There’s only one game fish on the planet that can interrupt the lives of every shallow water angler across the United States of America at the drop of a hat. Its annual migration causes anglers to reschedule meetings, put off weddings, and even plan childbirths around its arrival. Obsessed anglers often put their professional lives on hold, before kissing their families goodbye for the season all in hopes of doing battle with the “Silver King” of the flats, aka the Tarpon!!!!!!
Tarpon are the largest species of fish targeted by fishermen in shallow water and are widely known as one of the BIG THREE species of the flats (permit, tarpon and bonefish). The shear fact that a fish measuring in at over 7ft long and weighing over 200lbs could swim in chest deep water is incredible to think about which is why anglers from all over the country flock to Florida each year to do battle with such a large fish.
Here along the shallow flats of Crystal River and Homosassa targeting Tarpon requires the stealthy approach of a seasoned guide and an angler that’s capable of making a delicate presentation which is why fly fishing for these GIANTS can be so successful. Each and every morning as the sun cracks the horizon hundreds if not thousands of Nature Coast Tarpon “wake up” in their sleeping holes and swim their way on to the flats to feed. For those anglers lucky enough to experience the “Dawn Patrol” rush it often can be a life changing experience.
Slurp! Slurp! Slurp! As the sun slowly rises and as darkness turns to light anglers begin to hear that unmistakable slurping sound of rolling Tarpon as it seemingly echoes for miles. Once an angler becomes in tuned with the sound of rolling Tarpon it’s remarkable to see the laser focus that ensues. All of life’s problems just seem to go away with each sound of a rolling fish. For every Slurp! An angler is sure to take a deep breath. It’s almost like becoming one with the Tarpon.
Before you know it there are fish at 10 o’clock. The guide swings the bow of the boat into position and the angler starts making the cast. It’s an artistic act that plays out over and over during the season that runs from April-July. As the fly enters the water and anticipation runs through your veins you can’t help but think there’s no other place on the planet that you would rather be than on that flat, in that moment, on that day!!
STRIP! STRIP! FISH ON!!!
The Obsession of Tarpon Fishing Lives On!!!
Capt. Kyle Messier