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The saying "March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb" definitely applied this March. While the winds roared like a lion through the end of March, the lamb portion of the saying never occurred. It wasn't until the several days into April before the lamb showed up and the wind calmed down to a more comfortable level. During the windy conditions, I even had to reschedule several tarpon trips as the 25 knot plus winds made it almost impossible to fish either side of the jetties along the beach safely. The Bay, however, was very fishable as the various structures surrounding the northern portion of the bay did a great job of knocking down the wind.

Stan and Diane Feltman along with their daughter, Tiffany and son, Jason were looking forward to a sailfish trip. Windy conditions had them changing their minds and we fished a 3/4 daytime trip looking for tarpon at Government Cut. We started off with a large bluerunner. Next it was an undersized red grouper and then another. I had just set out the jig and shrimp combo and was about to put it in the rod holder when it got hit hard and we had our first tarpon on. Tiffany along with help from Dad battled the fish as it stayed in the deep water and worked its way out the Cut. She caught her first tarpon and was amazed at how hard they fight. Another red grouper released and the jig and shrimp combo scored again. This time Jason was on the rod. He was a veteran of a previous tarpon trip and knew what he was in for. It took a while and we had several tense moments as the fish used every trick in the book to try and cut us off. However, in the end Jason won the battle and the fish was released. It didn't take long for the next tarpon to hook up and Stan took his turn. This time, the fish ate the shrimp on the break away rig. Stan made quick work of his fish as you can apply more pressure with a conventional outfit. More red grouper and another tarpon hit the jig and shrimp combo again. It was now Diane's turn and she picked on the largest tarpon of the day. It was a tag team effort with Stan helping to hold the rod when the fish made strong surging runs and then Diane recovering the line only to have the fish take it all back out again. She hung in and got her reward of releasing her first tarpon, a 110 pound fish. The last strike was on the conventional outfit and it was Tiffany's turn again. Everything was going fine and we were gaining line until the fish decided to come up and make three consecutive jumps straight up and turning in three different directions. The third jump won the fish its freedom as it bit through the leader. To sum it up, we had action with 5 red grouper, 1 bluerunner, and caught and released 4 of the 5 tarpon we hooked. The tarpon were in the 70 - 110 pound class.

Several days later, Brian Jinks, Jose Perez, Gaby Herrero, and Ray Alvarez braved the east winds blowing at 15 - 21 knots. The first tarpon we hooked made several jumps and was running for the deep water before the hook pulled. When the tide changed, we moved into the Bay and after a reasonable period of time with no action, we moved back out to the south side. It was now quite a bit more rough. A move to fish the more shallow area paid off and Brian hooked up solid, he fought the fish to boat side and handed the rod off to Ray who thought the fish was whipped. He immediately found out the exact opposite. The fish took off and we battled it for quite a while longer. Ray was amazed at how hard the fish fought and never ever gave up.

Paul Meyers was visiting his brother Peter and neither one had ever caught a tarpon. The wind was a brisk 22 - 28 knots and I suggested that we start later in the evening to catch the tides for the Bay where we would have more protection from the wind. They both agreed and we met back at TNT Marine Center at 11:00 PM. It turned out to be a good move on our part. Tarpon action turned out to be a night of ones. At each location that we fished, we had a shot at one fish. The first one took almost 45 minutes before we hooked up. This is very unusual for the Bay. The 80 pound fish had Paul going around the boat several times before we got the catch and then some pictures prior to releasing the fish. The next location was more the norm as it took only 10 minutes for the strike. This time Peter hooked an identical 80 pound fish that put on a great show for us. This fish also got caught and had its picture taken before releasing it. The third location only took 5 minutes for the 40 pound fish to explode on the bait and make an 8 foot jump into the air. The jump was so high that the fish almost hit the bottom of the structure we were fishing. The jump was all it took for this feisty tarpon to throw the hook. That's how this Bay trip ended, going 2 for 3 on 80 pound tarpon.

Tony and Kathy Tavares were down in South Florida to take a long awaited vacation. Besides the warm weather, Tony had one thing on his mind. It was time to catch another tarpon. We caught a little break with the wind so we could fish both sides of the Cut along the beach. We started in the main channel and released a small red group. A move to the north side and several drifts later had Tony hooked up and in the battle he was looking for. Back and forth it went and neither the fish nor the angler was giving in. Slowly but surely, the fish began to give in and Tony won the battle and the fish also won as it was released to fight again another time. With no further action on the north side, we moved to the south side. As all fisherman say, we wanted just one more fish. After several drifts, we were still waiting for just one more fish. I thought out loud, "what time is it" and as I checked the time, the tarpon hit. My comment was "it's tarpon time". Another great battle and that ended the evening going 2 for 2.

It took several reschedules before we finally got this trip in. Brother and sister Kim Kishel and John Warrick, along with their long time friends Elizabeth Shegelski, and Mike Mongiello wanted to catch a tarpon, but also wanted some action. They got both. The jetties knocked down the SE/SSE wind and gave us very smooth waters on the north side. Before it got dark, the light spinning rod with a jig and shrimp combo saw plenty of action with 4 spanish mackerel, 2 lane snappers, 1 mutton snapper, and 1 bluefish. After it got dark, we caught 1 ribbonfish. We moved to the south side where the conditions we quite a bit more sloppy and got the tarpon were looking for. John and Mike took turns fighting the fish and it got its picture taken numerous times before being released. We tried to get another for the girls, however, it did not happen.

Brad Coren, his Dad, Stewart, and uncle, Harold wanted to do some sailfishing. The wind was back up and like the Feltman Family, they also changed their trip to try for tarpon. We did an evening tarpon trip and fished the calmer waters on the north side at Government. We saw fish roll both in the main channel and on the north side. We had action with lane snapper, kingfish, spanish mackerel, and bluerunner, but nothing doing with tarpon. We moved to the south side where it was very sloppy and saw and heard fish busting shrimp off the surface. We marked lots of tarpon on the recorder and still couldn't get a hit. The back rod bent over and it turned out to be a ladyfish. We marked more fish on several more drifts and still could not get a tarpon to hit. We all finally agreed that it just wasn't going to happen this evening and called it an evening. The tarpon beat us this night.

That's it, we're now up to date again. At least for now, the winds are more normal. It's April and that means the transition month. Both the winter and summer time fish are here at the same time and that makes for some great action. The afternoon/evening combo will give any angler a chance to catch a sailfish, kingfish, dolphin, blackfin tuna, and a tarpon all on the same trip. It's also the time of year when you'll have your best chance at catching a big dolphin (mahi-mahi). As it's said, "Spring has sprung" and that makes for some outstanding fishing.

Give me a call 305 965-9454 or email nkostyo@bellsouth.net to schedule your trip and take advantage of the great fishing opportunities we have off the Miami/Miami Beach area.

Captain Dave Kostyo

Knot Nancy Fishing Charters, Inc.

305 620-5896 Charter

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