Spots for tarpon popping

Discussion in 'Jigging and Popping' started by BretABaker, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    I realized I don't have many plans this weekend and wouldn't mind trying to throw some poppers or swimbaits for tarpon. I don't want to drive more than 2 hours or so and won't be on a boat so it'd be shore or jetty.

    Anyone have any ideas? I've heard they're really thick off the Mansfield jetties this time of year but that's pretty far away.

    If anyone knows/would want to go let me know
     
  2. rtran

    rtran Senior Member

    1,579
    3
    haha that sounds fun, they get pretty big too
     

  3. Pope

    Pope Senior Member

    1,718
    279
    Good luck. That is a hard thing to pull off. They are notorious for turning their noses up to artificials. The mansfield jetties and Cavallo Pass are the only places within range of Houston. You would also have to catch a ride to Cavallo Pass. I also would throw swim baits before poppers. I have never seen one hit a popper. I am sure they do now and then, but I have seen them hit swim baits sometimes. They have to be in the mood. Throwing plastic to tarpon is one of the most frustrating things I have ever done.

    Use the lightest jig head possible. They will use the weight of the jig head to throw the lure. I know they don't consciencely do this, but it happens 9 times out of 10. Like I said..Good luck.
     
  4. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    ugh. thats too far away.
     
  5. kidflex

    kidflex Senior Member

    1,558
    30
    they didnt seem to have any problem with 2-3 oz jigheads ziptied to a 16/0 circle hook in galveston bay.they werent leader shy either. we used 200 lb mono crimped.
     
  6. Pope

    Pope Senior Member

    1,718
    279
    True, but you weren't casting to them with a j hook.
     
  7. Mitchw123456

    Mitchw123456 Senior Member

    247
    0
    they didnt seem to have any problem with 2-3 oz jigheads ziptied to a 16/0 circle hook in galveston bay.they werent leader shy either. we used 200 lb mono crimped.

    True, but you weren't casting to them with a j hook.

    Actually I cast coon pops all the time to tarpon, and essentially that is what kidflex described. The reason you get away with using those heavy lead heads is because they are designed to throw the weight off and leave you with just a straight hook. Every tarpon I've jumped have been on coon pops but all were from my kayak.

    Bret, without going to mansfield you aren't going to have even almost a decent chance of finding a tarpon. The tarpon have all but left the upper coast by this time of year and honestly they never get thick enough here just to go out and cast for them without hours of searching. The closest I found tarpon this year in this area was 6 miles off of the west end of galveston. We followed that school by kayak for another 10 miles jumping many but never landing one :mad:

    Good luck, you're going to need it! Your best bet right now if you just want to pull on something would be bull reds as they are thick off the surf and jetties now.
     
  8. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    how do bull reds respond to lures? i've only caught them on bait.
     
  9. Pope

    Pope Senior Member

    1,718
    279
    That is what I meant. Casting coon pops is one thing, casting swim baits with j hooks is another.
     
  10. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    i'd be using trebles........this sounds more like something id need to plan and give myself a couple days straight at mansfield.
     
  11. Mitchw123456

    Mitchw123456 Senior Member

    247
    0
    how do bull reds respond to lures? i've only caught them on bait.


    They will eat lures just like they will a dead hunk o' mullet. I've caught several on Frenzy Poppers. If you don't have any of those I'm sure you have some diamond jigs.. Just toss those like yo uwould a normal spoon and they will hit them also
     
  12. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

    2,835
    107
    Port Mansfield Jetties isn't accessible from the city of Port Mansfield unless you have a boat. Port Mansfield is set back on the mainland like Aransas Pass. There is no road to the beach or jetties. You have to make a very long haul along the beach (60 or so miles) in a 4-wheel drive vehicle and fight Ike debris and other horrible obstacles. I've gotten stuck in the thick sand and had to spend the night a few times waiting for another truck to come by and help. The coast guard flys the beach looking for stranded vehicles once a day.

    If you are set on the Mansfield Jetties, try to bum a ride from the city harbor to the jetties from a fisherman. Getting back from the Jetties would be a major problem if that same guy who dropped you off didn't return to pick you up.:eek:

    If you just want to fish and bend a rod, I'd go after the bull reds. They are thick right now. Just return them as they are spawning right now. Those big reds are horrible food fare. Let them live for breeding purposes. They can get up 40#s. I've caught them on swimbaits like rapala's and russel lures while trolling around the end of the jetties. Live perch are your best bet. They even love ribbonfish.
     
  13. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    yeah ive caught a few reds...the ones i caught didn't fight that hard so i didn't fish for them much. actually their fight reminded me of striped bass.

    mitch - i've got a bunch of poppers/swimbaits. i was thinking of throwing some of the swimbaits first then switching it up. and.....no one's tackle box should ever be void of hammered diamond jigs :) i'll probably throw them just as i would diamond jigs for stripers.

    sounds like the mansfield this is a major PITA unless you happen to know someone with a boat.
     
  14. Mitchw123456

    Mitchw123456 Senior Member

    247
    0
    yes mansfield means a long drive in deep sand on a debri covered beach right now. The reds this time of year are going to be very lazy though fight wise as they are spawning and already wore out. The good thing though is that they are out looking for an easy meal.
     
  15. Snagged

    Snagged Senior Member

    1,374
    5
    MrBill,
    Sandtrout are another great bait for reds.
     
  16. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

    2,835
    107
    Bret,

    Just to let you know, a friend of mine caught two tarpon this week off the end of the Port A jetties. He was in a small bay boat. He released them. One was around three feet, the bigger one was a little over four feet.
     
  17. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

    2,835
    107
    Well, the tarpon are still biting. Here's a couple of pics from yesterday evening. Five tarpon total brought to the boat. All released.
     

    Attached Files:

  18. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    thanks, mrbill. doesnt look like ill have time this year...though would really like to get a tarpon at some point. theyre not a northern fish so ive never fished for them.

    how did your friends catch them?
     
  19. SpecialK

    SpecialK Super Moderator

    1,569
    18
    Bret, Though I have never caught a have always wanted to.
    I have a 22' Century that we could chase them in if you decide to come down next year. Alll of my friends arre so die hard off shore they will never stay in and try new things...
    We should definately set something up next year.
     
  20. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

    2,835
    107
    how did your friends catch them?

    On a small 18' boat drifting and casting big live mullet within 100 yards of the end of the jetties. Light tackle sight casting when the tarpon roll on the top.
    It's only a 33% ratio of getting hooked up to actually getting one to the boat. That spastic jumping and flipping tends to release hooks. They are probably fishing for tarpon right now as I type. Why not. I think they have released over nine the last few days. Biggest was 70 lbs.

    I also heard the YF's are thick in some places. Not many people going after them. Blackfins are also comming within range of small boats. This is the time when things get exciting. Water cooling down and no fisherman. A man with time on his hands could have a blast this time of year.