Como delivery most of the species that can be found in the Mexican Caribbean, we’ll talk about Shad, by far, the species that I may be considered, one of the most sports and one of the most sought after by saltwater anglers. His image appears in the logo of the International Game Fishing Association and is for many anglers a trophy itself.
En my case, the fascination with this species, began here in Cancun Quintana Roo, still and when as a child I knew fishing and how large Tarpon were caught in the Bay of Chetumal in the same State, it is important to mention to the reader that this time I would customize the writing a little, because for me, Shad fishing is one that more satisfactions has provided me over the years Since it was not until you get to live in this city that I could devote time to find this species, learn to seek and learn to fish them. Besides his fishing becomes an addiction and as a species not so easy to get, when it is accomplished, leaves us a great satisfaction. As fishermen, we must consider always release them, because their meat is not good at the table and its commercial value is practically non-existent in our country. Later we will try the theme of sport fishing for Shad in a more extensive way.
This is a migratory species that we could only find in the Atlantic Ocean, but for some decades now, it is said that from the 60 s, it can be found on the coast of the Pacific in Panama, Central America, it is believed that some Tarpon migrate through the Panama canal and that have been adapted to the waters of the Pacific Ocean in the area by what already exists a population of Shad Pacific registry Although there is not yet agreement on if it’s another species, or be classified as the same.
There are records of Tarpon catches from the coast of North Carolina, in the United States from North America to South America in Brazil, in the Americas and on the coast of Africa, where there have even been several records, is a species that travel many kilometers in some stages of their development and that curiously enters estuaries and rivers in some stages of their existence , then the Megalops Atlanticus, as it is known scientifically is a migratory species.
It is a species of tropical and subtropical waters and we can meet you on the coast of the American continent and in Africa, into the Atlantic Ocean, here is a map where they appear in red spots, areas where there are higher concentrations of the species, in Orange and yellow points where there are records.
On the shores of America can be found from North Carolina in the United States of North America, until the Brazil to the South, passing through the Caribbean Islands and the coasts of Central America, occasionally and strangely there is records from Tarpon found more to the north shores of Canada.
On the shores of Africa they can be found from Senegal to Angola and occasionally on the coasts of Portugal and the South of France, as well as in the Azores Islands.
In the case of the Pacific central, there are records on the island of Cobia in Panama and is believed to have arrived via the panama canal.
For our country, we can find you throughout the Atlantic coast from the State of Tamaulipas to the North on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, Veracruz, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo.
We can say that it is a coastal species, and that during his lifetime not away from coastal areas, even and when it is immigration, their movements are carried out in waters of depths. In the Gulf of Mexico, in some of the places that have oil rigs as the probe of Campeche, we can find concentrations of large Tarpon that remain for some time in the same place.
Migrations that are being studied, have already yielded some information and we can see that there is movement along the coast from North Carolina in the United States to places such as the State of Veracruz or even further South, in Quintana Roo.Satellite trackers are used to perform migration studies and even already has been treated the subject in several articles, so here, only mention them as a reference. As a species that is not found in deep water, migrations occur in the coastal zone, and in areas of low water.
Shad is known scientifically as: Megalops Atlanticus and belongs to the family Megalopidae where there are some fish that are of interest for sport fishing as called Lady Fish in Cancun called Tzotzin and in other places as Veracruz called machete.
Records that have, up to now show that they can weigh up to 161 kg and measuring something as well as 2 metres in length, is a long-lived species, and it is known that it can live more than 50 years. It is a fish slow-growing and research that have been made about its population and reproduction is estimated that you can duplicate its population depending on external factors from 5 to 14 years old.
Usually passes his life in coastal areas and even in inland streams and rivers, in the sea, is found in shallow areas of up to 30 meters.
Its body is elongated, and their fins are characterized because they do not have rigid annals or dorsal spines, only presents soft rays in these fins, silver on their sides and the spine can become black, is usually pale grey to dark grey, depending on the areas where it is located. Its dorsal fin has 13 to 16 soft rays and an extension of last two rays extending from the rest of the fin. Nor has rigid spines in their anal fin and pectoral fins, which are composed of soft rays. Their scales are large and in the lateral line presents from 37 to 42 scales
One of the characteristics of the species is that its swim bladder is attached to the esophagus and can fill it with air, what makes this fish can stay and live in little oxygenated water, as in estuaries and shallow water estuaries, you can even live in water sweet so it is possible to find them in rivers several miles inland. The fact that can “take air from the surface” allows you to oxygenate your body and this is a resistant species in places where other fish would die easily.
Even and when we are talking about a migratory species, it is very common that large schools of Shad remain in one spot for a long time in the stages of growth, which occurs mainly in estuaries, swamps, coastal lagoons and mangroves in shallow waters.
Shad feeds on sardines, mojarras, lizetas, snapper, sea bass, and crabs, when it feeds on fish, usually is species that move also in schools as schools of small sardines and mojarras, or lizetas and snooks, preferably feeds on small fish that hunt in groups.
Species in general has a high fecundity, males and females differ, and as it has been investigated, a 2 metre-long female can deposit up to 12 million eggs deposited in areas isolated from the open sea, mainly in reef areas, the offspring sprout subsequently moved to inland waters such as estuaries, rivers and coastal lagoons, where to develop and grow later moved to the sea of new account the setting takes place once a year.
The commercial interest of the species lies in the use of the scales to make “crafts” and for the manufacture of artificial pearls and fresh meat consumption is not high, generally because their quality is not good as fish has many thorns, still, there are those who consume him despite not being one of the best species for consumption.
At present in our country know that is this exploiting the species for commercial purposes for the sale of its scales, which has diminished the population of the species in areas of the Gulf of Mexico.
Mention of the General aspects of the sport of Tarpon fishing is famous for their acrobatic to be hooked onto them that often manages to beat the nets, in addition is that it is a not easy trick species and fishing requires patience and long time dedicated to it, is common to see them in school and pass a few inches of the deception without even turn around or try to take it. His mouth is hard, do not have teeth like other species marine, similar to the jaw of the Snook (centropomus undecimalis) or the Smallmouth Bass (micropterus salmonids) freshwater, but lacks so broad as latter, soft membranes so you nail the hook is important and to do so it must be done strong and preferably on a couple of occasions. His jaw is hard and at the bottom shows a soft side that is where often binds hooks lures (third) rather than in the corners of the jaw or somewhere else.
We’ll talk about here fishing for Shad with conventional equipment, since your server, has not practiced fly fishing, by what we shall confine ourselves to comment on fishing Shad small and medium with light equipment or Tarpon with conventional equipment. However, it is convenient to mention that for the fly Fisher is also one of the sought after species.
In our country, there is already a culture of sport fishing around the species, and major tournaments at various locations in our Mexican Republic that is looking for big Tarpon are organized. Until now only know of a tournament where the fish caught are released, and there are many comments about how it can organize tournaments in which be released prey, so maybe part of what is now needed is the culture of release to the Tarpon we fish, both tournaments and outside them.
Lures and baits, of the bait in each area of our country are used usually for fishing, are used differently, and different types, we will mention here some of which are used in areas such as Veracruz, Campeche and Quintana Roo, places that have been able to visit and where I have seen fishermen experienced the species.
Recently it has become “fashionable” the use of circle hooks for Shad bait fishing, as already mentioned in the section on morphology, lacks sharp teeth, and your mouth is hard, by the use of circle hooks allowing the same, moving animal to catch in the corner of the mouth, which ensures the capture. It is a very finicky animal, he can perhaps find but do you bite a hoax, either bait or lure, that’s your fishing always imply us a challenge.
Baits can be prepared with some fish, such as the Union, machetes, sheep or lizas, that we can build with a single hook or several as in the case of the iliotibial, to assemble the bait is not recommended the use of metal leaders, because although I can not make it, is not minor success with their use, so it is recommended the use of flurocarbono or nylon monofilament leaders.
They are also used in your fishing live bait, must anchor or garetear near the shoal and throw the bait we armed so that you are allowed to swim, without leads to swimming or sinking slowly with movement, if we use circle hooks, then is not necessary to “stop eating” the animal and put pressure once we detect the bite. In case of using normal hooks, it should then apply a strong tug, with risk of losing our dam at that time or hook it correctly.
The bait in areas where we have already seen the tarpons, because otherwise we can travel long distances without success is trolea. In this case, I personally do not think necessary a team with line of more than 50 Lbs, and perhaps say this because so far I have not been able to fish a large animal. I have seen that many anglers using conventional equipment with greater libraje lines and perhaps justify its use when we look for big Tarpon, animals of 80 to 100 kgs. For this type of fishing reels should be for trolling reels with good line and a good brake. Brands, there are many that can be applied and that without a doubt we will be useful, practically all brands are now manufactured reels of trolling (Offshore, conventional Reels) and we can choose among many options will depend then on our budget that can invest in a reel, which will also serve for other types of fishing.
In the case of trolling artificial lures there is now a special model that is made of rubber and resembles a strap that comes with hooks and ready for use. Lures can also be used as rapala Magnum or similar, in almost any brand you will find lures that will serve us for Tarpon fishing. Mirrolure, Bomber, I Zury, Excalibur, Braid, offshore angler, and many others have lures that are good for fishing.
In the case of the small Tarpon, we use equipment of spinning or casting, lines 10 to 20 pounds, and rods of medium or medium heavy action, of 10 to 25 lbs of resistance. If we use bait, we may use small lizetas or sardines, preferably alive, and leave them with the free-spool so line, pulled out here a friend has told me that to keep the sardine being lost in the background, you can use a balloon to make a float function, which allows sardines swim but that it does not sink.
If you use lures can be rubber lures that resemble small crabs or a single hook hair jigs, or trolling minnow type, usually small lures work very well for the “baby tarpon” is as they call it in English to the small Chad and that will be what you are looking for in the estuaries, here in Cancun can find Tarpon up to about 20 kilograms in the estuaries and catch those animals with light equipment (say which) with 12 or 14 lbs line), it is a challenge!
To improve the effectiveness is recommended the use of a long leader of up to 1.5 meters of monofilament nylon or fluorocarbon of at least 30 lbs of resistance must be perfectly tied to the main line to resist strong pulls that will give the Shad.Knots are recommended to join lines of different diameters, as allbrigth or half allbrigth.
Once we have felt the bite, and usually happens within reach of the view, we then give it a good tug (hook set) trying to hook the fish, if attaches start a fight, then immediately give careers that will draw us line quickly and in a few seconds will start its legendary jumps. When Tarpon jumps then must get off the tip of the cane pointing in the direction where we have seen the fish, although we must not loosen too, as falling into the water, then we must immediately return to tighten our line. Usually performs several hops before being beaten, once he is tired then it will allow us to move closer to the boat or shore and we must try to free him without hurting him and try to revive it a little, holding his jaw at the bottom and making the water to circulate through their gills. Even the small Tarpon can move violently once we have brought closer them to the boat and we must be careful in handling is recommended if we can release it without uploading it to the boat to do it.
For me, fishing for Shad in the evenings is one of which we can practice and in the estuaries in the area is where the more success we have had, during moonlit nights, there are areas where we know that it is common to find them and by night, trolling with lures is possible to capture them. We hope not a lot of catches, but a couple of them or even in a few hours is possible.
It is one of the places where the small Tarpon found in large concentrations in the estuaries, and we can find areas of fishing for Tarpon along the coast of our Mexico, which makes fishing for this species is one of the privileged that all catches must practice someday.