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Fishing Key West Angler Mounts Tarpon

Report Date: July 1, 2003


Mounting trophy size Tarpon are not uncommon in Key West, Fl. Angler Richard Wood found out one rainy June morning.

As we left the docked I had briefed Richard on the fishing the day before, yes, once again you should have been here yesterday. The down side of yesterdays fishing was that it rained the whole day. With no change in the Weather was evident that today would be spent fishing in the rain once again.

Pulling the boat along the edge of the flat I explained to Richard the importance of ?bowing? to the Tarpon when they jump, or dropping the rod tip when they go air borne. Fully understanding this we proceeded as planned, slowly working our way into position for the school of Tarpon that where rolling on the surface about seventy-five yard away. Now dressed in bright blue rain jackets and soggy shoes, listening to a bilge pump work overtime keeping up with the rain, we made our approach.

Now positioned close to the school of Tarpon we made our first cast. BAM! We got a bite first cast, however no hook up, just a stolen crab. I?m always amazed when I watch a fish who has a mouth big enough to fit a soft ball in, eat a quarter size crab off a fish hook and never seem to get a hook in it?s mouth. Grabbing another crab from the bait well I suggested we, won?t let that happen again. Lets cast this crab at em? a get a hook in him. As all great anglers do, Richard followed these directions precisely. We hooked a Tarpon on that next cast. Stick em? good when he makes his first run, and Bow when he jumps. This would be my last advice to Richard before his epic battle.

This fish made a dynamic run, almost striping all two hundred yard off line of the reel. On the first two jumps we never bowed to the King and got away with it, however, we need to drop the rod on the next jump. Understanding my plea, Richard agreed with me. Smoking off 65 more yard of line of the 110 we managed to get back the fish leaped from the water again. Bow to him! As the fish splashed back down to the ocean I laughed to Richard and said, you got away with another. No lowering of the rod tip on that jump. Richard responded, I?m a little busy watching and fighting his fish to do that. Unfortunately on the next jump the line broke abruptly, and the fish bid farewell to us. Damn, Richard you even dropped the rod on that jump.

With the Weather now going from rainstorms to thunderstorms, I suggested we need to get another Tarpon, and this fish all the way to the boat. Now rigging the rod with a choice baitfish (grunt) we where going to do some experimenting. Another guide buddy of mine had fished near us all morning with baitfish and not hooked a fish. So I was going to test if we had happy fish that would eat crab or fish or perhaps were only going to eat crabs. Casting the baitfish toward the Tarpon we let the bait swim slightly below the surface. After about three minutes I was evident that we had gotten a bite. The line now pulling against the current, I said pull back a set the hook when the slack draws up tight. Fish on! As Richard set the hook the Tarpon went airborne immediately. Drop that #$@#^&$# rod! He did and the fish smoked about 150 yards of line after the first jump. Two more explosive jumps, I think we got a good one on here Richard, about 80lbs or so. After about a half hour I knew the fish was quite a bit larger than 80lbs. Working the fish well, Richard managed to get the fish close to the boat sever times in the fist 45min. Then as the Tarpon do, he unleashed another explosive run accompanied by two jumps. Drop that @%$#$%^!! Rod! Now wearing down the angler and the fish I knew it was my time to do some coaching and work Richard toward his soon to be Trophy Tarpon. Having about 50 minutes on the fish I knew we needed to get him to the boat soon. The tackle was wearing down, and the squall line was now just a few miles away. Now pulling left if the fish swims right and vise versa, Richard worked the fish. When the double line gets to the rod tip I?m going to attempt to grab the leader and se if we can call this a caught fish. After a few more surges and one awesome tail walk jump, we pulled the hook on Richards Tarpon. This fish would Weigh in at about 120+ pounds, and over six feet long.
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Now exhausted Richard said, that?s it I?ve had enough, lets head to the barn. I don?t think I could fight another one of those bad boys. Well Richard I do believe you deserve that fish, you earned him. Great catch, and good job! I hope your wife has a place reserved on the wall of your living room for that fish!

We did mount the Tarpon caught in this fish tale. I do not kill fish, all mounts done on my boat are replica mounts based on estimated weight and total length of the fish. I work with a professional Taxidermy service.

If you looking to mount a large Tarpon or a trophy Permit of just want to get in on some great fishing in Key West, Give me a call and I?ll show you the way.

Lets Go Fish!
Capt. Lenny

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