The Fight Isn’t Over When You Get a Tarpon Boat-Side

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Continue applying pressure on a tarpon when you get it to the boat. Photo Louis Cahill

Catching a tarpon on the fly is a feat most fly fishers dream about but never experience.

Some fly anglers get lucky right out the gates, but for most of us, catching one of these beasts on the fly often takes several trips to accomplish. My good friend Capt. Bruce Chard is one of the most competent tarpon guides I know and has taught me a great deal about chasing the silverking. When he put me on my first 125 pound plus tarpon he made a point to let me know that the fight isn’t over when you get a tarpon boat-side.

Bruce Chard explained to me that many tarpon photography ops are lost as well as rods are broken because anglers stop applying pressure on the fish once their guide gets a hand on the leader. Tarpon are extremely powerful fish and challenging to handle. To help your guide seal the deal when you get a tarpon to the boat, continue applying strong pressure on the fish with your fly rod until your guide has a firm grip on the jaws of your tarpon. Otherwise you’ll stand a good chance at losing the fish at the boat, miss your photo  op and fail to properly revive and release your tarpon.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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6 thoughts on “The Fight Isn’t Over When You Get a Tarpon Boat-Side

  1. Can’t wait for the day that I can use this good tid-bit of information!!! Makes plenty of sense though. It’s real easy to get that false sense of security right at the boat, or the net. Slack in your line will getcha more times than not.

    • Justin,

      Bruce Chard walked me threw every detail of the fight. I’ll never forget that fish or the fight. He had me giving that tarpon everything I had. My tackle was maxed out and drag locked down to the max. Been thinking of getting a replica mount. Don’t have a wall big enough 🙂


  2. Good info, as usual, Kent. Also all that prehistoric muscle and energy can be available in a dangerous way when you are lipping the tarpon boatside. Leaning face-first over a tarpon can result in a bad outcome if the poon rockets up at you in an effort to tailwalk next to the boat. I have an old photo of myself somewhere with a tarpon leaping up toward my face. I was lipping it waiting for my friend and guide to get the camera ready. All I had was a scraped face, but it could have been much worse.

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