Tarpon C&R [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Tarpon C&R

02-05-2010, 10:09 AM
I've read that taking a tarpon out of the water and into the boat for a photo is a pretty good way of killing the fish, but I keep seeing those photos. Is it true that boating an adult tarpon is lethal?


02-05-2010, 11:21 AM
Hi Bjorn
I have a couple of photos of some big fish (tarpon) in boats.
The problem is that the tarpon must be very tired to get it into the boat in the first place, which can kill the fish.
If you try to get a fish that is not so tired into the boat then it will jump about wreaking everything including itself.

I don't do it anymore.

It is better to get out of the boat and take the photo in shallow water.

I did this on one occasion in Cuba. I got the fish quickly to the boat my guide wanted to take a photo. The fish was no monster but about 70lbs. We saw a flat about 50 yards from where we were. So we slowly poled the boat in that direction. However due to the movement through the water the tarpon revived and I had to fight it again. This happened 3 times before we could get to the flat and take photos. I am pretty sure that the fish survived.


02-05-2010, 12:16 PM
Or just skip the photo altogether. A decade ago I would have scoffed at anyone for suggesting it, but the fact is I almost never photograph any fish I catch these days unless it is extremely unusual. I caught false albacore to eighteen pounds at Harker's Island last November, and we didn't remove a single fish from the water for photography. I suppose if I landed a 150+lb tarpon I'd try to figure out a way to take a picture from the water, but I haven't had a tarpon in the boat that was mine--EVER. Even the captains in Guatemala, at least most of them, have stopped dragging sailfish into the boat for the proverbial corner of the transom hero shot. Truthfully, I think fish are stressed way more than we realize by most photos attempts, especially if it involves removing the fish from the water even for a short period of time. Try it. It's not as tough as I once thought.

02-05-2010, 12:23 PM
The guide I had in Grand Bahama (Captain Perry) was really good with releasing the fish. No fish were taken out of the water for pictures. Before we even caught a fish we talked about it and he was up on the science and had very strong opinions about not removing the fish from the water or handling too much. Great to see that, although I know that notion is unpopular with lots of people still.


02-05-2010, 02:56 PM
From my extremely limited perspective, I think it best not to remove tarpon from the water. They seem to put everything they have into a vaulting, berserk attempt to escape. The lactic acid build-up after a long battle must be close to lethal as it is. Recent pictures I've seen are, as Petevicar suggests, taken with the angler and the fish both in the water.

-- Eric

02-05-2010, 03:02 PM
I believe that Florida now has a regulation prohibiting pulling the Tarpon into the boat or onto the deck.

02-05-2010, 04:10 PM
From what I understand, in FL, you cannot take a tarpon out of the water unless it is tagged. The other problem, from what I have read, is that rermoving a large tarpon and holding it vertically is not good for its internal organs. The muscles are not strong enough to keep the organs in place.