The 2022 Tarpon Run Along The Grand Strand

One of the most misunderstood aspects of the sportfishing world is that anglers do not need to travel to Florida or the Caribbean to catch the majestic and powerful tarpon.

Each year beginning in May and continuing into October, “The Silver Kings” migrate through the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina area. This annual migration is driven by the tarpon’s hunt for food and breeding cycles.

The peak months to fish for tarpon in our area correspond to the mullet run, typically August and September. The remote areas just south of Myrtle Beach, including Winyah Bay, Santee Delta, and Cape Romain remain pristine marine preserves with minimal development or boat traffic. This provides an excellent location to pursue this highly prized game fish.

During the annual migration, tarpon can be found throughout our area. Depending on tides, moon phase, and weather, tarpon can be caught just off the beaches, near inlets, and in backwater rivers, creeks, and bays. Locating, hooking, and landing tarpon can be a difficult endeavor even during the prime season without the help of an experienced guide, like Capt. Jordan.

Tarpon are so highly sought after due to their size, power, stamina, and jumping ability. To successfully land a fish, you need to have well-matched gear. Most often you will need a medium-heavy to heavy rod, mated to a large high-quality spinning reel (5000-6000 series) with 40+ pound braided line and a heavier fluorocarbon leader to survive the abrasion of the tarpon’s bony mouth and gill plates.

Once tarpon are located, there are numerous techniques that can be used to catch them, each with their own challenges. Perhaps the most popular technique is posting up current of the fish and drifting live baitfish over the school. The best live bait will be the prey that is readily found in the area, such as menhaden, mullet, or pinfish. An even more exciting technique is sight casting artificial lures, such as topwater plugs or large soft plastics, to feeding fish.

There is nothing like watching a 100lb fish swim up from below the water to smash a perfectly placed lure. Lastly, a supreme achievement in saltwater fishing is to catch a tarpon on fly. Using baitfish or crab imitation fly patterns precisely placed in front of a feeding tarpon is a difficult and remarkable feat.

If you are ready for the challenge of fighting the fish of a lifetime, contact Capt. Jordan Pate now to select the best days this upcoming summer, as they are sure to fill up as the season closes in.