As always, Fishbrain has all the information you need to be successful.
Chasten Whitfield is still a teenager, and still the Bradenton, Florida, native has already begun to leave her mark on the fishing world. As her website says, her mission is simple: to change lives of disadvantaged kids through fishing.
Since fishing is a renowned way of bringing people together, and Whitfield dream occupation, sharing a blast of a tarpon fishing experience with the world seemed like a great way to pursue that mission.
We've included Whitfield's photos and the silver king's Fishbrain data, including locations, most popular baits and the best time of the year to land one.
"What other way to try and master catching tarpon than fishing a two-day tarpon tournament?" Whitfield asked. "When the tournament started, there were at least 40 boats in the water with us, just off the beaches of Anna Maria Island in Florida. We waited patiently until we got to our spot around 6 a.m. when we spotted a pod of about 50 tarpon."
It didn't take long for her crew to hook up:
What better way to learn tarpon fishing than from an up-and-comer that's already proven that she has all the talent in the world? Chasten said, "To catch tarpon, you have to be sneaky. They swim in schools and they roll in schools as well. But, if you come up to the school too fast you can spook them and never see them again. You must go ahead of the school and try your best to get right in front of them so that they are swimming to you. Another key is to always point the rod tip at the fish (almost as if you bowing to the tarpon) when the fish jumps out of the water. If you do not point your rod tip to at the tarpon when he jumps, it will create slack in your line and the hook could easily pop out. When you're fighting this fish remember if you're resting he's resting."
Chasten told me they often use blue crab, pilchard and threadfins to entice these huge fighters into cooperating by saying. When fishing with pilchards, she uses a 7/0 Mustad circle hook and free-lines.
"All in all, it was an amazing experience," she said. "For the next 23 hours, we hooked 20 tarpon in total and got 14 tarpon to the boat. It was an amazing, tiring, but incredible fishing day."
The first fish she hooked into was roughly 80 pounds, and fought for all of 30 minutes. As a group, they placed fourth in the tournament, and donated back to a charity as Whitfield says they always do. She ended up donating her $500 watch to a young girl who caught her first tarpon during the tournament.
"It's so important a mission to me that our kids learn how to fish, conserve and enjoy our outdoors."
Among her already amazing resume-boosting accomplishments is an IGFA-certified, 178-pound tarpon that won't go into the record books only because she didn't buy a kill tag and weigh it on a scale, but released it instead.
Since Whitfield is an avid user of the Fishbrain app, both were quite happy to share this awesome information:
According to the app, users have logged approximately 3,511 tarpon to date.
Fishbrain Tarpon data is as follows:
Where to fish
- Terra Ceia Bay, Florida
- Boca Grande, Florida
- San Sebastian River, Florida
- Sunshine Skyway Bridge area, Florida
- Anna Maria Island, Florida
- Islamorada, Florida
- Key West, Florida
What to use
- Large jigs
- Slow-sinking "toad" fly
The most common time of year tarpon are logged is from early April to late July.
We'd like to thank Chasten Whitfield and her entire posse of angling pros for the great work they do in creating the greater education of tarpon fishermen everywhere, and especially for shedding her awesome light on the way she changes the lives of those less fortunate!
All photos courtesy of Chasten Whitfield