Last year we had the pleasure awarding Tim a Tarpon Fishing Trip in Boca Grand Florida with Captain Steve from our Florida Tournament Fishing Team. He won our video contest showing what his Baitmate had caught, which coincided with another more widely known monthly video contest called the Mystery Tackle Box Slam.
Tim and his guest Mike flew down to Florida in May to try to catch a silver giant.
Here’s Tim’s story:
Mike and I met up with Captain Steve, Skip and JT at around 10 a.m. and headed out on the water. We tracked down a pod and I got my first look at some tarpon. We cast into the circling fish for a while with no luck before deciding to come into shore for lunch. After lunch we headed back out and quickly were on top of a large group of tarpon, along with about 10 other boats. Captain Steve maneuvered us in and out of traffic trying to keep us just ahead of the tarpon but again, we could not entice one to eat. We chased the fish for another hour or two before we decided to change tactics.
After catching (and culling) about 5-dozen crabs we were back on the hunt. It wasn’t long into our drift when we hooked-up on our first fish. Skip passed me the rod. It was a battle, after fighting this fish for what felt like 10 minutes we got our first look at him. They said he was small. Small is a relative term since I’m used to catching mainly 2-5lbs fish in Michigan. Once I got him near the boat, the tarpon took off like a rocket with the drag screaming behind him. All I could do was hold on. After another short battle I got him back near the boat before he took off again! I had him near the boat 3 or 4 times, each time I thought we had him. We were finally able to get him next to the boat where Skip could grab a hold of him. It was AWESOME! I was exhausted and my hands and arms were burning, but it was AWESOME. They estimated the fish to be about 75lbs (like I said before, small is relative).
Another hour or so later I had a tarpon take my bait. Fish on!! This one was huge. Another hard fought battle began. He broke the surface and we got our first look at him. He was a giant! They estimated this tarpon in the 175lbs range. Once again I would get him close and he would take off, get him close, take off. Then on the 3rd or 4th time getting him next to the boat Captain Steve reached down to grab him, leader in hand, and the tarpon broke loose. It was “technically” a catch since we had the leader in our hands, and I was happy with it. My hands and arms were burning and the adrenaline was still rushing.
I missed out on the photo opp with the big one, isn’t that how every giant fish story ends, but it was still awesome. Before we knew it, it was already 8 p.m. and with some weather coming we called it a day and headed in. The whole group met up for dinner, shared some of the pictures we took and recapped the day.
This was one of the most enjoyable trips I have ever taken. I honestly can’t thank all of you enough for making this trip a reality. Thank you all again, and I look forward to coming back down to Boca Grande to catch another monster.