Few seasonal migrations offer land-based anglers access to the tarpon migration. The summer minnow run that occurs along Florida's east central coast during late summer and early fall put triple-digit tarpon within a stones throw of the surf line. Fishing the minnow run offers a number of challenges to overcome. An immense volume of forage becomes available, forcing anglers to play the numbers game, making hundreds of casts for the opportunity to be noticed by a feeding tarpon.
1. Large-capacity spinning reels are recommended. A minimum of 400 yards 30lb braid are needed to tackle the largest tarpon in the surf.
2. Heavy leaders are needed to withstand the stress of land-based tarpon fishing. We recommend leaders in 80lb to 125lb weights, depending on water clarity.
3. Slow and steady retrieves are more productive than fast, erratic action. Slow down your roll. Slowtail Swimbaits are recommended when the slowest retrieves are necessary.
Tarpon Minnow Run Approach:
Location: If minnows aren't present, there's a very slim chance that tarpon will be present in any large numbers. Utilize online beach cams to quickly search for dark water along beaches, indicating minnows are present. When on the water, it's necessary to visit multiple access points to locate minnow schools, and keep moving until they are located.
Fish The Edges: When a minnow school is located with feeding tarpon, avoid the inclination to cast directly into the minnow school. The baitfish are extremely wary and will create an open circle around your lure, dramatically decreasing the chances of a strike. Place your casts five to ten feet along the outside edges of a bait school, this will give an appearance of a lost minnow, an easy target for tarpon to pickup.
Rod: 10' JC Custom Century Nor-Easter
Reel: Shimano Twinpower 8000
Line: 30lb Power Pro Slick
Leader: 80-125lb Mono & Fluoro