15 Minutes with: Capt. Ryan Sansoucy
Here’s what we learned…
Location: Lower Florida Keys
Tides: Half way through the outgoing tide through low slack.
Approach:Look for fish in skinny water; depths of 2 – 4 feet are best. Tarpon will patrol areas with a sand bottom that features contrasting colors and short vegetation. Small patches of structure such as gravel patches, shells or small rock piles should be targeted. Perfect conditions are a light wind against the tide with the sun at your back, from morning into early afternoon. The fish will be most often found where there is contrast along the bottom or in places with slight changes in water depth.
Rigging Selection: For a shallow water – weedless presentation, the 5/0 Unweighted Swim Bait Hook is perfect.
Bait Selection: The Hogy® 7inch Original.
Why this bait? The 7″ Original Hogy has enough weight to be thrown long distances, which may be necessary, and the size perfectly imitates many of the baits that big tarpon prefer.
Colors: Bone white and bubblegum are a dead tie as far as I’m concerned, but amber is a great option due to its natural, life-like color.
Retrieve: Use a fast walk-the-dog retrieve – the faster the bait is moving, the better your chances to trigger a “fight or flight” response from the fish. A fast moving bait will not allow the fish to see exactly what is swimming by and this can trigger a violent strike. If you find that fish are following your bait all the way back to the boat, try speeding up your retrieve until the tarpon commits.
Rod: Any 7′ Medium-Fast Action Spinning Rod will work.
Reel: Quantum Cabo 40
Line: 30-pound test Power Pro connected to 60-pound test fluorocarbon leader material with a triple surgeon’s knot.