Creek Is Crammed With Tarpon After Tropical Storm Fred (Video)

Muddy waters can hide an unexpected bounty

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The best laid plans can go awry when you’re dealing with unusual weather, but sometimes a surprise is just as much fun. Matthew Isbell, host of the Bama Beach Bum YouTube channel, got quite a surprise while inshore fishing following Tropical Storm Fred. Rather than the redfish he was targeting Isbell found tarpon lurking in the muddy water. As he says of the unexpected catch, “How cool is that?”

Creek Fishing After Fred

Isbell is a surf angler and fishing guide on the Alabama Gulf Coast, but beach-side conditions are poor following the passage of Tropical Storm Fred. Instead, he launches his Pelican Catch 100 into a muddy Alabama creek to search for redfish.

angler holds up a tarpon caught while inshore kayak fishing after a tropical storm
A micro tarpon caught from a muddy creek while inshore fishing after Tropical Storm Fred. | Image: Bama Beach Bum/YouTube

“The water quality here is very dirty as you can probably tell. We didn’t get any rain in this area from the tropical storm,” Isbell explains, “but the water level is very high, so I guess the higher tide…dirtied it up.”

Before long, Isbell casts his jerkbait toward a big blowup and is shocked to see a tarpon take the bait. “I can definitely say I was not expecting tarpon today,” he says. “I thought I’d seen a couple roll and so I threw in the area. Got a couple of bites and then hooked up. That was crazy!”

Isbell’s Inshore Fishing Setup

A storm-driven tarpon run is hard to replicate, but you can definitely copy Isbell’s inshore fishing setup. He used a Penn Battalion II inshore spinning rod and Penn Battle III DX 2500 spinning reel with 10-pound Power Pro Super Slick braid and a 17-pound fluorocarbon leader. His jerkbait was of uncertain origin, but Isbell suggests a Matrix Shad Limbo Slice paddletail for creek fishing in cold weather or muddy water.


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  1. I have had unbelievably successful days, on Florida Panhandle rivers, by bottom-bouncing Sonic BaitFish metal jigs after marking fish in the deeper holes. Winter time is even better! I’m talking redfish, spotted seatrout, tarpon and an occasional largemouth bass. Capt. Pete

  2. Apparently they go wherever they want. A couple of years ago, I talked to a guy who caught a tarpon a couple yards from where we were standing a week before. He had photos. It’s about 13 miles inland. Coordinates: 26.22932857534406, -80.29832637569943


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