Early morning is a great time to fish for tarpon. Because tarpon are mostly nocturnal feeders, lowlight conditions are the best times to target these fish. Most of the fishing charters will get out on the water before first light to make sure you are on the spot just as it is getting light out. The first few hours in the morning can be very productive.
The afternoon is the worst time of day to fish for tarpon. However, it is common to see large schools of 20 to more than 100 tarpon roaming the beaches and even bigger schools of tarpon can be found in deeper water around the passes and bridges during the annual migration. Because so many tarpon can be found, it’s still very possible to have some great fishing days during the afternoon. It’s simply a numbers game. If you have the opportunity to get your bait in front of dozens of fish in a day, you should be able to hook up with a few of them.
The evening is a great time to fish for tarpon. Because tarpon are mostly nocturnal, the evening is when the fishing is usually just starting to get good. The best bite may happen overnight, but you can definitely experience some great fishing at night. Moving water is still very important though. The better bite will usually come on the evenings that coincide with a strong incoming or outgoing tide.
The night time provides some of the best fishing for tarpon, but fishing in the dark for tarpon can be quite a challenge. Landing a tarpon during the day can be a challenge, but at night, it can be flat out difficult from a boat. Make sure you have some good flashlights, know the water you are fishing, pay attention to the current and anything that the boat can run into such as bridges, docks, the shoreline and very shallow flats.
If you know what you’re doing while fishing at night, tarpon fishing can be good in many different areas. The flats will hold some fish during higher water, but make sure that you don’t get stuck on a flat as the water recedes. Tarpon will be found around bridges, near docks, in passes and along the beaches.
Fishing from shore can also be effective for tarpon at night. If you have the opportunity to fish a pass or some lighted docks, the fishing can be much easier on shore. If you are in a good fishing spot for tarpon, you will usually see the tarpon feeding in the lights. At times, you can hear the tarpon popping shrimp all over the place on the surface. Shrimp-imitating flies are the go to bait when you see tarpon feeding this way.