As the tarpon migrate from the Keys they follow a historical path along the coast of Southwest Florida. As they migrate up the coast one of their favorite places to rest and feed is the 10,000 islands and Everglades National Park. This area offers an endless maze of mangrove islands that form the bays, creeks, and rivers that tarpon love to hangout.
This is one of the easiest places in Florida to catch a tarpon on fly or light tackle. The behavior of the tarpon when they arrive in the islands becomes more laid back and relaxed. The reason for this is the water is darker and are less likely to spook from a bad cast.
There are a couple ways we fish to 10,000 islands tarpon, slow rolling and “laid up”. The slow rolling tarpon are coming to the surface and gulping air. They make a distinct sound that only a tarpon enthusiast knows. As the tarpon rolls back into the water it will release the air forming bubbles a give away to where it is sitting. A well placed fly or lure just passed the bubbles that’s allowed to settle before giving it action will entice a strike that will leave you shaking during the fight. My favorite is the “laid up” tarpon. A laid up tarpon is just as it sounds, laying just underneath the surface of the water almost in a sleep-like state waiting to eat anything that swims by to close. A well placed fly stripped in front of the nose will almost always entice a strike. This is the perfect target for the fly rod anglers.
Marco Island to Everglades city is the best section in the chain of islands to fish for tarpon. We will depart from Calusa Island Marina in Goodland. This marina location provides the best opportunity to fish the area.