When the rain falls here on the Space Coast you know the fishing around the culverts and creek mouths will be good in the intercoastal. The typical species show up like Redfish, Trout, Ladyfish, Black drum, and sometimes Snook, however every so often the Silver King will show his face and that face isn't the hundred pound size but rather the baby version. Infact this showing of baby Tarpon has some in the Science community questioning how and where these Tarpon come from. You see, for years it has been thought that Tarpon head offshore to spawn and that the egg and larvae ride the tides back into the backwaters where they spend the next few years of their life. This idea doesn't sound to far fetched for areas with access to the Ocean but the north end of the Indian River and the south end of the Mosquito Lagoon are far removed from any open inlet system.
This begs the question of weather these fish breed inshore much like the Bull Redfish in the Mosquito Lagoon, DNA data has been collected on these baby Tarpon for a few years now by a few of the best Tarpon fisherman in the area. The DNA samples are taken with the items provided in the "FREE" kit that FWC provides that are available at local tackle shops of through FWC. Once a sample is taken they are sent to
FWC-Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
Attn: Tarpon Genetics
100 8th Avenue SE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
The little Tarpon bite has been wide open these past few days with all the rain we have had. My favorite way to target them is with a Fly Rod. These pint size Tarpon are just as aggressive as the hundred pound version and will take a Fly if it matches the size of the prey items they are feeding on.
So with all the rain that fell the past few days I knew it was time to go looking for them. I got to the first spot just as the sky broke with the first light of the mornings sun and I wasn't disappointed. Everywhere I looked there were Tarpon rolling, there must have been hundreds of them and on the very first cast of the Fly Rod this morning I was rewarded with this amazing mini replica of a hundred pounder:
Once a DNA sample was taken he was placed back into his nursery. A little while later I picked up another one also on Fly
My buddy Capt. Scott Rawson showed up with his brand new Fly combo in search of his first Tarpon on fly. By this time most of the Tarpon had stopped rolling, so we moved to another area where I have found them in the past and wouldn't you know it Scott made a great cast in tight quarters and got his first Tarpon:
I ended up with a few more
If you fish for Tarpon of any size please take the time to get a DNA sample of the fish so that future Anglers may enjoy catching these amazing fish.
My fish came on a Fly I call Trey's Mullet: