Tarpon fishing on the Georgia Coast!
Well, summer is here and so are the big fish! Many people associate August as the month for tarpon on the Georgia coast! Right now fish from south of Savannah are moving into our waters. Later in the season even into fall fish north of us will into our waters. Favorite places to fish are troughs between sandbars, along sandbars and mouths of sloughs. Fishermen will often set anchor waiting for the fish to show or perhaps drift with baits trailing behind their boat.
The number of rods to fish varies from one to four. Typically fishermen will have some on top of the water and some on the bottom. One of the best baits is large ocean menhaden. Other good baits are mullet, ladyfish and pinfish. Many of the best local fishermen believe in chumming provided you have plenty of baits on hand.
One veteran tarpon fisherman says you’ll catch seven sharks for a shot at tarpon. Those numbers seem pretty accurate to me. Always look for give aways! When you are looking for tarpon you’ll be amazed that at times you can spot them. Bait fish popping on top of the water is another good sign.
When you hook a big fish be prepared to chase your fish. If stay at anchor you’ll likely lose that fish. A polyfoam float ball tied to the tag end of your anchor means you can quickly jettison from your anchorage to chase that fish. These are powerful fish that often go airborne in shallow water. Fishermen are told to “bow to the king”. Tarpon are aptly referred to as the silver king. When the fish jumps bow so the fish doesn’t land on a taut line. This is easier to say than to do. The fight is impressive. Stout rods and reel are in order: 7 to 8 foot heavy action rods matched Shimano baitcaster (such as torium 30’s or other powerful reels with smooth drags).
Most fishermen prefer circle hooks. The size can vary depending on the manufacture. Like most fishing matching your hook size to the bait make sense. Drags too tight will rip out of the fishes mouth. An average leader weight is 150 lbs. This sounds heavy but it can be effective. Lastly, on circle hooks let the rod and hook do the work for you. Don’t pick up your rod until the fish is on. Leader length depends a lot on how well you can cast it out. An average is about 5 feet. Try not to go much shorter.
Here are some of the basic of tarpon fishing near Savannah. Will write more in other reports. Hope this is of interest and help!
Capt. Jack McGowan
Coastal River Charters