Florida Tarpon Fishing
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From Tampa Bay, to Sarasota, and south to Charlotte Harbor stands dozens of bridges that tarpon call home. By day, the appearance of these bridges is best described as unremarkable. But as the sun dips below the westward sky and closes the books on the day, darkness settles in and tarpon begin to go to work. Their abnormally large eyes, which they received their scientific name from, easily collect light in the darkness and transform them into giant silver eating machines. They pursue mullet, shrimp, crabs, and baitfish with reckless abandon, leaving telltale surface boils in their wake. On some nights, the sheer number of fish feeding around the skiff is astounding and I fear it will fundamentally change your expectations for tarpon fishing. An experience akin to what the greats enjoyed during the pioneering era.
Step back in time to when the pursuit of tarpon with a fly rod was in it’s innocent beginnings. Find the fish, feed the fish, and then hold on. A time when the horizon was absent of other boats and anglers for miles in any direction. The sun has set on the pioneering days of fly fishing for tarpon. The days that A.W. Dimock, Joe Brooks, Stu Apte, and later men by the names of Flip, Lefty, and Chico enjoyed have passed. But for those of you who hunger for the rich experience that only the purist of days could bring, well, this trip comes close.
Anglers casting from the deck of my Maverick Mirage and swinging flies down current to these very visible eating machines are beset with anticipation. Each new unfolding cast brings the possibility of a vicious thump. Each vicious thump followed by a strong strip set can bring with it the promise of your fish exploding into the air. When you put your tarpon into the air, you’ll notice that the frenetic jumps somehow defy physics and every twist, somersault, and tail dance are immediately etched into your memory. And when your fly stays safely pinned and your fish comes boatside, you’re left with the same smile on your face and the same sense of euphoria that the pioneers of our great sport felt as well.