Going For The Grand Slam!!!

This isn't exactly a Hot Spot for the month but more of a nice way to put an exclamation point to an already productive Summer of fishing. And now is the perfect time to go after what many Gulf Coast Fishermen consider a Grand Slam for a day of fishing. This term has different meanings depending on what part of the country your from, in Texas this means catching a Trout , Red and Tarpon in the same day! People from Florida or the Carribean would consider a Bone fish, Permit and Tarpon as a Grand Slam. But since it has been awhile since any of us have done it that way in Texas waters let's make it a little easier of.ok.! Myself it is more like a Sand Trout, Croaker and Hardhead most of the time.

Although not always easy the first two items on our shopping list is not unimaginable to obtain on a decent day of hitting the shoreline or Jetties. It's finding the third item on the list that will make this one of your most memorable days of fishing you'll have in a long time. Even the smallest of Tarpon with their speed and well known acrobatics of leaping out of the water in gold medal style high jumps. Would leave even Carl Lewis scratching his head, thinking about how many medals he could win with their strength and stamina.

Three things to remember to look for when going after the elusive Tarpon are food supply, strong current and water temperature. Tarpon like Sharks are always on the move looking for bait fish. The smaller ones tend to school up much like Stripers, while the larger of the species are more often loners. Once you locate where they are feeding it's good to remember that outboards tend to spook Tarpon. Using a small trolling motor or drifting thru a particular area will greatly increase your chances on hooking up with one of these monster of the deep.

Current, just as is in the case of most other species including Reds and Specks, play an important role in determining a good starting off point to begin your quest. Wherever there is an unusual amount of tidal surge you can be sure to find Tarpon on these hot summer days. That is why around the jetties and passes such as Sabine, Bolivar Rollover and San Luis is where you should be able to find large concentration of Tarpon.The stretch between Rollover and San Luis Pass is considered by many as Tarpon Alley!

The last but not least is water temperature. When the shallows begin to reach 78 to 82 degrees is when these silvery giants will begin to move in from the deeper water. They will usually haunt these areas until the water temperature starts to decline.Tarpon can be found as close to shore as the 2nd. or 3rd. sand bars along the beach. Or out to 10 miles off the shore cruising the water looking for structure holding bait fish, such as weed lines or trash lines.Starting in June and lasting till September, with August and September being the prime month. Lucky fishermen should be able to hook up with some decent size fish. Remember it is illegal to keep any Tarpon unless you purchased a special tags from the state, around 100 dollars a pop! That is why the state record has lasted so long, with the current holder measuring some 7ft. long.Just getting your picture taken with one of Silvery Giants is more than ample enough reward for a day of getting bounced around in the boat.

Fishing tactics vary from Angler to Angler just as it seems to do when going after any other species. You may chose to chum a well known area until you start to see some signs of these gentle giants.Then either use live or fresh dead Pogies or Shad.for bait. If your really looking for a challenge throw a couple of flies into the water and wait until you hear the scream of the line. Then frantically put the boat in reverse in order to keep from spooling your line from the reel before you can catch up with him.Just remember to adjust your tackle to the task at hand, this ain't no sand trout you'll be fighting on the other end of the line. Rods and Reels should have enough backbone to land these Kings of the surf, and the minimum of 30 lb. test should be used with heavy shock leaders and strong knots.Hooks should be the circle variety. This will ensure are strong hook up with out having to rely on setting the hook once one of these monster take your bait.Use 14/0 and 16/0 sizes on dead bait while opting for 7/0 on live bait.

One of my fondest memories include one of these gentle giants, although it had nothing to do with fishing. Once while Scuba diving in the Keys, my partner and I were relaxing along a fairly shallow reef chasing lobsters. When we rose above shelf there in front of us like a 6ft. silver mirror, swam a huge Tarpon. The image is still fresh in my mind as if it happened yesterday! Our presence didn't seem to bother him in the least, in fact he kind of gave us a majestic smug look as he began to thoroughly inspected us.The light from the surface danced off his scales as he slowly swam a semi circle around us. I guess he figured we weren't going to breath until he departed. He slowly swam off into the sunset, with light dancing off his sides like a diamond in the distance.

So before the summer ends try going for the elusive Grand Slam. Even if you only get one of your fish on your list. If it turns out to be a Tarpon be sure to enjoy the experience and handle him gently. Take plenty of pictures to remember to moment.Although it may not seem like it when he is turning your reel into bowl of spaghetti, and the fantastic leaps from the water and long runs will make your arms feel like there about to fall off. Remember in his element under the surface there are none that carry themselves with such majestic elegance and grace. And return him back to his element to fight again.