My First Time Fishing For Tarpon with Griffin Johnson
Tarpon, primarily a saltwater fish, is one of the most fascinating species that I have ever encountered. I recently got the opportunity to go Tarpon fishing with my friend Griffin Johnson and expert tarpon guide Fish Russ down in Miami, Florida. I've always seen the epic viral videos of these prehistoric beasts jumping 10 feet out of the water, thrashing in the air, and was eager to witness their unique characteristics in person.
We launched the boat at night predominately targeting green lights. These green lights play a big part in attracting fish, especially bait fish. If there is bait around, then there is more than likely a predator lurking around the corner. A spinning reel with 6 pound test on our rods with a small circle hooks tied on the end was the pole of choice to catch these 40 - 60 pound fish. Tarpon have incredible eyesight which is why it is essential for us to use super light line so they are less likely to make out our leader, which is fluorocarbon line tied to our braided line. Essentially the leader helps our bait have a better presentation in the water. Another important aspect was the loosening of our drag, allowing for there to be less friction needed for the line to come out of the reel.
Right away we were on the fish; however, I found out soon enough that these fish are smarter than they appear and have the toughest jaws known to man, making them extremely hard to hook into. Naturally, I was used to setting the hook like the tarpon was a largemouth bass, but quickly realized I needed to reel into them when they grabbed my bait. Finally, I hooked into my first tarpon, and it was game on. Their bone-hard mouth makes it difficult to not only hook into these fish but also keep the hook in their mouth as they jump completely out of the water and into the air.