Our anticipation grew as Captain Robert Moore’s 23-footer slowly motored to our dock. While I was a “Tarpon Veteran” my Outdoor Writer friend, Vic Attardo was in for a large adventure. Attardo is an accomplished angler in his own right but until this day, he hadn’t bagged a Silver King. His long drive from PA and his great fishing skills were about to pay off in a big way.
Since the state of FL had outlawed our bait of choice; the Black Salty we were forced to catch some Ladyfish. The benefits of the Black Salty are long and I can’t explain why they were nixed by the state. We started with our Blakemore Salt Runner lures but discovered the Ladies preferred a fast retrieve. I’d designed the Salt Runner to be fished really slow for Trout and Reds so we switched to some generic jigs. We bagged a half dozen of them and rode downriver to a deep flat of about 10 feet.
It was here that hundreds more Ladies were schooling on “Shiners”. (Herring) But the feed was occasionally interrupted by the sudden crash of a Tarpon. Rob and I quickly nose-hooked a couple of Ladys with a Daiichi Circle Hooks and tossed them behind the boat. Rob’s partner, Captain Bob Boodreau quietly maneuvered the boat so the baits would be in plain site of our quarry.
Line began to fly off the Quantum reel as Rob shoved the rod into Vic’s capable hands. This wasn’t the typical “sixty pounder”. Vic’s first Tarpon was over 150 lbs of angry fish. Rob leadered* the massive fish three times before it shook loose at the boat nearly an hour later. * (In an effort to stress the fish less, anglers count touching the leader as a landed fish. Proof yet again that anglers are the best conservationist!)
Vic collapsed onto the cooler on the front of the boat. We bumped fists and he grinned from ear to ear as I said, “Welcome to the Tarpon Club dude… It’s hard to believe we were Crappie fishing back in March huh?”
We motored back to the dock for lunch and to pick up another writer friend for the next Tarpon. Jeff Samsel joined the Tarpon Club with an 80 pounder that he hammered that afternoon.
The cool ride back was just what those weary writers needed and they just kept grinning, as we rode to the dock. They both got their first Tarpon on the same day. It just don’t get much better than that.
If you’ve eaten your Wheaties, pumped a little iron, maybe even some yoga and you’re ready to do battle with a Silver King then its time to go to Punta Gorda, FL. You can e-mail Captain Robert Moore at: email@example.com.