There’s nothing quite like the fight of a tarpon on the end of your line. These enormous fish can put up a heck of a battle, and provide an adrenaline rush like no other. If you’re looking to catch one of these beasts, you’ll need the perfect bait. Luckily, we’ve got just what you need. Keep reading to learn more.
How To Choose Fishing Bait For Tarpon
Before going fishing, it is always important to have all your gears ready so as not to waste time once you arrive at your destination. Tarpon fishing is popular in the Florida area so better have a tackle that will be ideal for this destination. One of the most important things that you have to decide on is what bait you will choose. Below are some suggestions:
This type of fishing is usually done at night so better use a live bait, such as herring and mullet, or shrimp. You can try squid too, but this is relatively new and there are not a lot of people who can say whether squid will work or not.
One type of bait that you can try which works very well for different fish species, including tarpon, is the cigar minnows. This good since it does not require too much preparation and can be stored at room temperature. Since it is alive, it can swim and thus the fish will easily get attracted to it.
If you want a more lively bait then better use grunts since they offer a great view when jumping out of the water and swimming near their prey. They are relatively small and can fit in most hooks designed for this type of fish.
If you are not planning to go for this type of fishing, then better use artificial baits instead, such as rubber skirts and plastic grubs. These can be custom made since you are free to design it the way you want it. Just make sure that the color is one that will attract tarpon so you can be sure it will work.
To make things easier for you, there are now a lot of online stores that offer bait and tackle gears and accessories for this type of fishing. You can check out these sites and see which one offers the best deals. This way, you will not only save time but also money since they usually offer discount schemes and free shipping.
When going to a store that specializes in tarpon bait, then you can choose among the different types that they carry. It is best to give yourself some time to inspect each product first before buying anything since this will provide you with more options once you get home. There are also shops that allow customizing your bait so you are free to customize every feature. Aside from the color, it is also best to consider its size and weight since these can make a difference in how fast your fishing line will sink down.
Top 5 Best Live Bait For Tarpon
The most popular live bait for tarpon is sardine, this is followed by menhaden and pilchard. This bait isn’t fussy when it comes to rigging, most anglers lean toward a Texas rig with 6/0-8/0 circle hooks. This is the same practice that has been used for decades in Florida, but can be very effective from Maine to Mexico.
Menhaden is a preferred live bait for many anglers that fish the inshore and nearshore waters of saltwater flats. Look for small menhaden up to two pounds for this style of fishing, especially in the summer months. Fish this bait like you would sardines, using 6/0-8/0 circle hooks and Texas rigging.
Pilchards are a preferred live bait for many anglers that fish the nearshore waters of the Gulf Coast in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. This is especially true when targeting big tarpon in the late spring and summer months. Pilchards are a much different live bait when compared to sardines or menhaden, they have a lot more bulk and usually work best on a Carolina rig with a 5/0-8/0 circle hook rigged in their mouth.
4. Menhaden Grubs
Menhaden grubs are not the most common live bait used for tarpon, but they do have their place in big tarpon fishing. The hook size you use with these baits is usually 1/0-4/0, especially when fishing over grass flats or along the edge of mangroves. Fish this bait just like you would a pilchard, using the Carolina Rig with circle hook.
Whitebait are typically used for big tarpon when fishing around docks at night, but can also be an effective bait during the day as well if spooky fish are being encountered. It is important to keep this bait moving and in constant motion when fishing around docks and under lights to keep the attention of the fish, that is why anglers will often rig this bait on a 7/0-9/0 circle hook and use a slow retrieve.
If you’re looking to reel in a tarpon, make sure you have the perfect bait. The next time you’re out on the water, be sure to try one of these baits and see how big of a fish you can bring in. With so many different options to choose from, there’s no excuse not to go out and catch the biggest tarpon around!