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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I could use some help from the brain trust, heres the scenario-
Migratory fish (avg 60lb +\-)
Dirty brown water
Aggressively Feeding on big schools of adult mullet in 2-6’ depths.

Anyone have a pattern/color that seems to produce or crack the code for these scenarios? I’m striking out with standard and fairly large size baitfish patterns all I can think of is to keep going bigger. I can hardly get a strike out of these fish. I’ve stepped up leader length and stepped down leader diameter, tried every trick I can think of and nada.. water is too dark to sight cast so it’s really a game of waiting for them to break the surface or just blind casting around scattering mullet.
Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ya went to a intermediate/ghost tip. They were in about 4’ yesterday I didn’t think a full intermediate would make a difference. Black/purple are the main colors I’ve been throwing at them, the juves love those colors in the same area but wasn’t working for the traveling fish. The next fly I’m going to try is a really big blk/prpl tarpon snake unless I can think of something else.
 

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Tarpon Snake, size 4/0 six to seven inches long with large beadchain eyes.... in the original color -all black - see photo...Count it down until you're pretty sure it's on the bottom and strip it very slowly in long strips with a tiny twitch at the end of each strip....until it stops... We've also scored with fl. green and white fishing the fly right in their faces and moving it like the mullet do... but the deep and slow method rarely fails where we are in the 'glades in and around small rivers that drain out onto the Gulf coast out of Flamingo...

Remember, though, big fish gorging on mullet can be very, very picky about what they're eating... If I have a fly angler aboard we'll keep after them trying our best not to push or spook the school of big silver... but with most anglers that just want the thrill of a big tarpon - that fly rod isn't exactly the first thing we reach for when they're on schooled mullet or other bait....



Hope this helps
 

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I was gonna suggest a 14-inch weighted Hogy Until I remembered this is the Flyfishing forum.
 

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I Love Skinny Water
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There's an EP mullet pattern on YouTube. I use Congo fur but make it with big bead chain eyes
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It does thanks, I have one right here I was going to try. They really only want live bait but I’m on a mission, we get so many fish come through that only want mullet I’m determined to find a way to get them on fly. I try not to break out the cast net and spin tackle unless the kids are with me. It gets aggravating but it wouldn’t be fun if it was easy!
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The little fellas will eat gurglers as fast as you can get it in front of them but the big girls won’t touch them at this point in time. Unless they mistake it for a bruiser mullet I don’t think they’ll touch it.
 

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I was in the glades one day with tarpon rolling in everywhere. No real sight fishing, just casting to rollers. Nothing. Some guys came past me throwing plugs and were getting tons of eats/jumps etc. I switched to an intermediate and a heavy fly, counted it down to almost the bottom, and had an eat on the first or second cast. They’re not a ton of fun to throw but sometimes sinking lines are what it takes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks everybody, those ep mullet might be worth trying too thanks for the link!

Yes Ive tried about everything that works on the local fish but those big travelers are completely dialed in on the big mullet in this particular area. I haven't been able to get theyre attention doing anything with any fly ive tried yet, I'll try dragging the snake next time im out. The big beach cruising fish feeding on smaller bait aren't as picky but these fish are driving me up a wall..
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I haven't spent much time throwing to the rollers, they might be easier to get a bite from. Its too hard to see them tossing mullet around that violently and not try to get in on that action!
 

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hmmm post #7 - that looks familiar.... make a point of fishing all the way back to the boat -move it long and slow and just never stop... More than one guy got a bite, a big surprise, and a bath - all at the same moment fishing the Snake as fish even slap the hull with their tails as they eat the thing (when they really want it....).
 

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hmmm post #7 - that looks familiar.... make a point of fishing all the way back to the boat -move it long and slow and just never stop... More than one guy got a bite, a big surprise, and a bath - all at the same moment fishing the Snake as fish even slap the hull with their tails as they eat the thing (when they really want it....).
Bob...do you still tie for Florida Keys Outfitters? Any thoughts about tying and selling a “tarpon sampler?”
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I will bob thanks. What’s funny is more than once I’ve watched the smaller fish hide out next to and under the boat, yesterday I had one follow me when I bumped forward too. I’d guess they’re using it as a blind spot to ambush mullet from, the smaller fish were slamming mullet within 10’ of me pretty consistently. I’ve had them swim into my trolling motor in two completely different places in the last month too. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s just me, but they sure like to hang out around my rig. Tarpon are the only fish I’ve noticed that with for whatever reason, but then again they’re the only fish I really put much effort into lately.
Thanks again everybody.
 

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Tarpon Snake, size 4/0 six to seven inches long with large beadchain eyes.... in the original color -all black - see photo...Count it down until you're pretty sure it's on the bottom and strip it very slowly in long strips with a tiny twitch at the end of each strip....until it stops... We've also scored with fl. green and white fishing the fly right in their faces and moving it like the mullet do... but the deep and slow method rarely fails where we are in the 'glades in and around small rivers that drain out onto the Gulf coast out of Flamingo...

Remember, though, big fish gorging on mullet can be very, very picky about what they're eating... If I have a fly angler aboard we'll keep after them trying our best not to push or spook the school of big silver... but with most anglers that just want the thrill of a big tarpon - that fly rod isn't exactly the first thing we reach for when they're on schooled mullet or other bait....



Hope this helps
That Black Tarpon Snake worked for me near Lake Ingram when they were feeding on mullet.
 

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I know that with lures and conventional gear you have to get a fast sinking coonpop or plug in the strike zone very quickly if sight casting at rollers. Bigger hooks, more sparse patterns so they sink fast.
 

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Thanks for the interest but my commercial tying days are pretty much over (unless I'm forced to quit guiding....). I'm still making leadheads and bucktail jigs in quantity -but pretty much burned out on fly tying. The only serious tying I'm doing these days is just enough to have flies for my charters. The good news is that Umpqua Feather Merchants has been doing the Tarpon Snake and others for some years now so any shop that deals with them will be able to get them (and I'm still drawing a tiny royalty on each one....).

As for tossing plugs at rollers - here's how I have my anglers go about it. We toss the hardware past the fish about 20 feet and in front of them about ten feet (farther if they're moving much...) then simply count the gear down until we're near the bottom - then work a slow retrieve - just enough to keep the lure (hard bait or something like a DOA Baitbuster...) just off the bottom. Tarpon eating lures are the laziest fish around and don't want to chase anything. Of course all of that changes when you hook one. We mostly fish places with a bit of current so up-current and across is what works the best for us - allowing the gear to sink down to where the fish are holding... and swing in front of them as you retrieve it. No real "magic" just the physics of big fish holding near the bottom - no matter what you see them doing at the surface....
 

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I could use some help from the brain trust, heres the scenario-
Migratory fish (avg 60lb +\-)
Dirty brown water
Aggressively Feeding on big schools of adult mullet in 2-6’ depths.

Anyone have a pattern/color that seems to produce or crack the code for these scenarios? I’m striking out with standard and fairly large size baitfish patterns all I can think of is to keep going bigger. I can hardly get a strike out of these fish. I’ve stepped up leader length and stepped down leader diameter, tried every trick I can think of and nada.. water is too dark to sight cast so it’s really a game of waiting for them to break the surface or just blind casting around scattering mullet.
Thanks!
You must be fishing the east coast mullet run. If so, most of those fish are sitting or moving on the bottom and looking up at the schools. Yes you will see eats or rollers up top, but you have to get the fly down to where the fish are and unfortunately, that's where most of the fish will be. So yes, a full intermediate sink line (prefer clear) or even a full slow sink line. Even a intermediate tip on a floating line will cause the fly to rise, which is not what you want to do. Those fish want that fly to run steady and in the same horizontal plane as the fish, when they are in that mode and on that bait.

Speaking of bait..... Match the hatch! They are keying in on the mullet (hopefully for your sake, the smaller ones). So give them a big and bushy mullet fly that mimics what they are feeding on. All natural colored mullet patterns would be good and a few on the opposite side (All black, all purple or all white, char/white, red head/white body). Capt Bob makes one of the best looking commercially tied mullet fly. But depending on your water depth, his is tied with spun deer body and/or belly hair, so the hair will want to float, so you have to compensate that with a larger, heavier hook and hope the line pulls it down where it needs to be and keeps it there. But if you tie or know some who does, you can tie the head with an EP brush so that the fibers don't hold air and it will sink faster without some oversized hook that will stick out like a sore thumb. The dirty water will help fo sho with that tho. So I'd try to tie it on a 3/0 or 4/0 Owner 5170 Cutting Point Aki hook. The trick with the fly tho is tying the head big and bushy so it will push a lot of water and not be so streamlined. THAT will attract the fish more than contrasting colors. Trust me when I say that these types of flies are nothing like what you see used down in the Keys.

Those beaches are deeper out there, so you have to throw it and count it down COMPLETELY (as painful as it can be, then count some more). Then like Capt Bob said, long and slow and steadily stripping like the thing is steadily moving along with the school and not jerking around. The fact that the fly will look slightly different will be enough for it to stand out in the crowd (and hopefully below the bait pod). If possible, throw up stream to the bait and pull your fly along with the bait as it's coming straight at you, but hopefully below the school where the poons are waiting. If not, try throwing at a 45 degree angle, going somewhat with the school of mullet, but at the rear of the school. The poons will swim behind the school and look for stragglers, while constantly pushing the school(s).

As you may not want to hear this.... unfortunately, all of this means you are not sight casting to fish, but rather using fish up top to indicate where the rest of the fish are, then blind casting out to them, letting the fly fully sink, then working it back towards you. So it's really blind casting and a lot of it. Thos a 10wt will work for 60lb fish, I highly recommend using an 11 or 12wt as you will be throwing larger flies and fishing fish in deeper waters. But unfortunately for you, (yet again), those rods will wear you out in short order blind casting them. That's why not many fly fisherman chase them that way. So.... Go get some pushups in! ;)

I hope that makes sense.

You got this! You can make it happen! :cool:

Ted Haas
 
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