Center console boats are ideally suited for tarpon fishing.
Center console boats, such as those in the SeaSquared fleet, are more appropriate for tarpon fishing than outsized sport fishing vessels. The SeaSquared boats facilitate 360-degree fishing, which is essential as the tarpon tend to give you quite a workout back and forth across the bow of the boat!
At 25 to 32 feet in length with wide fishing platforms, the SeaSquared boats safely and comfortably accommodate multiple tarpon anglers. At the same time, the boats maneuver easily through the stop-and-go chaos of chasing down a tarpon.
Please note: because of the technique used, we fish no more than two tarpon anglers at a time on any of our boats. So, if you have more than two anglers in your party, it will be necessary for you to take turns at the rod.
SeaSquared Charters specializes in light tackle, live bait fishing for tarpon. This type of fishing puts the tarpon angler to the test.
Depending on the venue we’re fishing, we use live crabs or live mullet as bait. Once we are sure we’re in the presence of schools of tarpon, we anchor the boat and free line a lively bait down current in the direction of the fish.
For tarpon fishing, we use 20-pound spinning tackle with 9/0 circle hooks. Circle hooks will lodge in the corner of the tarpon’s jaw. If the fish pulls the hook before we have a chance to remove it, it will quickly rust away and cause no harm to the tarpon whatsoever.
The action of the tarpon taking the bait is often subtle, and it may take an angler a few tries before there’s a successful hook-up. Then, it’s game on!
Tarpon fishing at these famed Florida Keys bridges requires expert boat-handling skills on the part of the Captain.
Once our anglers have a tarpon hooked up, we release the boat from our anchor ball and chase the fish. This pursuit can take the boat around bridge pilings, through the maze of other boats, out to deeper waters and back before the tarpon is successfully landed.
Tarpon are very strong and typically provide a hard initial run following by soaring leaps and acrobatics. When it’s man (or woman) vs. fish, the fight can last anywhere from a brief few seconds to an hour or more.
We value these beautiful game fish and do whatever possible to protect them. We don’t allow the fish to run too long without setting the hook nor fight it to the point of exhaustion.
The thrill of the catch cannot overshadow the importance of a proper release.
If our angler successfully brings the tarpon to the side of the boat for release, we leave it in the water for picture-taking, remove the hook and – if possible – take a DNA sample for Florida’s tarpon research program.
An evening tarpon trip is quite often topped off with a world-famous Florida Keys sunset!