Tarpon can weigh as much as 200 pounds

Published: 08th May 2020
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The very first tarpon I ever saw was not alive. It was on Lake Nicaragua, Central America's great inland sea. I was with a fisherman in a dugout canoe powered by a seven -horse outboard, hours to the lake, out of sight of riding and land tremendous elephant- . The fisherman browsed them like a surfer, putt-putting up toward the crest then sliding down the face in the event the swell. He was out to tend his webs, expecting to find a precious sawfish entwined there; I was frightened to death. Eventually he found his net - I have become accustomed to the capability of individuals who fish for a living to locate a specific point in a vast and featureless expanse of water as if tuned in to some cosmic loran - and he began to haul it in, yard by yard. In a moment something very large emerged from the water, and he hauled it over the gunnel. Two things hit me: The black, eye that was tremendous, and the huge scales that even in death glowed with silver light, as if illuminated from within. The fish weighed perhaps 50 pounds. The fisherman peered down into its gills and untwined it from the netting. From their dark colour, he knew that the fish had been dead too long, and even your family residing in dire poverty back down the lake would not manage to use the meat. "Sabalo," he said wistfully, and released it to the pewter-colored waves. I thought: Oh, my, what a waste. Sabalo. It is arguably the greatest game fish in the world. Ten feet and broad jump 20 can jump. Its mouth is rough as the tread on a snow tire, and also the conventional wisdom is the fact that one tarpon is landed for each five or ten that are hooked. They can put up a fight that continues for hours and turns an angler's arms. And then there's the tarpon's tendency for landing in a boat after one of its leaps, where its armored body can turn tackle, seats, coolers, and yet the angler into lunch meat. I once asked if a tarpon jumped into the skiff, a guide what things to do. He responded: "Jump out."Two words characterize the fisherman with his first tarpon: buck fever. "Legs become rubber," writes famous angler Lefty Kreh. Consider the instance of the Budweiser tarpon. We were staked up on a channel far out in Florida Bay, drifting a live pinfish. My guide had given quite explicit directions about how to proceed when a tarpon struck: Let the fish pull all of the slack out of the line, drop the rod tip to me.

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