Yesterday I set out on my charter like any other day. I was fishing with Alec Estes and his 10 year old son Thomas. We managed a few snook and jacks inside before we headed out of the inlet in search of giant jacks and whatever else might bless us with their presence. At first I must say I was a bit disappointed at the water clarity and the general color of the water. We have had a few days with some rough seas and that has a tendency to stir things up a bit but, other then the water clarity the beach was calm and I knew I should be able to find something. As I headed down the beach we did not see much of anything for the first few miles, then to add insult in injury a flats boat heading back to the inlet stopped and gave me the universal thumbs down sign and proceeded to tell me that nothing was on the surface and that everything was down deep. I didn't know who that was in the flats boat but it really didn't matter because I don't trust anyone's eyes but my own and after explaining that to my clients I pushed on. It could not have been more then a mile when I saw my first school of giant jacks, "you see what I mean?" I said to Alec. I had Thomas throw a topwater plug into the school and he instantly hooked up and after a few runs the jack had broke off, splitting my loop in half. So we relocated the school to give them another shot, this time we were denied and I had another boat sitting outside of me waiting their turn, I guess? Yeah right, let's get one thing straight, because I know some people that read this blog fish here, it is NOT okay to move into someone else's school unless you are invited in. It is just good etiquette. I should have a posting on just beach etiquette since we are getting into the season and every year it seems to be getting worse and worse. Okay, I am getting side tracked here, focus John.
Here is where the story get interesting, I know you were waiting for that. On my third attempt at the school I position the boat and wait for the school to come to me. This time I decide for whatever reason that I should get a pilchard ready, this is odd for me because I rarely throw bait at these guys but, I really wanted young Thomas to catch one. He was so excited to see the fish and had been a great sport all day. As the school got into range I saw a tarpon roll behind the school of jacks. I pitched the bait right in front of the jacks, handed Thomas the rod and explained to him that when I tell him to reel he needs to do so fast, we were using a circle hook. I saw the line jump so I knew the bait had been eaten but I could not tell by what? I told Thomas to start reeling and to be ready for the line to come tight. Once the line came tight the drag screamed and a 100 plus pound tarpon shot out of the water. Once again the fish gods were on my side. I must be living right, okay somewhat right! Thomas fought that tarpon very hard and did a great job before handing it off to his dad to end the fight. You see Thomas hooked it and fought it now he wanted to land it because his dad promised him a mount if they caught a tarpon. Alec, thinking it was early March probobly would have taken that bet anyday. If he had read my blog he would have seen that just last week we landed one, see it is good to actually read my blog not just look at the pictures. Either way they were both very excited, neither of them have ever even seen a tarpon before except on TV. Boy, if I had a dime for everytime I heard that.
During the fight I tried to do my best Pat Ford imaitation, in my opinion he has the best tarpon jumping shots around. As you can see by the pictures on this post I have a long way to go, however, considering the light I think I did okay. Here is where the new found quest comes in. I am now on a mission to get the perfect jumping tarpon picture. As I have written so many times before it is very hard to photograph while on a charter but, I think jumping tarpon shots are very doable. I have tried tarpon shots in years past but this is the first season that I have a camera with 6 frames per second and some more knowledge about photography. So stay posted and hopefully you will se the progress right here.
Oh yeah, we did land the tarpon. An estimated 125 pounds and yesterday afternoon I meet Alec and his son Thomas up at New Wave Taxidermy to order their new trophy. Check out the website for New Wave, they are by far the most talented artist around when it come to fiberglass fish mounts. How great is it that you can get a killer piece of art for your house or office and still let the fish swim free. As a matter of fact, I decided to order my 40 pound permit that I have been wanting for the last two years. I also went to Stuart Photo yesterday and bought an additional battery grip for my D300 and now I have 9 frames per second. Pat better watch out, yeah right, remember I am just a guide with a camera and a computer. I am fishing with Pat the morning of the film tour so you can bet I will be picking his brain on tarpon photography.
Between all these photos and now the mount being made this could be the most popular tarpon I have ever had a client catch.