"This has been my best year ever," said Capt. Rob Gorta, describing how good tarpon fishing has been. "The weather has been perfect, and the lack of west wind has made the fishing consistent."
Gorta has been tarpon fishing 55 of the past 60 days, sticking to the areas around Bean Point and Egmont Key. His most memorable trip came this past Wednesday with California anglers TJ Acker, Tordy Acker and Mike Wilson.
Gorta was fishing around Bean Point using his Rhodan GPS trolling motor to hold his Skeeter in place, much like being at anchor. He set up a chum line to entice passing tarpon behind his boat. Around 8:30 a.m., the group hooked not one, but two tarpon for a doubleheader. The anglers landed both with the bigger of the two around 200 pounds. "I've landed seven over 200 this year," Gorta said. "We released both and were back to fishing.
"The tide was about to start coming in, so I set up where I expected them to start flooding into the pass. It's a certain spot where I wait for tarpon and chum. We had a hit, had another hit, then had another hit and three fish were on!"
Tarpon were flying everywhere as the anglers danced around each other to keep their lines from tangling. The Quantum reels on Tsumani rods were all getting workouts. Gorta prefers to use heavier tackle, 80-pound braid and 80-pound leader, allowing more control over the fish along with shorter fight times. The anglers put pressure on the three tarpon, taking control of each fight.
Landing one tarpon is hard enough. Two at once? That's rare. Landing a tripleheader? That's once in a lifetime.
The first fish came to the boat, weighing around 90 pounds. Then the second, also around 90 pounds. Finally the third, almost the same size. All three fish were successfully landed in about 20 minutes.
"This year was the first time I've ever landed a tripleheader; it's pretty incredible. Everything just came together, and we'll never forget it." The crew took a moment to snap a picture with all three fish, still in the water and ready to be released to fight another day.
Gorta's full-time tarpon fishing run will soon come to an end. Starting in July, he begins fishing the flats once again for redfish and snook, with the occasional trip for tarpon.
"The tarpon will be here for a while. A lot of fish went offshore to spawn and have started coming back," he said.
Capt. Rob Gorta can be reached at 727-647-7606.