Thursday, March 12, 2009

Night Time Is the Right Time

I did a quick interview with Captain Jeff Knapp of Beckoning Charters. Jeff's specialty is night tarpon trips. The reason I interviewed Jeff is because I fish in the day and drink at night. So for night fishing techniques who better to go to than Count Knappula.

The gear Jeff uses are 25# spinning outfits and 40# conventional outfits. Jeff doesn't endorse products unless the manufacturer gives them to him. He does have one exception. His conventional reels are Shimano TLD 20s.

His line choice is Ande Envy. He likes Envy because it has no memory and glows in the spotlight. You lose a little chafe protection because it is so soft, but the other advantages more than make up for that. Rigging is about five feet of double line made using a Bimini Twist. Leader he said should be as long as the fish size you are targeting. The length and strength of his leader material changes with the fish showing. In the early season the fish are smaller so five to six feet of 40# leader is normal early in the year. As the big girls start showing, Jeff moves up to 80# or 100# material with eight to ten foot length.

Baits also vary with the season. Pinfish are good all season long but tend to work much better in February and early March and then again in May to the end of the season. Mullet are best from the second week of April to the end of May or when the water warm up. Crabs are best in the deep warmer water after May.

For artificial lures the Bomber Long A is Captain Knapps favorite. He modifies the Long A lure by removing the center hook and replacing the front and rear hook with Size 1 VMC or red coated Penn trebles. He works these lures very slowly, often just letting them swim in the current with the rod in the rod holder. The lures are most effective just outside of the bridge shadow when there is a bright enough moon.

Lure colors change with light conditions. Natural colors are best on a bright moon. Pink has the edge just before or just after dark. Chartreuse works well in low light conditions. When sight casting a lure or natural bait to a group of tarpon do not cast into the middle of them. Try to place your bait about five feet outside the group to avoid spooking them.

Which tide is best depends on water temperature and available bait. Early in the season, February through about the second week of April, the incoming tide is the ticket. With warmer water, the outgoing is the better producer.

Because you will have to chase fish fast to keep them from fouling your line on bridge piers use a cut away anchor with ball float to allow you to get after fish fast. If you don't have a anchor ball don't be surprised if a local captain tosses you a Clorox bottle.

Boating etiquette is important especially during night tarpon fishing. When heading out or back stay up current of the boats fishing to avoid spooking fish. Idle speed near boats fishing is of course always appreciated.

"The difference between night and day tarpon fishing is night and day", Captain Jeff Knapp. His biggest fish weighed in at 185 pounds and the most fish in a single night was seventeen.

Captain Jeff Knapp fishes out of Captain Pips Marina mile marker 47.5 and be can be reached by calling (305) 849-0548 or check him out online at

Captain Knapp has a variety of trips to suit your budget. $250 for a two hour trip, $350 for a three hour, $400 for a four hour and $450 for a five hour. Mention that you heard about him from my blog and he won't charge you much more.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

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