3/25/16 Islamorada half day tarpon fishing trip

I had Dave Huffman and his son in law Daryl today, a long time customer of fellow guide Vic Gaspeny.  They were down from North Carolina and Dave wanted Daryl to catch a tarpon.  We were out scouting for bait early and there was a lot of rain and weather around, though we were able to avoid it but unfortunately did not find much for mullet.  However I had a bit of leftovers from the day before and we went out with that.  We had the last trickle of falling tide and found some fish rolling heavily in the local channels.  We set up and they were all around though not really responding to our bait presentations.  Finally after an hour the tide changed and we hooked a monster fish well over 100 lbs!  I’d been fishing my slightly lighter rods since most fish I’ve seen lately have been in the 40 to 80 lb range, though this was a brute.  He dragged us around the channel a few times, making a few wild jumps but spent most of his time meandering around very slowly and saving his energy.  He got us up near the bridge and eventually went through some of the skinny pilings which almost let him get away.  We quickly tied the rod to my throw cushion and floated it through the pilings though and grabbed it on the other side, allowing us to hang on to the fish!  It was quite a maneuver and I’ve done it a handful of times but it doesn’t always work out as planned.  Anyways we landed the fish after a 2 hour battle though unfortunately he broke on the leader right after I grabbed it so we didn’t get any good boatside pics, though plenty of jumping action shots.  He was a solid 120 lb fish, I think one of the largest I’ve landed so far this year.  After that we had a little time left we put baits out but no more tarpon bites, but we did get a big nurse shark and jack crevelle.  Quite a battle for the morning and glad we made it happen in the rain and nasty weather!  1 for 1

Capt. Rick Stanczyk