How to land a Tarpon?

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Replies

  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 10,774 AG
    Here is a big question. Since I have been hooking into both tarpon and shark, is there a leader Setup I could use that would be able to land both. I know for a shark, that would involve a wire leader, and I’m not sure if a Tarpon would hit my fish if it had a wire leader on it.

    I would go with 100lb test and a circle hook. You could try steel leader, but the tarpon bite would likely suffer.

    FWIW, I also agree with Ncdead's post above -- while I suspect having not landed a tarpon is bothering you a bit -- the real fun in a tarpon fight is the first few minutes. After that it's a lot of work. :)

    Good luck!...Mike
  • tarponhuntertarponhunter Posts: 295 Deckhand
    Agreed with tarponator 100lb mono with a circle hook would be you're best bet but if you still keep getting bit off by sharks don't be afraid to try some steel leader you'll still stand a good chance of getting a tarpon bite because if theyre feeding on the bottom theyre not too picky. Also that shark you saw sounds like a solid sized lemon, I see those causing around the rocks a lot like you mentioned and the light brown yellowish color is characteristic of them.
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 2,765 Captain
    Great job jumping 2 tarpon! They're tough to find in December most times. Don't feel bad about losing the two of them... heck I've jumped over 400 this year and I still went 0 for 5 this morning. It happens.

    And listen close to what Mike has to say (tarponator)... he's one of the main guys on there who really helped me get better at landing the tarpons.

    -Mag
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    2017 Tarpon Count: 109/431
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
    Instagram is @crooked_rod_charters
  • Bite 1Bite 1 Posts: 482 Deckhand
    And U want to land them because? Picts or whatever is fine. for me give 3-4 good jumps and I hope both of us are out of there healthy. To old for those battles. Like Indians counting cout (sp) it was good while it lasted but thank GOD it was over. Young bucks go get them.
  • greyreefsharkgreyreefshark Posts: 423 Deckhand
    Fished the entire afternoon today. No bites, no nothin. But there was also a ton of boats cruising the inlet all day.
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 10,774 AG
    That's a good point from Tarponhunter about using steel -- if you're fishing on the bottom, particularly with dead bait, it's probably not as big of a deal as I might have led you to believe.

    Here's an easy trick to set your drag correctly. Get a gallon milk jug and fill it up with water -- that's 8.3 lbs. So 3/4 of a jug is about 6lbs. Now in order to test your drag you can wrap your line through the handle of the gallon jug and hook it back on to your leader. Now try to lift that jug from above (don't high stick it, or you might even break your pole) and adjust your drag accordingly. Get a feel for 6lbs and 8lbs -- most tarpon fights shouldn't take much more than that.

    The reason I bring this up is this: 8lbs of drag should be enough to land any tarpon, and likely it's a lot more than you think. For tarpon at least, I'd set it to 6lbs and go from there.

    Also, weekends with a lot of boat traffic are terrible times, typically, to catch tarpon in smaller/shallower passes and inlets. If I were you, I'd go at night or on days when it's quiet.

    With the water temp around 65 degrees up here the tarpon are long gone from their normal haunts, so I'll have to live vicariously through you guys for a month or two, so good luck & keep us posted....Mike
  • greyreefsharkgreyreefshark Posts: 423 Deckhand
    Thankyou Mike! That’s awesome stuff man! That was probably another big problem with me. I was using a Spinfisher 6500. And with that 30lb max drag on that reel, I most likely had that drag way too tight for the one that Broke off. With that much drag to play with on a reel, it’s easy for me to over estimate. Thankyou for sharing the way to test the drag with a milk jug. This will definitely help!
  • dave44dave44 Posts: 7,343 Admiral
    It looks like post #2 is in the lead?

    Good luck.
  • jbdba01jbdba01 Posts: 143 Deckhand
    Couple other points...you'll never stop that first run; just let 'em go. Then slowly start applying the heat. After 15-20 min you can start feathering the spool with your hand. That way if they run you just let go. After 20-25 min it's go time or what I call gunnel time. Sit in the capt sit - feet on the gunnel grab the spool and start pulling. One of three things will happen - the fish will quit, you'll quit, or your gear will quit. If you've been on for +35 min you really should be thinking about calling it quits and letting it go. "Sportsman release."

    I use 50#braid with 50-60# leader. 8' Teramar and Cabo 60 reels.

    FWIW - when I started I would get a cheap scale and mark it at 20% of the weakest poundage of the line. So at 50# that's 10# - set your drag to about 4-5 clicks below that (or more) to accommodate the first run. Then just start counting clicks up when applying the heat. Have you tried pulling 10# drag - don't do it with braid. You'll be surprised what you gear can handle.

    After a while I stopped the above and just got a feel for it. You can practice on big sharks.

    Now adays I like the 60-90# fish - the big ones are a bunch of work. Seems to me around 120# they get a new attitude...
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 10,774 AG
    Yup, Dave, you nailed it right out of the gate. :)

    Solid advice from Jbdba too.
  • greyreefsharkgreyreefshark Posts: 423 Deckhand
    You guys have All been Awesome to share all your wisdom and advice in this post. This has opened me up to a whole new world I never knew about. I’ve spent a lot of money over the past week, but had a ton of fun with some big fish on. I’ll be able to use all the Tackle again when I come down in April.

    Thankyou Guys Tremendously for all of your help!!! Sorry I couldn’t land any fish for photos to post for you all, but hopefully I can get some next time.

    You Rock!

    Ray
  • dave44dave44 Posts: 7,343 Admiral
    I’ve never caught one, but I’ve learned a lot here. Thanks fellas.
  • andrewthe1andrewthe1 Posts: 610 Officer
    Tarponator wrote: »
    Here's an easy trick to set your drag correctly. Get a gallon milk jug and fill it up with water -- that's 8.3 lbs. So 3/4 of a jug is about 6lbs. Now in order to test your drag you can wrap your line through the handle of the gallon jug and hook it back on to your leader. Now try to lift that jug from above (don't high stick it, or you might even break your pole) and adjust your drag accordingly. Get a feel for 6lbs and 8lbs -- most tarpon fights shouldn't take much more than that.

    The reason I bring this up is this: 8lbs of drag should be enough to land any tarpon, and likely it's a lot more than you think. For tarpon at least, I'd set it to 6lbs and go from there.

    This method is helpful because you also account for the friction of the line through the guides and over the reels bail bearing.

    At first I was setting drag using a straight line pull on a handscale and it didn't account for the extra friction the rod and reel components put on the line when "bowed up". idk what additional friction that is but significant enough also getting a lot of line out in the water(so on a long run) the friction of the water on the line adds a few pounds so we usually back off a bit if using light tackle-something to consider!
    we need more internet money
  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 23,147 AG
    Is wearing down holding.touching tail and releasing unharmed considered a legit catch? That and lots of jumps is all I have managed. I will admit the release was a thrashing fish and broken leader when I touched the tail. It as a 50 pound or less fish on a 50 pound mono leader and a johnson weedless spoon on a ABU 5500 bass fishin rig. I like to think I caught it...fought for 30 minutes with at least 8 big jumps. The wife and coonhounds were amazed.
    133cbf2b243368b1ddb2f591a1988076--beach-posters-florida-travel.jpg
  • BeastieBeastie Bokeelia, FLPosts: 864 Officer
    Touching the leader is considered fair catch.
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 2,765 Captain
    Beastie wrote: »
    Touching the leader is considered fair catch.

    x2
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    2017 Tarpon Count: 109/431
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
    Instagram is @crooked_rod_charters
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 10,774 AG
    Beastie wrote: »
    Touching the leader is considered fair catch.

    +1. That's the generally accepted answer.

    Cyclist, most tarpon fishermen would consider your fish a caught fish.
  • SaltygatorvetSaltygatorvet TallahasseePosts: 2,309 Captain
    That's a caught fish
    You should have been here yesterday
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