Between babies and giants [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Between babies and giants


juro
04-08-2006, 04:27 AM
I have a suggestion to all the tarpon hounds of the world...

How 'bout a new category between baby tarpon and giants. "Baby" just doesn't cut it for me. A 30 pound tarpon just doesn't strike me as a baby. Up to 15 pounds, OK maybe. But there's nothing baby about 20-35 pound of silver fury on a fly rod.

Any suggestions?

FishHawk
04-08-2006, 07:00 AM
From your description I can't imagine what a 100 pound adult must be like on a flyrod. There is a reason why they call them Silver Kings. FishHawk

Eddie
04-08-2006, 07:40 AM
If an adult weighs 200+#'s.....a 110# fish is a teen, a 40 pounder could be called a toddler and a 20# is an infant? Calling a 30# fish a baby sounds about right.

I weigh 180#. My toddler weighs 36# and my infant weighs 17#.

juro
04-08-2006, 07:58 AM
So this would imply that a tarpon under 200 is not an adult then, and a 100 pound fish is not even close. You weigh 180, how many 180 pound tarpon have you ever caught or seen caught? My gut feel is those categories don't represent the tarpon population curve accurately, but I have no clue since I am not a luminary.

This came up on another thread recently... I guess the "luminaries" hang out on Blanton's site. Well I went over and took a look and didn't see any, but while covering the Denver International Trade show (where there really were luminaries) and the shows I regularly attend thru the offseason I have heard a lot of experienced anglers say they stopped fishing for giant tarpon on the fly, favoring small (relatively) tarpon.

Personally (FWIW) I don't think I would do it more than once or twice in my lifetime - after the initial jumps the prospect of an hour's worth of tugging doesn't excite me any more than flyfishing for grouper would. If the fish is actively doing it's thing I am game to keep the battle on. But once it's sheer mass is what is being fought because of the inadequacy of the equipment I have no interest. This is precisely why I was so bent on developing the two-handed 12wt rod for stripers - the 9ft 9wt rod is just not enough stick for serious oceanic predators.

However fishing for smaller tarpon was about the most exciting thing I've done with a flyrod ever. I AM ADDICTED!!!

sean
04-08-2006, 09:24 AM
Well I think it depends as far as taking an hour to land a fish. Guys like Stu Apte are known to fight large tarpon in under 20 minutes. Comes down to technique and practice.

I will have to say baby tarpon look like alot of fun but I am defintely attracted to the macho aspect of muscle against muscle which is what big tarpon fishing is about. The stuff Hemmingway would write about.

I mean as with all fishing one gets bored catching fish after fish witout an added challenge. Baby tarpon seem to fall in the former of fish after fish and I could see it getting old after awhile...but the big boys are like the elusive 50lb striper on a fly , 20 pound steelhead, bahamas bonefish versus big elusive florida keys bones. Big tarpon are the pinnacle of the sport and something I hope to do a lot of when the kid gets a little older.

I will take either though but you can bet my eye would always be looking for the big boys while hooking babies,

-sean

juro
04-08-2006, 09:36 AM
Yeah I would do it once or twice for sure - but at this point I feel that I would no sooner pursue a regular supply of stripers over 30 pounds (if there were such a thing) with my 9wt than chase 150-200 pound tarpon with a single hand fly rod as a regular hobby. Maybe a 16wt two-hander, like the one in the original Atlantis specification.

I think the recent bluefin tuna fishery characterizes it well. People quickly found out that hooking a bluefin over a certain size was more work than fun. Most hardcore tuna anglers I know in my area would rather poke themselves in the eye than hook a tuna over 100 pounds on a fly rod of any size. These are macho guys too, but sensible. They use conventional gear with huge reels (the kind with eyes for straps), fighting chairs, etc for that.

All in the eye of the beholder I guess.

factoid: 150 # tarpon are estimated to be 50 or more years old.

webstain
04-08-2006, 09:37 AM
Guys,

By my own experience, between a 15lb tarpon and 30lb tarpon, the difference is not 15lb,...it is a completely different fish: shear force, speed and fight spirit is as close as you can get to a grander, but still being able to fish and tackle them with reasonable equipment (10 wt outfit, 50lbs fluoro 2 or 3/0 hooks) with fight not going over 20 minutes (that is for ocean fish, lagoon fish can't reoxygenate so well and surrender within 10 minutes).

The day you have the chance to get a 15 fish and a 30 fish, you will understand.

Anyway, ocean fish fight longer but don't jump that much, compared to lagoon fish.

The smaller the side, the more they jump, it is the weight/energy ratio, and I have experienced that with Blue Marlin too.

Tight Lines

Jean Marc

juro
04-08-2006, 09:52 AM
Jean Marc -

You hit it on the head for me... I fish for FUN and SATISFACTION, and that's subjective. I can only speak for myself in that respect, although I will comment anyway as if it matters :tongue:

The anticipation, the hunt, the presentation; then the jumping, wild fish that can be landed within a reasonable amount of time that suits me and the fish's welfare is what I prefer.

Where I must acknowledge Sean's personal challenge, and yes I would be lying to say I would not try for the giants if they were around - I would ramp up my gear to maintain that same ratio of time and effort. Of course he is right I would like to take that challenge the more I think of it - I won't BS anyone here, but not as a habit. Being human, maybe I am just in denial and would become hopelessly addicted to giants as well, who knows.

What I do know is tht they are spectacular beasts indeed, at any size.

formula1
04-08-2006, 10:22 AM
I will chime in here. Typically babies are 10-25 lb. or so, and "small" tarpon are 30-50 lb. Around 60 lb. or so they really start getting some shoulders on them and become very, very strong. Giants are generally acknowledged to be 125 lb and over from everyone I speak to, or at least are considered to be big.

Personally I like the big ones. I absolutely love the combination of acrobatics (like Andy Mill said, there's nothing like a fish that leaves holes in the ocean the size of cars LOL) and then the fight. I like the toe-to-toe, knockdown, dragout brawls that happen after that first initial run. I like going hard against a giant and seeing who blinks first (i.e., who gives up). I can tell you, I've hooked several in a row and about the third one you have to, as I put it, mentally push and to use another phrase I like from my competition days in sports, get "streetfighter mean." I simply can't get enough of it - I'm one of those nuts who've decided to change my residence to the FL Gulf Coast mainly so I can pursue tarpon 5 months out of the year.

As far as an hour, it can take that long but normally should not. I'm surprised if it takes me more than 20 minutes or so to get a fish over 100# to leader. Typically I'm between 15 and 20 minutes.

But...I like the babies and small ones too, especially for my 11 year old son and my wife, neither of whom has the the physcial strength to handle a 100 pounder. I get almost as much fun watching them fight a 40 or 50 pounder as I do fighting a 130 pounder.

webstain
04-08-2006, 10:28 AM
Jean Marc -

You hit it on the head for me... I fish for FUN and SATISFACTION, and that's subjective. I can only speak for myself in that respect, although I will comment anyway as if it matters :tongue:

The anticipation, the hunt, the presentation; then the jumping, wild fish that can be landed within a reasonable amount of time that suits me and the fish's welfare is what I prefer.

Where I must acknowledge Sean's personal challenge, and yes I would be lying to say I would not try for the giants if they were around - I would ramp up my gear to maintain that same ratio of time and effort. Of course he is right I would like to take that challenge the more I think of it - I won't BS anyone here, but not as a habit. Being human, maybe I am just in denial and would become hopelessly addicted to giants as well, who knows.

What I do know is tht they are spectacular beasts indeed, at any size.

No BS on my side either.

Do you think I look somewhere else when I see a bigger fish? No. Like all of us, I challenge the fish with whatever I have in that very moment, even thoug I know I will break off, and I do.

And YES, for having tried myself many times, and succeded only once. A 100+ is a lifetime experience, and I wish to all addicted to have a chance at it.

Tight Lines

Jean Marc

juro
04-08-2006, 11:10 AM
OK now that I have been rightly demoted to child and wife status :hihi:

Seriously I will always love small tarpon but now I AM PISSED AND READY TO DO BATTLE :lildevl:

So what weight rod are you using formula1? Fighting handle on the blank?

Boat required of course (just thought of another reason I love the small tarpon)...

Do you fish open water during the migration, backwaters or both?

Tell me more.

formula1
04-08-2006, 11:27 AM
Hey Juro I like your sense of humor!

Seriously, I like the small tarpon as well only problem is usually I'm overgunned for them - if I were to fish only for the small ones it'd be with an 8 or 9 wt. For my normal tarpon fishing my weapon of choice is a 12 wt TFO TiCr modified with a foregrip. This year I will be trying something different (read smaller) and I will report on this after May as well as some other things my guide and I talk about before my annual pilgrammage to Key West.

I usually fish for both Gulf side and Ocean migratory tarpon in the Keys during the month of May (the 2nd half of May each year). Since until now my time is limited (2 weeks or so) I don't have time to do backcountry but that will change after this spring when my family and I move to FL - then I will be a couple of hours from the Everglades and an hour from Homossasa - it'll be heaven and I can't wait to start exploring the Glades. I'll actually be 10 minutes from Boca Grande but the Pass is horrible for flyfishing, I won't even bother fishing there at all - I'd just as soon go to Homossasa or to the Glades, or take the 4 or 5 hour ride to Key West.

juro
04-08-2006, 11:43 AM
Why is the pass bad for FF - crowding? I hear it's the 'mecca' in the sense of migrating anglers...

Eddie
04-08-2006, 12:05 PM
I was kinda joking but I think that a thirty pound striper is just a debutante (since the MILFs weigh in at 50-60+#). A 200# tarpon might be called a Granny (she could be 70yrs. old?).

I have never seen a 180# tarpon and I cast to whatever swims by. Usually 60-110#. Those are not considered "big" tarpon. A "weight fish" in a tourny is over 70#, so I anything under that hardly counts (in a tourny). The ones I catch don't seem to take too long to land once you figure out when and how to pull. I still have alot to learn. I usually fish keys ocean side in June, so others might see bigger or smaller fish.

As for the "luminaries" on Blanton's site, most of them (except Dan) have posted on this site as well. But really, that's only counting the "luminaries" that know how to use the internet (or have the time...after cleaning the boat, helping their kids with home work and making lunch for the next day). Some people like to fish for carp and some people call bone fish "salt water carp". There is a fish for everyone (big or small).

juro
04-08-2006, 12:10 PM
Eddie,

HAHA TILH! (tarpon I'd like to hook)

What would you suggest for a weekend warrior fling to FLA in April / early May? Cape Coral perhaps? (unguided of course)

Eric
04-08-2006, 01:50 PM
Getting back to Juro's original question:

How about a boxing analogy: bantamweight, lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight? The ranges that fit these designations you can fill in for yourself.

Last year I traveled to Florida with the single, avowed purpose of hooking a baby tarpon. Seemed like a lot of fun to me. As it turned out, we never did find any tarpon, baby or otherwise, except for a few non-biting dullards that were lurking among the manatees and alligators in the Sebastian River. We were told there were active tarpon in the Stuart area, but we couldn't them there, either.

Man, I still REALLY want to play with these silvery wonders, baby or otherwise. Fish that have some size and that can jump and run are what it's all about for me.

Cheers,

Eric

formula1
04-08-2006, 06:13 PM
Why is the pass bad for FF - crowding? I hear it's the 'mecca' in the sense of migrating anglers...

Very crowded during the annual migrations and it's deeper water, not like flats fishing. Since there are so many boats you really need some heavy, typically conventional gear or spinning with 40-60 lb. test to control a fish quickly before it tangles lines from other boats or gets cut off by another boat. Most boats don't take too kindly to a flyfisherman with a wild tarpon running all over the place.

I don't consider Boca Grande pass to be the mecca for light tackle tarpon fishing - it certainly is a mecca as far as shear numbers but as we all know numbers aren't everything. A line of 25 boats bow to stern with multiple lines out for tarpon is not my idea of a great day of fishing. Me on the bow of a flats skiff with maybe one or two other boats in sight on a serenely quiet flat with rays swimming by, a shark nosing around, and a pod of 125 lb. tarpon bearing down on me at 11 o'clock - that's my idea of tarpon mecca <grin>.

formula1
04-08-2006, 06:15 PM
Getting back to Juro's original question:

How about a boxing analogy: bantamweight, lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight? The ranges that fit these designations you can fill in for yourself.

Last year I traveled to Florida with the single, avowed purpose of hooking a baby tarpon. Seemed like a lot of fun to me. As it turned out, we never did find any tarpon, baby or otherwise, except for a few non-biting dullards that were lurking among the manatees and alligators in the Sebastian River. We were told there were active tarpon in the Stuart area, but we couldn't them there, either.

Man, I still REALLY want to play with these silvery wonders, baby or otherwise. Fish that have some size and that can jump and run are what it's all about for me.

Cheers,

Eric

Hey Eric if baby tarpon in FL are what you are after I think the Glades are the ticket - the problem with a lot of the baby resident tarpon is that they are hammered on by many, many anglers and they become very wise to every lure and fly out there. There are however many backwaters in the Glades that rarely see a boat let alone a lure that the tarpon there are much more amenable from what I understand. I'll report back later this year after I have a chance to explore them at length this summer.

petevicar
04-09-2006, 05:29 AM
The difference for me is that the babies seem to live close to the mangroves and once hooked, after a few jumps they are easy to land very quickly (these can be upto 25lbs).
The adults are found more in open water and fight like crazy taking lots of line.

With a baby it is not normal to get into the backing and sometimes you don't even get them on the reel. (even fish of 20lbs).

It is usually necesary to follow a mature tarpon with the boat.

This pic is of a tarpon I hooked in a lagoon in Venezuela. The fish after 15 or 20 mins decided that it wated to get out into open water. I landed it half an hour later about half a mile from where I originally hooked it.

Pete