In the course of an “ordinary” year (one devoid of weather days that evoke Tim Burton’s vision of Gotham City in Batman…) tarpon are caught throughout the winter. In January and February, typically, three or four consecutive days of warm weather means that tarpon are on the flats and in the basins in the back country. With a competent guide, you can and will hook tarpon on the flats during the winter.
This year the cold took over, and took the winter tarpon fishing with it. And this has created an increased sense of anticipation, a feeling that the fish this year are somehow more urgently expected.
So, it happens. Despite the unnrevingly cold weather we had for the last six months (was it years???)I have heard the first real tarpon stories start to filter through. Fitz Coker, while fishing with his wife Dotty Ballantyne and guide Doug Kilpatrick, caught a tarpon (his first of the season) two days ago–24 March. The second report came from my mother, on the water today with Ryan Erickson, who jumped a large fish this morning at around 10:30 EDT.
So they’re here. And the next thing we await is the arrival of the oceanside fish.