I try to avoid tarpon trips mainly because of this. You get out there sometimes and you get to see thousands of tarpon not wanting to bite. If you fish tarpon a lot you get into the crazy bites, but just going once and a while and during the normal 8:00 to 4:00 schedule you can get skunked. I believe the bite on this day started around 6:00 which is pretty normal, a strong bite from 8:00 to 4:00 is fairly abnormal, but you get to see plenty of fish that are not biting.
Since most of my clients rent boats and rental boats are not allowed out after dark, I rarely get a chance to fish the peak times for tarpon. When I get to change the schedule I do all right, but I have had a large number of crack of dawn starts turn into crack of noon starts thanks to Duval Street and finding lots of live bait not being so lively, a lot like the clients that did the Duval Crawl.
In any case, the tarpon bite has been hot for them that are dedicated to fishing for tarpon. Crabs are the primary bait now that it is May, but when they are biting they will eat just about anything.
As usual most of my trips were more generic catching/drinking excursions designed to avoid rough water. Thanks to the luck of the draw, I didn't get offshore the past two weeks which has also been a pretty good bite provided you are willing to travel a good bit. The Gulf Stream has been spending more time well South than normal so some of the "hot" spots aren't. I heard the Islamarada Hump was dead for a few days so the Islamarada gang was fishing the 409 hump and the Marathon gang was having to go a bit past the wall. There are plenty of fish in closer but you have to be a bit luckier than normal when the current is dead. Because of this a lot of charters are doing the deep drop routine or hitting Mutton wrecks to make their day. Nothing wrong with having plans b through d to fall back on.
Booking has been a torment as usual. More walk-ups than prebooks but such is life. We are moving into the "easy" offshore season when the ocean seems to be full of schoolie dolphin. My last few offshore trips have been nothing but gaffers, meaning not a lot of fish but a lot of good fish, and now it will become lots of fish and not a lot of "good" fish requiring a gaff to get into the boat. Its all good.
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