Triple Tail Fishing Techniques for Jekyll Island And St. Simons Island
In the springtime, as water temperatures rise, every fishermen in the Golden Isles is looking forward to the arrival of the Triple Tail. Anglers from all over flock to St. Simons and Jekyll Island to sight cast these guys. This 2017 as predicted, they have arrived early. Normally we keep it quiet in the early season and treat our clients to the best Tripletail Fishing of the year, but in this social media era, it seems that there are no secrets anymore. Since the hot spots are already crowded, and pictures are floating around instagram, let’s discuss how we primarily rig and target this really unique fish.
Tripletail arrive in the waters off of the Golden Isles each spring generally as the water temperatures get above 68 degrees. Although they can be found virtually anywhere, it seems the highest concentration of these fish is just off the coast of Jekyll Island. As the season progresses, tripletail can be found along current rips, as well as any structure or channel marker. They also make their way inshore, and can be spotted on the edge of spartina grass flats on higher tides. Click Here for more information on Tripletail and other springtime fishing options in the Golden Isles.
Tripletail can be found near the coasts of Sea Island, St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island, and Cumberland Islands from about the first of April through October. These fish are primarily sight fished in the earlier months. From August through October, most anglers target these fish on channel markers and structure. That being said, always keep a rod rigged and ready as they can pop up anywhere at any time. A 15 pound tripletail is a nice bonus when you are out targeting Tarpon or Bull Reds.
Baits for Tripletail Fishing
You can ask 20 different guides in the Golden Isles how they like to rig up for tripletail, and you are bound to get 20 different answers. The most common method is a live shrimp under a cork. I said a LIVE shrimp. I like a good sized shrimp but most importantly it must be a lively one. As far as the type of cork to use, I say whatever you prefer as long as you can make a long and accurate cast. You will see everything from weighted popping corks to specialty clear floats being used. I opt for a billy bay adjustable popping cork from betts tackle.
Below the cork I attach either a ½ oz. trout weight, or a ½ oz egg sinker between 2 beads and tie on a small swivel. I then tie on a 12-15 inch piece of 20 pound fluorocarbon to the other end of the swivel. Tie on a small, sharp, and stout hook to the business end. I like an Owner mosquito hook in the 2/0 size.
I put my stopper knot for the sliding cork about 2 inches over my float in order to keep my shrimp near the surface where the fish are. If it’s choppy out, I may put it 6 or so inches above my cork.
If the fish are extra spooky or shying away from your cork rigs (usually due to lots of fishing pressure, try throwing a live tail hooked shrimp on a 3 foot 20 pound fluorocarbon leader at them and swim it by their face. Flies and artificial lures also regularly put tripletail on the deck. In fact I have found that artificial offerings can very effective when the fish have a lot of angling pressure. Try out the new DOA lures 2.75’’ shrimp!
When sight fishing for tripletail, you want to idle at slow speed and give yourself a high vantage point in order to spot the fish from the greatest distance possible. Pay attention to sun direction and scan the water non-stop. Keep a look out for current rips, trash lines, or color changes. In calm conditions, and in an area where you are seeing several tripletail floating, use your trolling motor if you have one. When running your main engine, if you have a fish pop up close to the boat DO NOT go to neutral or cut your engine off. Any change in pitch will spook them immediately. I drive right past them a ways and circle back around to set up a shot.
If you spot a tripletail well away from your boat, figure your drift with the wind and tide, and try to ease into casting range before you go to neutral or shut down. Make a long cast past the fish and reel your rig back to the fish. As you get close, slow it down to avoid too much splashing, and slide your cork within a foot or two of the fishes face. When you stop it, control your slack, or free spool as necessary so that your shrimp floats along naturally with the fish. At times tripletail will bite immediately, but often times they will swim over and stare at your shrimp for a while. Sometimes they eat it after a few loooong seconds (even minutes), other times they disappear. If they swim off, check your shrimp to make sure it is frisky and try him again if he pops back up. Never give up on these fish as I have caught many of them just a couple of feet off of the boat, or after the 3rd or 4th presentation.
For the marker fishing, look for markers adjacent to sandbars, channel splits, and current rips. Beef up your tackle and fish very close to the structure and on all sides. Vary your depth of presentation before you move on. Marker fishing is most productive during and around slack tide. The quality of the fish caught off of the markers is quite impressive.
Often times on weekends, there will be lots of boats will be fishing for tripletail off of Jekyll Island. At times guys are piled up in a very small area. Even though there may be a lot of fish spotted in that zone, after a while they get wise. This is due to all of the engines running as well as being hit in the head with corks. Try easing around the pack to find a few “fresh” fish. They will be much more cooperative. Also be courteous to the other fisherman. Don’t pile up next to the guy you saw make a cast. Pay attention to how the other boats around you are looking for the fish. Try to pick your own line, and give everyone space. That way you are covering fresh water, and not riding where everyone else just looked.
Follow these tips and make your next tripletail outing a successful one. The migratory species are arriving. Tarpon season will be here before you know it. Give us a call to book today. Dates are filling up fast!
For more information or if you would like to inquire about booking a trip with either Captain Scott or Rob please call us at 877-605-3474 or drop us an email by clicking HERE