saltygator

Tarpon off the Beach

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1 hour ago, Local66 said:

  Why drag it up?

I was alone, between first light and dawn. I had no way of knowing how well that hook was in its mouth. He actually surfed a wave in, I did not “drag” it. Before I knew what was happening, he was at my feet. 

 

Frankly, it happened so quickly, with my heart thumping, that my brain was not engaged. I must have said “Holy sh_t!” to myself a dozen times in the less than 60 seconds it was at my feet. 

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Local, can you provide any insight for us newbies on techniques on “landing” a tarpon alone without beaching the fish. I’d like to understand what you do with the fishing rod and how you manage the fish in the surf, greatly appreciated.

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16 mins ago, aneary said:

Local, can you provide any insight for us newbies on techniques on “landing” a tarpon alone without beaching the fish. I’d like to understand what you do with the fishing rod and how you manage the fish in the surf, greatly appreciated.

Am I the “local”? 

 

First, I think you need to get @zcoker into this discussion because he has waaaaay more experience at beach tarpon (and sharks) than I will ever have. And while he usually has his fishing partner or his wife with him to hold the rod, I know he has caught his share while solo. 

 

Second, unless Z has some insights, I am not sure how you can “land” a tarpon on the beach alone without bringing it into the wash. Holding on to an 11’ surf rod with 50-100+ pounds of thrashing muscle at hour feet is no easy task. How could you land a 40”+ striper along on an ocean beach? 

 

If you are bait fishing and the only terminal tackle is a circle hook, I guess you could break off by holding the drag and hoping the line or leader will pop. But that is unpredictable and not certain so cutting the leader as short as possible would be better. But you are still leaving a hook in the mouth. 

 

But what if you are fishing a jig or swimbait, that means leaving more than just a hook in the mouth. And if it is buried into the hard mouth parts, that could impede the fish’s ability to eat for awhile. 

 

Let me ask, why do you seem resistant to the idea of bringing the fish up onto the sand for 30-60 seconds? Tarpon are pretty resilient fish, “breath” air as part of their physiology and have a high C&R survival rate as far as I know. Assuming you just want to release the fish, the time spent with the tarpon in the suds would literally be seconds. 

 

How did I land the one above? As I noted, he came in on a wave and I stopped him with my foot. I was using a manual bail so i released the line from the roller and made sure it was clear. I then grabbed my iPhone which was on a lanyard and in my shirt pocket and snapped exactly one Live Photo before the next wave pushed the fish out from under my foot. He had enough water to swim away at that point without my intervention, though I was releasing him in the next seconds anyway. And, as I described in the narrative, the Hogy jig just fell out of its mouth so my slack line never went taught. 

 

Last thought, if you have a 100+ pound tarpon on the line and your surf rod is pointed at the sky, pray that the tarpon does not have another run in it. If the fish takes off and you cannot lower the rod fast enough, you are likely to have that rod implode. 

 

Which brings up another thought on handling - if you are fishing braid, even with a mono leader, you do NOT want to be handling that braid with the big fish still connected. When my tarpon took off, about the same time I realized that I had braid intertwined between my toes, I seriously thought I was going to have a real problem. Thankfully, the jig fell out and no one is calling me Stubby today. 

 

Hopefully Zcoker can come in and talk from real experience rather than my one big fish level of “expertise”.

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I was asking local66, he asked you about the landing, I know he catches tarpon and I’d like to understand his method of landing and releasing tarpon on the beach. I’m all for a clean release and minimizing stress on the fish. 

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As far as (I’m) concerned, I’m out to win, which means completing the job and not leaving a bunch of jewelry stuck in the fish’s mouth, weather a big shark, tarpon, snook or whatever. If I’m fishing for it then I mean to catch it and release it as quickly as possible....of course all happy and all jewelry free lol.

 

No big deal on the poons...they all this and that for a spell but sooner become quite manageable in the wash, usually swim off fine. Just takes proper planning....I mean, if fishing for big fish, should be prepared to catch big fish—period.

 

It’s a package deal, that’s all. Very simple, from start to finish. 

 

Now try that solo stuff with these gals and things can get dicey lol.

 

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Even still, if anything, shows that it can be done no matter the size, alone or not. 

 

My 2 pennies 

 

 

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1 hour ago, aneary said:

I was asking local66, he asked you about the landing, I know he catches tarpon and I’d like to understand his method of landing and releasing tarpon on the beach. I’m all for a clean release and minimizing stress on the fish. 

Sorry, I misread and forgot Local's question to me. 

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