The days are long and the temperatures are hot. The mornings are still and muggy and the water temps are into the 80s. Afternoon thunderstorms begin to pop up nearly everyday–you could almost set your clock by ’em. That’s right, it’s summer time here in Tampa Bay, Florida. While a lot people dread this time of year here in the sunshine state, us fishermen long for it. Because when we begin seeing this weather pattern and water temps, that can only mean one thing: The tarpon are in town! Anglers wait all year for this time of year. Having a chance at a silver king is atop almost every angler’s bucket list. Their high-flying acrobatics, long runs and brute strength make them one of the most sought after game fish. Landing one of these fish is no easy task. Even once hooked, the chances of landing a tarpon is slim. Their ferocious head shakes will have even the most skilled angler “bowing to the king”. Landing beastly tarpon is definitely worth bragging about, even from a powerboat, and some anglers go through their entire life chasing them; with some never achieving their goal. But then there are those anglers that take it a step beyond. I’m talking chasing tarpon from kayaks!
Tarpon fishing from a kayak is a thrill like no other. Although your first initial thought may be, “That’s crazy!”, but it’s not as crazy as you may think. There are actually benefits to targeting tarpon via kayak.
Once a tarpon is hooked on a kayak, you begin as what is known in the kayak fishing world as a “sleigh ride”. This is where the fish drags you around as it struggles to free itself. This is an exhilarating moment, but there’s more to it than just being dragged around. You see, your boat acts as a secondary drag to your reel. This allows you to be able to finesse the fish better on lighter tackle. And with the stability and maneuverability of today’s fishing kayaks, you are able to “control” the fish to your liking. Of course the fish is still going to try its best to shake that hook, and it will. But having a slight advantage can make all the difference.
Tampa Bay holds copious amounts of tarpon during this time of year, so it makes sense to target them here. Hiring a guide can maximize your time out on the water and improve your chances at hooking up and eventually landing your silver king from a kayak. Fishing from a kayak is a skill that takes practice, but with the right guide, your learning curve can be cut down significantly. Be warned though: kayak fishing is addictive. And your first tarpon from a kayak will sure to be the highlight of your fishing career!