Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Angling Techniques: The Tarpon "Strip-Strike"

An essential key to staying hooked up on Tarpon...

OK, here is the scene,... your Yucatan guide has quietly poled you into position for a prime shot at a cruising Tarpon. You skillfully lead the Tarpon with your cast and land your fly in the "zone". The Tarpon takes notice of your fly, charges your offering, and you see the water around your fly erupt. Up to this point, you and your guide have come through well on some critical steps in the Tarpon angling game. The next step is the determining factor of whether the game is over at halftime with a Tarpon lost, or if the angler will prevail and have the honor of hand-releasing the Tarpon to fight another day.

Here are some important points for setting the hook properly on Tarpon:
  1. "Feel" the Tarpon eat your fly - you may see the Tarpon erupt on your fly, but do not set the hook until you feel the weight of the Tarpon
  2. Set the hook with a quick and firm "strip-strike" (see image above) - sometimes, multiple line strips are required to get firmly tight to the fish
  3. Keep your rod tip low and pointed inline with your fly and fish during the strip-strike - this applies maximum energy transfer to drive the hook point into the Tarpon's hard mouth
  4. NEVER lift the rod to set the hook - your rod is a "shock-absorbing" lever that minimizes your hook setting power and will often result in just a "jumped" Tarpon (ie. lost fish)
Once you are hooked up on the Tarpon, the second half of the Tarpon angling game ensues and the fight is ON! There are numerous essentials for fighting Tarpon properly, however we will reserve those tips for a future post... FISH ON!