Two Pros talk about Baby Tarpon

Fishing Rollover a week ago, we spotted thousands of fish larvae swimming along the bulkhead; I mean the water was black with them. My fishing bud snagged one on his Mirrolure and we looked at it – about an inch long, clear minnow. I then researched it on Google, and it looked just like tarpon larvae. Is it possible? I know that Bios think tarpon are spawning up along the Louisiana/Texas coastal border. Any answers on this?

If a person asked me this question, “who knows the most about the fish and fishing Rollover Pass, a scientist or Ed Snyder?”, my reply would be ED SNYDER, because the man lives there and has seen with his own eyes what happerns in that pass over many many years. EXAMPLE, who saw the tarpon larvae, the scientist or Ed Snyder? However, we all know there is a place for our scientists, but I also know for a fact, a lot of the things they know, they learned from people like us. Now, my guides and I have caught small tarpon as small as 3 pounds in the winter time. One time, in Galveston waters, I caught 27 tarpon and one trout, and the trout about 7 pounds was larger than any of the baby tarpon. In the winter, and the KILLING FREEZE of 1983, I waded the shorelines of East Galveston Bay a lot, field testing Mirrolures. One day after that freeze, I was wading the south shoreline of East Bay down near Yates Bayou. It looked like railroad ties laying on the shoreline, but the ties were dead gar, big ones, that froze to death in the freeze. Also in the mix of dead fish were baby tarpon from 3 pounds to about 18 pounds. Now, this was very late 83 or very early 84, I already knew at that time that we had small RESIDENT TARPON; that event just confirmed it. In late fall, for many years, I bought live mullet for flounder; sometimes I found very very small tarpon in the live mullet. I have seen and found these small tarpon in my live mullet as late as mid December, which tells me we do have very small tarpon in our waters. Now, I did not see the larvae in Rollover Pass recently, however in my opinion, if Ed Snyder said they looked like baby tarpon, well, those little fish were probably TINY BABY TARPON.

In Feb of ’03, I witnessed about a 30/35 lb tarpon caught and released on the bay side of the pass. Just 2 years ago, anglers witnessed another angler hook up to a big tarpon on the bay side of the pass, guesstimated to weigh about 100 lbs. This is unwitnessed by me unfortunately, but the way they told of the tailwalk and gill rattling leads me to believe their story. The angler lost the big fish when it went under the bridge. I would have loved to have gotten pictures of THAT fish. I lived in League City in the early ’80s and fished the warm water discharge of the Baycliff Spillway. In October of ’82-’83, we caught baby tarpon at the spillway running about 12-18 lbs. Every now and then, a 100 lb plus tarpon would come in chasing mullet; it was a heck of a sight. No one ever hooked up to these big gals though. I lived in Florida for a couple of years and really enjoyed the tarpon fishery there. I just hope that Texa revives its silver king fishery. I also did a tarpon tagging deal back in the mid ’90s off Galveston where we jumped around 5 tarpon, landing, tagging, and releasing one 150 lb silver king.

(This article published 2/2/2015)

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4 Responses to “Two Pros talk about Baby Tarpon”

  1. paul buchanan says:

    tarpon are a amazing fish I have caught many over the years in Virginia and on the outer banks of Nc , back in 86 I caught an released two over 150 pounds off of dirty pelican fishing pier and one off of the flag ship pier ,in 2001 while fishing out of sabin pass I was fishing behind a shrimp boat that was culling I was fly fishing for kings got 7 small tarpon all under 20 pounds but it was a blast on fly tackle .glad to hear that there are still some around

  2. Nancy Bachman says:

    Thanks!!! I enjoyed hearing your “FISH” story!!!

  3. larry campbell says:

    Last July I personally saw a 4-4 1/2 ft Tarpon jump completely out of the water.I was amazed and felt privileged to have witnessed it.This was on the south side of Hanna’s . Unfortunately, my fishing partner had his back turned and missedthe show !

    • edsnyder says:

      larry– happy you witnessed the tarpon jump- it’s a sight to see for sure– seeing tarpon gives me the same rush on seeing a bald eagle- they’ve been working hard to regain a tarpon fishery here on the TX coast- slowly but surely this is being done– another fish that once was enjoyed here on the coast were the Striped Bass – they disappeared from galveston bay back in the 40s – at one time TP&W restocked over 800,000 in galveston bay to try to regain that fishery- but alas– the freeze of 83 wiped them out-hopefully they’ll give it another try– good luck on your fishing– ed snyder

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