Crazy Tarpon Report!
When I go to work everyday I never know what to expect and although I have seen a lot, Nick from N.Y. and I would experience something nerve wracking today. The plan was to tarpon fish early morning and then hit the flats to avoid the Memorial Day crowds. Arriving at tarpon spot number 1 we set up and I walk Nick through the intricacies of tarpon fishing on fly. No instruction I gave him could have prepared him for what would happen just minutes from now. Just minutes into casting at tarpon I see him strip strike, the rod bend and 130lbs of angry tarpon hits the air making several jumps right at us, 40’ from the boat and closing! Nick stays tight to the fish and settles down into a long fight. Halfway through the tarpon takes us through a series of pilings and we manage to clear the menacing cluster. He was just getting us warmed up. After a brief tussle on the flat he hits deeper water and races to a nearby dock. In spite of our efforts and to our horror he gets us under a dock. My instincts kick in and I tell Nick to jump on the dock while I hold the fly rod. Once on the dock I give the tip of the rod to Nick, he grabs it on the other side and by now the tarpon is under another dock! He keeps the rod bent, I come around, Nick jumps into the boat and we speed to the next dock with the reel screaming. We repeat the process under and around a smaller, tighter dock with about 3 feet of clearance between pilings and while still handing the rod to Nick, the tarpon is under a 3rd dock! This is beyond crazy! Nick jumps into the boat on the other side of the dock and the 3rd dock is yet higher than the previous 2, they were getting progressively higher. Nick tries to jump on the dock and I grab his leg and lift him up with one arm and the fly rod in my other hand. I hand him the rod under the dock and go around for him to jump into the boat. By now the fish is out into open water where we managed to get the leader release, several times for good measure. Nicks tarpon makes another run for the docks again but we stop him short but 25’ away as Nick is putting the pressure on the fish to get the hero shot and I get a DNA sample for the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust the fly line breaks where it had been shredded by the pilings. Nick got his tarpon and a workout to boot. What a morning!
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