3 Tips for Tarpon Fishing at Dusk

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Tarpon fishing at dusk is very challenging. Try these 3 tips for increasing your success. Photo By: Louis Cahill

Tarpon fishing at dusk, is probably one of the toughest times of the day for a saltwater fly fisherman to get a hook up.

With the sun low in the horizon, it puts 80% or more of the water in complete glare. The only good viewing area left to spot cruising fish is just a small circle of water surrounding the boat. Anglers need to be ready to make super quick shots at fish if they want to have any chance at all of getting an eat. Check out these three fishing tips I learned from fishing with Capt. Joel Dickey.

Tip #1 – Reel up all that excess fly line on the Reel

This isn’t the time to have all of your fly line stripped off and laying on the bow folks, there’s absolutely no need for it. The only good shots at tarpon you’re going to get are going to be at distances of 40 feet or less. The last thing you want, if you somehow manage a good shot at a tarpon, is end up blowing the opportunity because you’re stepping on excess fly line or get a tangle in your fly line. Making a point to only keep the fly line that is needed on the bow is going to help you manage your fly line better, and increase your shot at making a spot on cast.

Tip #2 – Be Ready to Quickly Place Your Fly Close to the Tarpon

In these high glare situations, tarpon are generally going to be spotted very close to the boat. That leaves the angler very little time to present the fly and convince a tarpon to eat, before they spot the boat and spook. Anglers need to be ready to present their fly quickly at in direction, especially with a back cast, and also be able to quickly change their casting direction in the heat of the moment. Two casts are usually all you’re going to get this time of the day, and generally it’s the first cast that’s going to make or break you. I see guys all the time in preparation for their flats trip, only practicing their long distance casts. That’s great taking the time to do this, but often it’s the short presentations on the bow where anglers strike out and miss their targets. If you’re fixing to go tarpon fishing, make sure you’re practicing your short game as well.

Tip #3 – Let your Guide and Partner Watch Your Backdoor and Play Your Strengths

Because tarpon are so difficult to spot at dusk, you’ll usually find it more productive if each person in the boat focuses on a spotting fish in different areas, rather than trying to scan all the water individually. If I’m on the bow I personally choose to focus on spotting fish where I can also make an easy forward cast presentation¬†(not presentations on my back cast). I in turn, have my partner and guide watch my back door. Let’s face it, almost all of us are more accurate making presentations with our forward cast over our back cast. Two to three seconds is often all the time you’re going to have to present your fly to a tarpon at dusk, and your margin for error with accuracy is super small. With the fishing odds stacked up against you, it just makes sense to play your strengths in this situation.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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