Tarpon Season Is Coming!
It is a very exciting time here in Chetumal Bay. The coming months will be bringing lighter winds, warmer days and an influx of big, hungry Tarpon. These will soon have started their migration from the US down to Mexico and from the south up, converging on the flats around northern Chetumal Bay and Rio Hondo in big numbers. These fish are large and plentiful, with fish in excess of 100lbs caught throughout the season.
Our Tarpon season starts around mid-late April and runs through until September. During this period we have consistent fishing in a variety of different settings depending on the weather conditions and what you are looking to do. Our migratory fish are also hungry having traveled long distances to get here. This makes for some great sport, especially at the start of the season. As the season progresses the fishing can get more technical, with more refined leaders, presentations and smaller flies, however, once it all comes together and you find the correct formula, the sport can be consistent all day long.
Our standard approach for targeting both the migratory and larger resident Tarpon here is to fish either an #11 or preferably #10 fly rod with a full float tropical line. Our preference of line is the Cortland Liquid Crystal Tarpon line in either line rating. We really like this line as its a dull blue color which is visible for us on the poling platform, allowing us to track your fly, whilst at the same time not being too bright like other lines on the market which avoids spooking. We are also a big fan of the Liquid Crystal Clear line which is killer for spooky fish. Attached to this we have a home tied leader built to cut through the wind and turn over your fly. We usually tend to opt for a break down of 60-40-20 in mono and then a bite tippet of 40lbs fluorocarbon. From this we refine down depending on the conditions, fish reaction and anglers preference to fish IGFA or not.
Targeting migratory tarpon with spin gear is a standard approach of a 15-30lbs class spin rod, 4000 size reel, and 40lbs braid. Similar to the fly set up we will add around 2-3ft of 40lbs fluorocarbon bite tippet to the end of the braid, before attaching the lure/bait. We tend to throw hard baits like the Mirrolure style topwater baits or soft plastic baits rigged weedless like the hoggy or Z-man shad type baits. If we are bait fishing then usually pitching a live Sardine or Swimming Crab is deadly.
Our fly choice is pretty standard with flies ranging from 'Toad' style flies in white or chartreuse and yellow working well. The 'Black Death' style color scheme also produces eats. In addition to this, 'Bunnies' in white or chartreuse and yellow or the standard colored 'Cockroach' are also very effective. We have a few flies of our own design which also produce eats when the fishing gets tough. Generally I would tend to throw smaller flies in a 1/0 size however success can be found throwing bigger 3/0 or 4/0 sized flies for fresh ocean side fish that want a meal.
It is also important to note that whilst we look forward to our migratory Tarpon season, we do have regular and pretty consistent Tarpon and Snook fishing year round in the northern cenotes of Sian Ka'an, as well as the Rio Hondo basin. These fish tend to average a little smaller than our the migratory fish, but Tarpon in excess of 60lbs are always a possibility.
Hopefully, this has been of interest as an insight into one of our main target for the coming months and how we prepare to fish for them. If you are looking to come to Chetumal Bay to target these monsters or already have a vacation booked and want to get out there, then drop us a line via the 'Contact Us' page or book your day here.