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Bonefish, Tarpon, and other Obsessions Turquoise water, silver demons on the fly

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Old 04-16-2006, 06:41 PM
SteelieMike SteelieMike is offline
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Just Curious

Has anybody out there ever tried using a spey rod for tarpon? I know the dangers of casting from a boat etc etc-which I would be fishing from. Headed down to Florida in July and thought it might be worth a few yucks to try.

Thanks, Mike
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Old 04-16-2006, 07:56 PM
formula1 formula1 is offline
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There was an article on 2 handed long rods (10-14 feet) to reach tarpon that are a long ways off in the water - was in something like Saltwater Flyfishing or Flyfishing in Saltwaters but they only mentioned smaller tarpon. I think with anything above 60-70 lb. you'd be severly disadvantaged with the leverage.
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Old 04-16-2006, 08:42 PM
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I think an 11ft 11/12wt rod would be great for the task. The length of the rod from the front grip to the tip is about the same as a 9 footer grip to tip. Except you can put the butt on the hip and give it juice, no need to put a hand on the blank with the right handle length.

Casting either side of the body is easy with two hands doing the work. Wind is usually a factor in saltwater.

Distance goes to the two-hander.

I would say the shore angler would fare better but then again boat anglers do not fish alone for tarpon very often and the other person helps them regardless of whether they are fishing with a single hander, spin rod for that matter. So there is no disadvantage to having an 11ft 11/12wt on a boat under the most common circumstances.

People fight tarpon with two hands anyway. I say there is no disadvantage unless the rod is too long, or designed for Spey casting, or both. Otherwise I say a single hand rod is not as suited to the task, hence the extra fighting grip on the blank.

BTW - did the article mention a 10ft two-hander? What was the make and model I would be curious about that.
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Old 04-16-2006, 08:59 PM
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I have never fished for tarpon but I would have a couple questions regarding the two hander.

Can you have too much line out on the cast? My thinking here is that everything I have read stipulates that one of the toughest parts is getting a good solid hook set. I'm think the 100-120ft of line you get out with the two hander would increase stretch and reduce your ability to penetrate the rock hard mouth of a tarpon.

Is there really a need to have the two handed casting advantage? I would also think that fishing from a poling skiff the guide can set you up for a traditional cast and will actually wait for the fish to come within range to get that solid 80ft or less cast.

Sean
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Old 04-16-2006, 09:08 PM
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It would have to be a short two hander but maybe it could provide an advantage...

The new airflo lines have a non stretch running line so the stretch factor is not there.

An 80' cast is easy as pie with a two hander without any hauling necessary. I know very few guys who can cast 80' with a single hander without hauling (I cannot). So if speed of presentation is of any help the two hander will get you that.

That being said you gotta be decent with a two hander. Have been around a few who were NOT comfortable with a 2 hander and it was not good for all aboard....

-sean
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Old 04-16-2006, 10:02 PM
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It's not for everybody thats for sure. But neither is flyfishing.

However if the practitioner is capable with the tool I feel there are advantages. Getting capable takes time and practice as with the single hander, which most have invested hundreds of hours into. A fraction of that dedication would begin to reveal things, although few have invested in it and some can't rationalize the benefits. I would attest that these advantages are there for the taking for those who reach for it.

In the right hands the angler with the tool will get more shots, and more shots means more hookups. Most experts will say let the fish turn with the fly and strip set, so the rod angle is pointing at the fish and thus there is no difference between an expert single hand caster and a moderately capable two-handed caster in terms of the hook setting challenge.

My experience with tarpon is not whether the hook can be buried by force, but whether your hook can find a suture between bone plates or not, usually not. In fact I would argue that the lighter initial tension would help steer the hook into the corner of the mouth under the mandible as often as it would not.

In my recent experiences on small tarpon I rarely had more than 60 feet out of the guides - sometimes 40 feet. I could set the hook as solid as a freight train especially since the fish hit so hard they'd put any striper, blue, albie to shame. I planted the hook with vigor, but once the fish got airborne the only way to hold them was if the hook was in a soft spot, period. This is pretty consistent with all of the tarpon angling information I have ever heard of or experienced.

Once the fight is engaged, it's clear that a single hand rod is not adequate hence the second fighting grip. It's effectively a two-hand fighting rod as is.

Landing the fish by oneself is not done very often, so the shorter two-handers are probably not going to introduce problems at the boat. I suppose if fishing by oneself they might consider a shorter single hander but their chances of landing a big tarpon by oneself are pretty slim.

I certainly can't say, this is a matter of conjecture verses conjecture and opinion against opinion - but it's certainly an interesting discussion and I think the biggest barrier to exploration of it's potential is that most single handed casters just don't tend to take any additional steps to master something new as they have from spin gear to fly gear intially. I can understand that, however I also insist that there are new doors opened by it and we've only scratched the surface of it's potential in saltwater.

.02
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Old 04-16-2006, 10:48 PM
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Why would you want to use the spey rod over a single handed rod? Just for longer casting distance?

I've never been tarpon fishing but I've watched a ton of it on TV. Yeah, call me the armchair fisherman, but I don't see how a spey rod is going to help you from what I've seen. If you want better leverage, you don't need the extra cork grip on the rod. I've seen plenty of tarpon fishermen just grap the ferrule tself without any problems. In fact, that seems to be the norm more than the exception. If you just want to try it for a change of pace, have a blast!
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Old 04-16-2006, 10:56 PM
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No one said they wanted to use a "spey rod" over a single hander; but the question was inquiring about the use of twohanded overhead casting rods (vs. Spey casting) for tarpon.

As I said in the post, there are four elements at the top of the list when it comes to tarpon -

a) casting
b) hook setting
c) fighting
d) landing / releasing

Casting goes in favor of the two-hander in capable hands. Hook setting is a wash, the rod pointed at the fish two feet is not going to make a difference on a strip set, or one foot as formula1 mentioned 10ft twohanders (?). Fighting is a wash - as you stated people use two hands on their single hander. I do hope they are not grabbing ferrules though! Landing a big fish is not much different as long as the fish is big enough to require help from another person on the boat or shore. If fishing for big tarpon by oneself, then the advantage goes to the shorter rod although not by the margin you might think if you are thinking the conversation is about rods typically used for Spey casting. Not so, the rods used for overhead casting in salt are fast action shorter rods made to allow the caster to handle much heavier lines with ease (e.g. up to 600 grain lines that you can cast comfortably all day).

Hope that is clearer.
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Old 04-16-2006, 11:04 PM
SteelieMike SteelieMike is offline
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Just Curious

All good input. So another question--it certainly helps to have the right tool for the job but the shortest rod I have is an 8136. If I were to try that rod I'm a little concerned about if it'll be enough wood for a 50lb tarpon. I do have the old 9140-3
(Mr. Pow Pow) that I think would have enough in the butt for a 50lb fish. I do have a couple of 15ft'ers--9 and 10wt-- but I would think swinging a meat stick around a skiff like that might get a little ugly--albeit the boat I'll be on is a 22 Pathfinder with a spotting tower and bow casting platform--they'll be just 2 of us on it--maybe one when if it goes badly--har dee har har. And lastly--I assume the only cast I'll be able to do is overhead? I was thinking I might be able to modify a poke but standing on a platform I'm not sure.

Thanks, Mike
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Old 04-16-2006, 11:48 PM
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So you ARE scheming to Spey! My mistake.

I have to agree with Teflon on this one
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Old 04-17-2006, 06:04 AM
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Interesting tread..

Tommorrow morning we leave to hopefully end up somewhere in the BVI, main target is bonefish but the flyboxes are filled to the max with tarpon flies.
I'm bringing a fairly short double handed rod, 12.4 FT from an unknown brand, i've casted the rod over here and tried to find a suitable line wich can be used in the warm waters (in the past in tried a regular line wich transformed to some sort overcooked spaghetty., so i never came to casting a 2 hander in tropical conditions..).
(I even filled a bucket with some sand, trying how the rod would stand up to the task of moving the bucket around on the grass, funny what people comment you standing on grass, drilling a bucket... )

The reason why i take this rod with me is not the advantage of being able to cast longer but to be able to fight the tarpon more adequate...after seeing some video's i thought that even my #10 rod (one hander) wasn't suitable to fight bigger fish...i believe that this short two handed rod has some more potential for fighting bigger fish..
For the record, we do a DIY trip, so we'll be casting mostly form the beach/flats and/or docks, no boats involved..

So...i'll see what happens....

A pre report is found here; http://www.flyfishingandmore.com/tro...eparation.html
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Old 04-19-2006, 10:05 PM
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Exclamation Don't overcharge....

Hi guys,

The ''close to 40lb Tarpon I just mentioned in my last fishing report was caught with a pflueger 10wt 9' 2 piece rod, 10 wt floating line, using an old Redington reel....

Just for you to meditate...

Cheers

Jean Marc
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Old 04-20-2006, 12:23 AM
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Jean Marc

My first tarpon came on a slightly more expensive reel. I think I paid $100.

I remember it did get quite hot during those initial insane runs but in the end all was well

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Old 04-20-2006, 06:35 AM
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Talking Great fish...

Hi Adrian,

We are on the same line here. It is so much fun, catching them with medium size gear, needs more skill and sensations are not the same.

I've been trying 12wt equipment before, but unless I am SURE to meet really big fish, I found it too heavy and the feeling wasn't the same.

Tight lines.

Jean Marc
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Old 04-20-2006, 07:31 AM
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I'm not sure what problem the two hander solves...

I think that tha main disadvantage of two handed rods and tarpon (from a boat) is speed. Even a praticed and skilled angler would not be as quick (and accurate) with a two hander as with a single hander. Tarpon are moving and quick adjustments need to be made as the angler tracks the fish. This is the most important aspect of tapron fishing: tracking the fish, and placing the fly in the right spot. I don't see a two hander helping out with this.
I thought these same things about fishing for bones with a two hander. Juro proved to me that it could be done, but I think that he would tell you that a two hander gained him little on the bone fish flats.

When landing the fish on a boat, even a six inch longer rod would be a disadvantage.
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