Midnight Tarpon

BulkingtonBulkington Posts: 10 Greenhorn
Launched off key biscayne yesterday afternoon around 5:30pm. Paddled around biscayne bay for about an hour then anchored near a bridge, moving around for about 3 hours. I started to paddle in around 10:30pm, hooked up on a jack and bluefish at the same time while trolling a rapala and jerk bait. Threw them back and kept paddling. About ten minutes later I get a hit on my rapala and the line screams out. I hear a VROOM, WHOOSH, and SPLASH, and see a huge tarpon jumping. I was fishing with a Penn Spinfisher V and a Daiwa 2400. This was only the second tarpon I've hooked and both were on the much smaller Daiwa. I hooked the first one about a month ago under Rickenbacker and he broke the line during his initial run. I hoped my gear would hold up better this time, with 30lb braid and a 60lb mono leader on the Daiwa.

My reel felt a bit too small for the fish so I eased the drag when it ran and tightened during his breaks while paddling after it to catch up while reeling in the line. After wrestling it this way for 25 minutes I finally had it next to the kayak but I was unanchored and we were floating with the outgoing tide. I snapped 8 photos and the one I posted is the only one that came out somewhat well. When I had the tarpon next to the boat it was still about a foot under the water and I was reluctant to reach down to grab it. When I've watched videos of other people landing tarpon, the fish seems to go on its side and allow the angler to pull it in without too much of a fight. I was waiting for my fish to do this but it never did. I think this cost me the opportunity to land the fish in the boat.

After taking the photo, the fish went on its last run, then I anchored and tried to pull it all the way to the boat against the current so I could at least get a decent photo and unhook my x-rap. I had the fish two feet from the boat when my line snapped! This was 45 minutes into our battle. The fish had frayed about 8 inches of my leader plus the foot or so that it took with it. I think prolonging the battle allowed the fish to rub the leader til it snapped.

Incredible battle but I'm disappointed that I couldn't see the real size of the fish. Any veteran fishers have tips on how to safely bring the tarpon to the boat??? I see lots of guys posting 30+ lb fish on their laps but I don't see how I could have done it.

Anyway, the tarpon stole my olive green x-rap that was still hooked in its mouth. If any other anglers catch this guy, please measure, weigh, and send me my x-rap. PM me for my address.


  • jivariejivarie Posts: 127 Officer
    That's awesome.
    http://www.reddit.com/r/kayakfishing - Help the kayakfishing community grow!
  • Poseidon10/31Poseidon10/31 Posts: 936 Officer
    Ya if that tarpon was still swimming and you tried pulling it into your lap you could easily have ended up in the water. Last thing you'd wanna do is boat a green tarpon. It doesn't sound like your fish had given up yet. PS you'll never see that X-rap again, just sayin... Just be glad one of the many big Hammers in that area didn't take a bite out of your tarpon when it was next to the yak.
  • JoeBCJoeBC Posts: 608 Officer
    Yeah those Tarpon go on their side because they are completely cooked. You gotta keep applying pressure which is tough to do from a yak that is not anchored. As you figured out though if you are gonna be applying real pressure to a Tarpon late in a fight you want to be using 80-100 lb leader.
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