Keys Report -- Aggressive Tarpon

The past couple of weeks have definintely seen a drop in the numbers of
large tarpon both swimming and laid up. While there are fewer fish,
there are definietly fewer anglers fishing them and the fish have been
remarkably aggressive. When the tides have been right we have
encountered guppy and shrimp hatches, with the tarpon (ranging in size
from 30 lbs to over 100lbs) feeding with reckless abandon. The fish
swimming the ocean have also been aggressive, responding to good casts
more times than not. The key with the ocean swimmers lately has been
leads of 10 to 15 feet, allowing the fly to reach the fish's depth and
then slowly, swimming the fly as the fish approaches. I have found
lighter colors to work best on these fish lately, especially tan with a
chartreuse collar. Additionally, the baby tarpon fishing has been very
good with the fish rolling along the edges of basins early and then
retreating the cover of the mangroves as the sun gets higher in the sky.

The permit fishing, particularly last week, has been outstanding.
Anglers fishing the Del Brown Invitational recorded some very
impressive numbers and although I spent the week tarpon fishing, I was
seeing mudding, cruising and tailing permit everywhere that I looked.
The summer permit fishing is generally very good, the ingredients to
success this time of the year is moving water and being blessed with a
little bit of wind (sometimes a rarity). There have also been good
numbers of bonefish feeding on both stages of the tide, particularly to
the east of Key West. On the right tide we have encountered small
schools aggressively tailing across backcountry banks and as the water
gets higher they have been both cruising and mudding. Unfortunately,
the two day sportsman lobster season is the 25th and 26th of this
month, making fishing a bleek prospect with the obscene numbers of
boats descending on Keys waters. Luckily, by friday the 27th the
lobster grabbers will be heading home and we will again have the water
to ourselves.

Drew Delashmit