There’s really no graceful way to ease into this announcement so I will just shout it out: I CAUGHT MY FIRST TARPON! Like all the way caught for real. To the net. You may have heard some screaming and commotion from the general direction of the Caribbean the other day? Well that was me on the flats off Ambergris Caye in Belize super-freaking out with a tarpon on the line.
A few years ago we fished in the Keys where I jumped a couple of baby tarpon, but I lost both of them. This Belize trip was the only other time I’ve ever had a chance to fish for them. On the first day we targeted tarpon in the afternoon. We saw well over a dozen and had a few shots, but no success. Our last day we actually focused on tarpon most of the time and while we saw plenty and had some more good shots, it was tough to get them to eat. Until finally I found a hungry, cooperative, delightfully aggressive tarpon that devoured my fly and gave us a show.
I was borrowing my husband’s 10wt and he uses a right hand retrieve so I am particularly relieved I was able to reel with my right hand, stay cool, and land the fish. Whew!
After much fanfare and celebration, the Professor was up next. Same rod, same fly, same mojo. Within thirty minutes he was hooked up. Not his first ever (in fact I think this was his double digit tarpon) but still very, very exciting. This day of fishing sent our already fantastic trip over the top.
Over frozen rum drinks at happy hour we looked through the pictures and tried to figure out why there was so much pink on his tarpon. A new steelhead-tarpon species perhaps? Then we realized that my orange shirt was actually reflecting off the mirror-like scales as I snapped the picture. Pretty wild.
Major Takeaway: playing a tarpon is fun. Needless to say, I’m not just hooked, I am mega-hooked.
(Copyright 2012 by Christine Warren)
Tarpon. The scales, the jaw, the acrobatic jumps. Are these fish the definition of cool or what?