Tarpon on the Fly! – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Tarpon on the Fly!

Ben and I made the trip to Florida last week in search of tarpon. Ben had been there before, but this was my first time fishing for the “silver kings.” Exhausted, we landed at 12:30am leaving us only a couple hours of sleep before we would make the hour and half drive to meet our guide Cody.

Conditions were prime as we had no wind that morning and within the first ten minutes on the water a tarpon rolled out in front of the boat. I made my first cast of the trip, the fish ate it, and I proceeded to lift my rod tip and “trout set” the fish instead of the strip set you are suppose to use. Woops. I never even felt the fish on the end of the line, and with the first cast jinx, I was a little worried I might have missed my only shot of the trip. Luckily that wasn’t the case and about an hour later I hooked into one.

Just as soon as I felt tension the fish came screaming out of the water, jumping one direction and then the next. After three or four jumps the fish charged out to sea, taking most of my backing with it. Forty-five minutes later, after a backing knot and my reel falling off at one point, we landed the fish. That was my only Tarpon I landed that day, and the only one that I would for the trip. Ben went on to catch two fish that morning, and after going 3 for 3 on the fish that we hooked we were feeling pretty confident.

The next day we were pushed off the water by a thunderstorms and a cold front that shut down the fishing for the next few days. Since the tarpon weren’t swimming well, we entertained ourselves with some Black Drums and Jack Crevalles until the last day when the Tarpon were happy again. Fishing for the Black Drums was similar to carp fishing, a spooky fish where you had to put it on there nose to get them to eat, and the Jacks were gangsters that would blitz your fly if you could get it in front of them and put up a hell of a fight. Finally on the last day with better weather and happier fish, we got three Tarpon to eat, and jumped one of them with a lot of other shots in between which was a good day, and a good end to the trip.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to fish for Tarpon before I would highly recommend it. It is a lot of down time, shooting the shit and starring holes in the water looking for fish. But when you see them swimming towards you it goes from peaceful to panic real quick, and is one of the biggest rushes I’ve ever experienced fly fishing. Just casting at a fish or having it follow your fly will have your heart racing and your hands shaking. It was a great trip and one I can’t wait to do again. Our guide Cody was laid back, super knowledgable, and worked hard to put you on fish. If you are interested in going down that way I would recommend getting ahold of him. Check out his website here!