Tarpon can weigh as much as 200 pounds

Published: 08th May 2020
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The first tarpon I ever saw was dead. It was Central America's great inland sea, on Lake Nicaragua. I was with a fisherman in a dugout canoe powered by a seven -horse outboard, hours to the lake, out of sight of land and riding enormous elephant- backed waves that blotted out the horizon. The fisherman browsed them like a surfer, putt-putting up toward the crest sliding down the face in the event the swell. He was out to tend his webs, hoping to discover a valuable sawfish entwined there; I was frightened to death. Eventually he found his internet - I have become accustomed to the power of people 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 started to haul it in, yard by yard. In a moment something very big emerged from the water, and he dragged it over the gunnel. Two things hit me: The black, eye that was enormous, as well as the tremendous scales that even in passing glowed with silver light, as if illuminated from within. The fish weighed maybe 50 pounds. The fisherman peered down into its gills and untwined it in the netting. From their dark color, he understood that the fish had been dead too long, and even your family dwelling in desperate poverty back down the lake would not have the ability to make use of the meat. "Sabalo," he said wistfully, and released it into the pewter-colored waves. I thought: Oh, my, exactly what a waste. Sabalo. We call it tarpon. It's arguably the biggest game fish on the planet. It can high jump broad jump 20 and ten feet. Its mouth is tough as the tread on a snow tire, as well as the conventional wisdom is the fact that only one tarpon is landed for each five or ten that are hooked. They are able to put up a battle that turns an angler's arms and continues for hours. And then there's the tarpon's tendency for landing in a boat after among its leaps, where its armored body can turn coolers, fishing gear, seats, as well as the angler into lunch meat. I once asked if a tarpon jumped to the skiff, a guide what things to do. He replied: "Jump out."Two words characterize the fisherman with his first tarpon: buck fever. "Legs become rubber," writes famous angler Lefty Kreh. "Legs inoperable; your eyes misjudge. that it can reach - in Lake Nicaragua, for instance, or the drainage and irrigation canals of south Florida.Well, yes. Consider the case of the Budweiser tarpon. We were staked up in Florida Bay far out on a channel, drifting a live pinfish on a float. My guide had given quite explicit instructions about how to proceed when a tarpon struck: Let all the slack is pulled by the fish from the line, drop the rod tip to me. Then hit hard and brief, reel up slack, strike brief and tough, and when the fish takes off running pop him another time or two and when he jumps bow down, throwing some slack so his weight doesn't break the line.

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