I have tried to catch a tarpon in Belize 4 times! Today was going to be my day! The day was supposed to be a day to chase permit! We had a chance but an inconsiderate guide ruined my shot! We decided to try another spot! We motored to one side of an island! We saw some tarpon rolling! After discussing what to do, we decided to change to a tarpon set up! We did decide to fly fish with a large Avalon permit fly. Maybe a permit would grab the fly!
There was a small pod of tarpon and a very large cruiser that we spied! Hilian had me cast in front of the small pod of 40 pounders! Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the big boy close by! The Avalon settled and Hilian had me strip the size 4 permit fly right in front of that gigantic tarpon. In the blink of an eye, the 80 pounder that was over 7 feet long inhaled my fly! The massive fish rocketed completely out of the water. My jaw dropped, Karen ran for the camera and Hilian calmly directed the confrontation. The tarpon next jumped 200 yards away from the boat about 5 seconds later. I just held on. The 60 pound tippet held the initial run! Well I got the big resident tarpon to the boat three times! He was tiring! We had a chance to get the leader! Hilian slid in the water and got the leader, the tarpon then spooked off with several incredible jumps! The leader touch gave us the “catch”. Shortly after, the tarpon was gone! I was soaked with sweat. The 45 minute battle was amazing. I tangled with that monster with my 10 weight Helios! I was able to manage the tarpon with Hilian repositioning the boat skillfully! Wow what an amazing hour! My muscles were shaking, the Adrenalin was flowing in every part of me!
Did that just happen? I doubt I can repeat that tussle with such a massive tarpon! I did catch a 35 maybe 40 pounder the day after! It was exciting. Nothing can beat that hour. By far the biggest fish I have ever caught! I am still pumped just thinking about it!
I have to thank Karen for capturing so many amazing shots with our camera. Hilian also kept me focused! No mistakes! What a day! It was definitely a fish of a lifetime! The decision to relocate and change up paid off handsomely!