The majestic tarpon, also fondly known as the silver king, might be the gold standard when it comes to game fish. A silvery reflection beams back at the dawn’s early light as tarpon roll along the beaches. A watchful eye peeled on the water from the shoreline will catch a flash of light by the dawn patrol as tarpon roll happily along their merry way. Another silver flash that skips out of the water on the wakes of passing boats is the Pompano – a great fish to catch and also a great fish to eat! Which ever silver fish you choose to go after, you have to use the correct bait, so here’s a guide on which bait to use – real or artificial?
Best Bait to Use for Tarpon
A variety of baits, both natural and artificial can be used to catch tarpon. A dollar-sized blue or calico crab generally will get a nod from a tarpon on a collision course with baits. Crabs perform best on the late afternoon outgoing tide around new and full moons when crabs get flushed out of the bays by fast-moving outgoing tides.
Threadfin herring are top baits that can be the one that gets chewed as long as the tarpon is frisky. The incoming tides bring baitfish flooding into the shallows and along the beaches, and on this tide, a number of baitfish imitations are usually the best choices in this scenario. Lures like the DOA trolling model Baitbuster, Sebile Stick Shad, MirrOlure MirrOdine XL or Catch 2000 are all top producers of tarpon. All have treble hooks except for the DOA Baitbuster which uses a single large wide gap hook. This hook arrangement is simple but deadly effective – its wide gap hook sticks and stays in the mouth of the silver beast.
Best Bait to Use for Pompano
A big pompano would be about 5-pounds, although the state and world record is 8-pounds and 4-ounces. Pompano are members of the jack family. They fight like fish more than double their size. But what they lack in size, they make up for in flavor. And when it comes to table fare, few fish can compare to the delicate, firm white flesh of a Florida pompano.
Catching pompano can be tricky but their diet consists mainly of small mole crabs, also known as sand fleas. They love shrimp and will also eat small baitfish. Top lures for pompano are Doc’s Goofy Jigs, DOA TerrorEyz, and the DOA 3-inch CAL Shad.
These silver specimens are both worth their weight in gold—one for its prized fight as a sport fish, and the other as a prized dish on the table. Whichever you prefer, both excel in their purpose in life.