Tarpon and the Worm Hatch
The Palolo worm hatch here in the Keys is a semi-predictable event. If you are out there on the water every day like I am you will know when it is getting ready to happen. It takes a full or new moon, a late outgoing tide, and some daytime tarpon action that just doesn’t make sense. The tarpon must have an alarm clock that goes off that sends them like zombies to the oceanside flats to wait for these worms. Most often they don’t want anything else to do with your bait or your fly unless it possibly resembles a worm.
Classic worm patterns used to be easily accessible at many of the local fly shops around the area. Borski’s Worm was the best pattern that was manufactured and unfortunately I have not been able to get any for a few years now. I’ve got a few different patterns with a sparse marabou tail and a greyish dubbed body and blue thread for the head of the fly. Tie a lot of them, they are quick and easy. Most worm hatches only last a short time so we have more fun jumping these fish, breaking them off and then tying on a new fly and leader.
We are coming off the new moon now by a few days and possibly tonight may be the last night of worm hatch fishing for this season. Many of the spots to find these worm hatches are on the South side of the Florida Keys. From Man Key to Fort Zachary all the way up to the 7 Mile Bridge in Marathon, it happens at one point or another. If you plan to try and fish a worm hatch check your tide and moon charts carefully and book your guide way in advance for next year.