South Carolina Tarpon Fishing
South Carolina Tarpon Fishing? When people think of fishing for Tarpon most think of the Florida Keys, Everglades or other destinations. Atlantic Tarpon have broad range. Often migrating north to Virginia to the western Atlantic. Mature fish migrate north every Summer and take up residence along the South Carolina Coast. Pods of Tarpon can be seen swimming, rolling or feeding off the beaches, inlets, rivers and bays. These fish are normally close to the large schools of mullet and Menhaden which provide a steady food source for the large beasts. Tarpon have a swim bladder which gives them the ability to gulp air when they surface. We often see them doing this on calm hot days especially in oxygen deprived back bays. This trait gives them extreme stamina during long battles. Pound for pound the strength and endurance of the Atlantic Tarpon is unparalleled. Explosive jumps and long burning runs are why so many dream about catching the Silver King!
South Carolina Tarpon “Silver King”
When fishing South Carolina waters the Tarpon we encounter are usually adults and range from 60 – 125 pounds. The South Carolina State Record Tarpon is 154 pounds while the World Record is in the 300’s! The South Carolina Tarpon fishery is very dynamic and is the ultimate challenge of patience, tackle and skill. Tarpon can be targeted in many different ways, however I feel sight casting is the most exciting way to target these huge fish. On my skiff we cast soft plastic lures, subsurface plugs and flies. On good days we often see numbers of fish rolling, feeding or swimming along shallow bars, inlets and rivers. Having a height advantage from a poling tower or casting platform is essential for sight fishing our inshore waters.
Tackle can vary depending on where and how we are fishing. We primarily cast and hardly ever use bait. For plugs and artificial lures I choose a Medium – Heavy spinning rod paired with a 6000 size reel. Strong smooth drags with 40 or 50 pound braided line coupled with 60lb fluorocarbon leader. Even though most anglers use heavier line, I prefer light line for casting plugs and soft plastics. It’s important to realize lighter line gives you exponentially more distance, capacity and feel. The distance helps you stay off of pressured fish and allows you to cover more water with each cast. Light Tackle Spin fishing for tarpon video
Fly Fishing for South Carolina Tarpon
Fly Fishing For Tarpon is the ultimate challenging and really the apex of fly fishing in saltwater. South Carolina Tarpon are typically large and require stout fly rods in the 11 and 12 weight range, especially if fishing in or adjacent to heavy current and depth. Reels with strong drags and plenty of backing are a must! Floating, intermediate or full sinking lines can be used depending on the situation. When fishing sinking lines, we deploy shorter leaders than the standard 9-12′ to prevent the fly from riding above the line. Tides, ocean currents and wind all influence the Tarpons behavior and movement.
To sum it up, Tarpon fishing is ever changing and requires constant study of tides, currents, moon phases and water temperature. Tarpon can and will travel great distances in a single tide. If you’re in Myrtle Beach, Pawleys Island or Georgetown, SC and would like to spend a day on the water chasing Tarpon give Captain Jeff Lattig a call to book your Tarpon fishing charter.