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fishtale 11-15-2003 06:48 AM

Leader and shock tippet setup for tarpon...???
Which do you prefer, mono or fluorocarbon shock tippet for tarpon?

The water I fish (Central America) is either colored by tannins (like orange pekoe tea) or gray and turbid.

I am targeting medium to large tarpon.

The following is my leader and shock tippet setup: 2'of 40lb fluorocarbon attached to the fly line with an albright knot. Attached to that by loop to loop is 3'of 25lb fluorocarbon attached to 18" of SA 80lb fluorocarbon shock tippet and the fly.

Any comments on this setup or the materials would be appreciated. I only get away to tarpon fish once a year for four days. Three trips to date. I've managed to land several fish from 25 - 70 lbs. and have jumped some big ones. I had one break off or knot failure on a large tarpon which I believe was due to the knot at the leader to shock tippet being cut(?) by a gill plate. Since then I have lenghtened the shock tippet to 18" and now use fluorocarbon for my leader. I don't discount the possibility that one knot failure(?) may have been due to the fact that I was using mono for leader and fluoro for shock tippet. Thanks

Capt. Mel Simpson 11-17-2003 08:41 AM

Of course the size of the butt section of your leader depends on your rod size.

For a 10wt, I would use 5' of 40# hard mason. Then loop it to 3' of 16# hard mason (using a bimini twist to double the loop on the 16#). Then finally use 1' of 60# - 80# flurocarbon shock, attached to the 16# with a double blood knot.

The above is the same IGFA formula I use for the world record giant tarpon we fish for at Homosassa each May - June.


Earle Fletcher 12-01-2003 08:49 AM

Captain Mel, your double blood knot connection of the shock and class leader sounds interesting. How many turns do you make in each of the doubled strands? I'm sure it is much prettier than the Huffnagle Knot, but is as strong?

Capt. Mel Simpson 12-01-2003 05:17 PM

Double Blood Knot
All right, here goes....this works!

With the leader still attached to the spool, I use 16# hard mason, pull off about 6' and double about 2'. In the blood knot, wrap the 16# four turns and then three back to the center.

Then wrap 3 turns of the shock and then back to the center. Start the tightening of the knot and slowly pull down untill the knot is about 3" long (not snug yet!)

Get 2 paper towels and fold over and wrap them around your first two fingers to keep from cutting into you fingers. Wrap each leader around your paper towel covered fingers, and with your hands about 1' apart put them on the outside of your together knees and while you quickly seperate your knees, yank the knot closed.

If this sounds crazy and you don't understand, you can call me.

Capt. Mel Simpson

Capt. Mel Simpson 12-02-2003 07:37 PM

My explanation either scared everyone off or your all practicing!?

Adrian 12-02-2003 10:05 PM

O.K. I have one:

Do you simply double the 16# or use a bimini/spider-hitch?

jimS 12-03-2003 09:30 AM

Still Confused
I understand the four-turn double of the tippet to the shock leader and a three-turn shock tippet blood knot. I assume the shock tippet is not doubled?

If that is the case, is the tippet end a bimini twist?

Also, do you use a snell or three-and-a-half turn clinch from shock leader to fly?


Earle Fletcher 12-03-2003 10:41 AM

I've been practicing, Mel, using IGFA 20# and 80# Orvis Mirage fluorocarbon leader material. The blood knot connection looks very neat, I tested the leader using a spring scale. It broke in the straight 20# leader a half inch below the bimini twist knot at 18 pounds. It looks like I'm doing a better job on the blood knot than I am on the bimini twist knot. Thanks for your help.

Capt. Mel Simpson 12-03-2003 03:49 PM

Let's see if I can answere all these:

I attach the 90# shock to the hook with a Homer Rhode loop knot,

The next knot is the blood knot with doubled 16# hard mason,

The next knot is a 21 twist bimini, the bimini loop is about 18" long and I cut it at the end of the loop,

I then hold the loop end next to the bimini knot, and slowly pull it thru my thumb and first finger while twisting the knot, (you still with me?),

Then I tie a surgeon's loop at the end.

The whole leader is 4' long, with a but section of 5', gives me a 9' leader. There is no stretch, (like the other knots) and you can get very close to the IGFA requirements.

Be careful when you tie a bimini, you may over stress the mono!

Cool huh?

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