Gulf Coast Fishing Guide
Offshore Fishing for Tarpon
Editor’s Note: Let's face the fact that in the South, we have some of the finest saltwater fishing, both inshore and offshore of any region in the nation. During the spring and summer months, we can fish by day and by night with great success. I've named some of the top inshore and offshore fishing destinations in our area, all places where I've caught fish before, and you can, too.
St. Andrews Sound near Brunswick, Georgia - I don't know of any southern tarpon hot spot more dependable than St. Andrews Sound. As the tide goes out and in, giant silver sides come loping through the water in the sound, heading to or from the Atlantic Ocean. People across the South know this area around Jekyll Island more for its yachting, tennis and golf than for tarpon fishing.
Greg Hildreth, one of the few charter-boat captains in this part of Georgia, will put you on tarpon. At this destination, you won't have crowded water when fishing for the silver kings of the summer sky and probably won’t see more than 10 boats fishing for tarpon. In a morning's or an afternoon's fishing, an angler generally will jump one to five tarpon with Hildreth. On a really good day, a fisherman who fishes all day may jump eightto 20 tarpon. Hildreth says that, "The bait is the key. When the menhaden come in, so do the tarpon." Fishing a live menhaden suspended by a cork, whole dead menhaden floated out behind the boat and cut menhaden fished on the bottom all will produce tarpon in this region. To have the most-fresh menhaden available for your fishing, use a cast net on the morning youplan to fish. Then anchor-up outside the pass, and let the tide carry your bait to the oncoming tarpon.
Honorable Mentions for Tarpon:
Boca Grande, Florida - Anglers know about this premier tarpon-fishing area on the Gulf of Mexico where during tarpon season, you almost can step from boat to boat because so many anglers fish in the pass. To stay away from the crowd, instead of fishing right in Boca Grande Pass, fish outside the pass away from the crowd or well inside the pass. Too, at first light, motor along the beach looking for the tarpon headed toward the pass on an incoming tide or away from the pass on an outgoing tide.
Apalachicola, Florida - The tarpon go in and out of East Pass and West Pass at Apalachicola on the Gulf of Mexico. You can enjoy fantastic fishing there and won't see numbers of other boats. At Apalach, you don't have to worry about the tarpons biting, because the sharks in the area will.
Grand Isle, Louisiana - I can't report on tarpon fishing and leave out Grand Isle, one of the most-productive tarpon spots on the Gulf Coast.
The Information You Need for the Best Tarpon Fishing:
* Captain Greg Hildreth, Hildreth Charters: (912) 261-1763, http://www.georgiacharterfishing.com/
Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce: http://www.brunswick-georgia.com/chamber/
* Boca Grande, Florida
Boca Grande Chamber of Commerce: http://www.bocagrandechamber.com/
Port Charlotte, Florida, Chamber of Commerce: http://www.pureflorida.com/
* Apalachicola, Florida
Silver King Charters, % Captain Mike Parker (877) 827-7667, www.destincharterboats.com
St. George Island state park: (850) 927-2111, http://www.floridastateparks.org/stgeorgeisland/default.asp
* Grand Isle, Louisiana
Captain Joe Schouest: (985) 594-6626
Chamber of Commerce: (985) 787-2997, http://www.grand-isle.com/
Tomorrow: Offshore Fishing for Red Snapper