Tarpon breakoffs

FishInFLFishInFL Posts: 2,174 Captain
when fighting a tarpon many people get broke off and usually say it was the gill plate, the mouth eventually tore through leader, etc...  so nothing they could have done.  how much of this is really happening vs just having drag too tight on a 100lb + fish?

Replies

  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,036 Captain
    with tarpon... of any size... You're facing a host of difficulties.... and overcoming them is a learning process...

    A tarpon's mouth isn't shaped like most fish - the lower jaw fits inside the upper jaw so they have a tremendous crushing strength, and that's how they kill their prey.  The inside of that mouth is mostly bone and gristle so there's not many places a hook can gain a purchase.  Their lips are pretty similar to 40 grit sandpaper - and the longer the fight goes on the worse shape your leader is in... When they're in the water you're fighting their strength, stamina, and momentum.  Once a tarpon jumps out of the water you're dealing with their entire weight (that's why we teach anglers to "bow to the silver king" - lower your rod and reach towards the fish, creating a just enough slack that they can't break you off while they're in the air).  First timers promptly forget everything they've been taught about them and usually take a few break-offs before getting in the game...

    Add a drag set the slightest bit "too tight" and you're back to square one - needing another hook-up.  Just nothing like a tarpon -and no two of them ever behave the same when they feel the hook (and that's after thousands of fish from little ones all the way up to big mama....since the early seventies for me....).  Just to add to the fun, every now and then one will jump into the boat during the fight - actually that's not fun at all -another of those "ask me how I know" moments...
     
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • GarysmoGarysmo Ft. Pierce, FloridaPosts: 593 Officer
    with tarpon... of any size... You're facing a host of difficulties.... and overcoming them is a learning process...

    A tarpon's mouth isn't shaped like most fish - the lower jaw fits inside the upper jaw so they have a tremendous crushing strength, and that's how they kill their prey.  The inside of that mouth is mostly bone and gristle so there's not many places a hook can gain a purchase.  Their lips are pretty similar to 40 grit sandpaper - and the longer the fight goes on the worse shape your leader is in... When they're in the water you're fighting their strength, stamina, and momentum.  Once a tarpon jumps out of the water you're dealing with their entire weight (that's why we teach anglers to "bow to the silver king" - lower your rod and reach towards the fish, creating a just enough slack that they can't break you off while they're in the air).  First timers promptly forget everything they've been taught about them and usually take a few break-offs before getting in the game...

    Add a drag set the slightest bit "too tight" and you're back to square one - needing another hook-up.  Just nothing like a tarpon -and no two of them ever behave the same when they feel the hook (and that's after thousands of fish from little ones all the way up to big mama....since the early seventies for me....).  Just to add to the fun, every now and then one will jump into the boat during the fight - actually that's not fun at all -another of those "ask me how I know" moments...
     
    Thanks for the details...
    Someday I hope to land one
  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 2,811 Captain
    Well said as usual, Bob.
    Tarpon are masters of getting off the hook... you're always second-guessing your process after one gets off but it's part of the game.  If you're landing one out of 4 you're doing just fine.  I've had 0 for 12 nights and I've had 10 for 10 nights... (and a few 0 for 0 nights too :blush: )...
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    2017 Tarpon Count: 109/431
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
    Instagram is @crooked_rod_charters
  • DropTheHammerDropTheHammer East CoastPosts: 556 Officer
    edited July 18 #5
    The Silver King - Bow to the King! ;)

    You fight the fish and start to put the heat on. The rod ends up at A certain position
    where there's the most pressure. Either the drag slips or you gain line. Ichthyology.
    The fish jumps and wiggles in every direction possible. Stop Pulling! As the fish heads
    downward you follow with the rod tip. You're bowing down! He can fall on the line in A
    certain way that'll break or your assisting by pulling while he's wiggling franticly and
    now dislodging the hook.



    I bought A new bait knife.


    We all new what we were doing until DropTheHammer showed up.
  • DropTheHammerDropTheHammer East CoastPosts: 556 Officer

    I just left it there! ;)
















    What's the difference?

    We all new what we were doing until DropTheHammer showed up.
  • SaveMyRiverSaveMyRiver Posts: 426 Deckhand
    Great story @lemaymiami is sounds like you've had great luck and experiences.  Very inspiring. 
  • SaveMyRiverSaveMyRiver Posts: 426 Deckhand
    Totally agree @DropTheHammer.  How many times have we seen the weather come up out of nowhere? 

    Even at is worst, it's never quitethe same as it once was good.
  • SaltygatorvetSaltygatorvet TallahasseePosts: 2,623 Captain
    Totally agree @DropTheHammer.  How many times have we seen the weather come up out of nowhere? 

    Even at is worst, it's never quitethe same as it once was good.
    Is that what you got from that post ? It’s like he’s speaking a different language 
    You should have been here yesterday
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 11,254 AG
    edited July 18 #10
    In open water situations, most breakoffs are due to the tarpon just wearing through the leader.   Moving up in leader size helps, but in some situations (clear water) it can cost you bites.

    We used to get the occasional break off during the jump, but that's mostly gone as I now use less drag (particularly earlier in the fight) than I used to.

    Still get quite a few breakoffs when fishing around the bridges at night -- just the nature of the beast, although going to 80lb braid helps a bunch.

    Had a breakoff last week due to a mackerel deciding my spider hitch looked edible.  :(

    In open water, I don't really get many breakoffs compared to thrown hooks.


  • DropTheHammerDropTheHammer East CoastPosts: 556 Officer
    edited July 18 #11
    After I removed my hook. I noticed there was another one inside the gut.
    I couldn't remove it without hitting A vital organ. I left it there and released
    the fish. I hope the fish will pass it with A bowel movement.



    We put A 15 degree bend in the shank and then put another 15 degree bend
    in the other direction in the bend of the hook.


    We started complaining to the tackle shop. Why aren't they making them this way.
    We handed them A sample and there it is on the market.









    Bait holder hook design.
    We all new what we were doing until DropTheHammer showed up.
  • FishInFLFishInFL Posts: 2,174 Captain
    Yeah I agree hook deigns are made to resemble the gut and will find its way there.  Need to modify it
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 11,254 AG
    edited July 18 #13
    IMO, bowing is overrated.
  • DropTheHammerDropTheHammer East CoastPosts: 556 Officer





    We all new what we were doing until DropTheHammer showed up.
  • FishInFLFishInFL Posts: 2,174 Captain
    Yeah the barometer does affect the bite.  This is true
  • SaveMyRiverSaveMyRiver Posts: 426 Deckhand





    I've fished several inlets and broke off because my drag was clamped down to tight.


  • kmagnusskmagnuss Posts: 2,811 Captain
    IMO, bowing is overrated.

    Man I'm glad you said it.  People look at me like I'm nuts when I say this to them out on charters.  I kept track of lost fish bowing vs not bowing a few years back and there was almost no difference.  The not bowing actually had a very slightly higher landing ratio.  I don't disagree that sometimes bowing helps... but sometimes it really hurts.
    Tarpon... everything else is just bait.
    2017 Tarpon Count: 109/431
    Captain Keith Magnussen - Crooked Rod Charters
    Instagram is @crooked_rod_charters
  • SaveMyRiverSaveMyRiver Posts: 426 Deckhand
    kmagnuss said:
    IMO, bowing is overrated.

    Man I'm glad you said it.  People look at me like I'm nuts when I say this to them out on charters.  I kept track of lost fish bowing vs not bowing a few years back and there was almost no difference.  The not bowing actually had a very slightly higher landing ratio.  I don't disagree that sometimes bowing helps... but sometimes it really hurts.
    Now I'm confused.   I would think the tight line (not bowing) would have more chances at breaking the line and throwing the hook.   I need answers now!
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 11,254 AG
    edited July 19 #19
    kmagnuss said:
    IMO, bowing is overrated.

    Man I'm glad you said it.  People look at me like I'm nuts when I say this to them out on charters.  I kept track of lost fish bowing vs not bowing a few years back and there was almost no difference.  The not bowing actually had a very slightly higher landing ratio.  I don't disagree that sometimes bowing helps... but sometimes it really hurts.
    You're welcome.  :)

    I'm not sure exactly why bowing is not as big of a deal as it used to be....could be I use lighter drag settings...could be that there's a difference between mono and braid....could be that I'm slower than I used to be and can't react as quickly....could be that today's circle hooks stick differently than yesteryear's J hooks...could be it was always a wives' tale.  I'm not really sure.

    But I am fairly convinced that on my boat with my poles, there's no appreciable difference in landing rates between those who bow and those who don't.

    I'm not a charter captain -- so I don't have the experience of some -- and I've never kept track of it specifically -- so I can't say for sure.  But I have been paying attention to this for several years now and can't really see a difference between bowing and not bowing.

    Personally, when I'm fighting fish, I try to just not yank when they go airborne -- more of a dead arm technique rather than a bow, per-se -- if that makes sense.  They still throw the hook quite a bit though (and more with busters/jigs).

    Thanks for sharing your observations & I'd love to know what the other tarpon fishermen out there think about this.

    Have fun....Mike
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