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I got a chance to leave the kayak at home and run nearshoreshore with a friend in hopes of finally landing an elusive dream of mine. Leaving the ramp at 7AM we were into huge schools of bait about 2 1/2 miles offshore. Literally gazillions of pogies, or as our captain referred to them... bunkers, were being harassed by frigates and gulls from above, and jacks, bonito and sharks from below. I remember Lets Go's post about it sounding like a hard rain on the water. He couldn't have described it more accurately. Then, off the port side I finally caught sight of why we were there. Tarpon. large tarpon, rolling lazily just outside the frenzy. Thats what we're looking for my friend says, "looks just like a giant mullet on top like that". The only response that came to mind was that we needed one heck of a cast net.

We set up drifts and cast into the schools of bait. Fifteen minutes into casting and pow, solid hookup, and immediately into the air is a nice little spinner shark. On any other day I am thrilled to be on the end of their show, but the thoughts of those tarpon rolling make me hurry him to the boat for the release. Thirty minutes later one of the rods trolling behind the boat goes off and as I get it into my hands the water explodes 50 feet behind the boat as this silver giant takes to the air trying to shake the hook. Twenty minutes and several jumps later I am dripping wet from sweat, sheer excitement, and a boatside shower courtesy of the fish, but we manage to leader him, snap a couple pics and make a successful release. The captain estimates him between 100 and 120 lbs. The captain also estimates me in a state of euphoria seldom attained without chemmical additaves. He is definately correct on the second one.

Most of the remainder of the morning is spent trolling, drifting, casting, and eyeballing the building thunderheads with a couple more sharks mixed in to keep things interesting. Then just as we are really growing concerned about the nearest storm I hear the captain yell "who is hooked up!" We turn to witness a HUGE tarpon rocket from the water at eye level just off the stern of the boat. I swear he could have easily cleared the boat if he had jumped a little closer to us. This one is all for the skipper, and is one P.O'ed fish. Twenty plus minutes later and several near misses at the leader and he is finally boatside. He has more length and much broader shoulders than our first fish, and the attitude to go with it. The storms push us from the water soon after but the day was a total success for me.

Please forgive me for not revealing the exact location on here, but in fact I really wasnt paying attention, nor did I want to. I am told these schools are highly migratory and could be found from now through august anywhere from H.I. to freeport. What I DO know is we were never out of sight from land staying roughly 2 to 2 1/2 miles offshore. Definately kayakable distances. I also know this would be a handfull and a half from the kayak. I caught a 6'+ blacktip last summer, and these fish matched him every bit on speed and strength, but they just dont tire. I was locked down with 40 lb. mono and he took drag at a leisurely pace when he wanted to. That being said, I cant wait to try it out of the Drifter!

IMGP0047.JPG Description:Talk about a big mouth, thats a 16/0 circle hook in his maw Filesize: 151.51 KB Viewed: 74 Time(s)


IMGP0050.JPG Description:Lipped Filesize: 70.11 KB Viewed: 61 Time(s)


IMGP0048.JPG Description:First tarpon finally alongside Filesize: 130.74 KB Viewed: 57 Time(s)


 

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Super job. That'll definitely get the blood pumping. One of these days, I hope to have a similar report. Congrats.
 

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Great report and pics, they look like they are diamond etched. I hear more reports about people seeing tarpon just offshore all the time. That's a catch you will remember a long time.
 
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