maybe even a school of redfish on one. It is a great way to start the day and bent rods are usually the result of matching the bait around the light. We have taken several seatrout in the 18" to 25" range and have seen some bigger. Snook have been the same, with some monsters lurking in the shadows that can be difficult to entice.

As the sun begins to break the horizon, the lights shut off and the activity shifts. For the last two weeks, the shift has gone to chasing some big tarpon. While big tarpon have been the area for a while, they have begun concentrating in some areas that are easier to fish than the channels of the ICW. I have a few different spots where they come through in good numbers, and feed upon mullet in the area. It still isn't a guarantee that they will eat, but the chances are greatly increased over the typical areas. We have jumped fished in the 60-80 pound range, missed a few larger ones, and have seen some triple digit monsters. The action uses heavier tackle; heavy spinning gear, and 11-weight fly rods. In particular, they have been crushing the Gamechanger Muller Fly.

This fly has unbelievable action and the fish just cannot seem to resist it, if it is placed in the right position. The hard part, keeping these fish attached. The first 45 seconds is hectic; trying to get a good hook set, remembering to bow to the jumping fish, all while keeping the line from jumping off the deck and wrapping around foreign objects. These fish can be aggravating, rolling and free jumping all around, while refusing to take your offering. But, when they eat, it is great! Well worth a little aggravation.

Once the tarpon move deeper, I've been moving on to redfish. The redfish have been plentiful and they have been active. Fly fishing has been the choice for chasing them recently, and they have been happy to take offerings. The fish have been tailing and backing along the shorelines. This makes for great sight fishing conditions. Understand though, it is still a challenge. The fish are in shallow water and they are spooky. Presentations must be perfect, leading a fish enough not to spook them, while putting it close enough to entice them. Small baitfish flies have been working the best; especially the Boo Baitfish that I tie. Proper presentation results in hook ups and great fighting action. These are just a couple of the recent upper and over slot redfish taken this week.

So, don't let the heat scare you. We have ways to remain comfortable while still enjoying some great fishing action. In fact, we may have the best fishing action Florida has to offer right now. There is a chance every day to catch a slam or grandslam. It may take hard work, but that doesn't bother me at all. Come join me for some well deserved time on the water and make your dreams come true.

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