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As Good As It Gets
the wind the giant tarpon are holding strong. While it has been a challenge dealing with
cold fronts accompanied by strong southwest, west, and northwest winds blowing off the
Gulf, the fish have held in the area. It has been an abnormal weather pattern the past 3
weeks with fronts crossing the state every two days. Even in the dead of winter, they are
almost always separated by about 5 days.
The moon is building new and the numbers of fish are filling the area in mass.
There are a few fish being taken on the flats, but for the most part the passes are the
areas of concentrations. In Boca Grande Pass the fish are stacked like cordwood. Fish can
be marked solid for 250 yards long, 100 yards wide and 60 feet in thickness.
The sharks were a nuisance at the start of the week. A big blow stirred up the
water and has helped thin them out somewhat yesterday. While witnessing this act of nature
is dramatic, it can be very disheartening after fighting a giant tarpon to the end only to
have it taken before a photo opportunity. Anglers visiting the area should take caution
while handling a fish at the side of the boat for release. Hammerheads to 15 feet and
bulls to 500 lbs are very aggressive man eating species. While not likely to attack you,
they will take a limb or worse if it is in the way of what they are after. In a fury this
week we had a very large bullshark take a fish from us at the stern. In the frenzy, the
shark struck my outboards lower unit and lifted the stern of the boat 10 inches from
the water. Keep your eyes open!
The highlight of the week came yesterday afternoon. The Russell Greene party of St. Petersburg fought 5 tarpon in their 6-hour trip during the afternoon. One fish was hooked that barely got its head out the water on its first and only jump. Some 50 minutes and 1.5 miles later, the fish was brought to the side of the boat. The fish taped 80 inches by 45 inches. Using length times girth squared, divided by 800, the weight was 202.5 lbs. Generally speaking the fish are averaging well over 100lbs, with many 150s being taken. While a two hundred pound fish is a bonus, we do get 5 to 10 of these fish from April thru the first weeks of July each year. You could be next in landing a giant tarpon of a lifetime.
Screaming Drags and Tired Arms
1999 Report Archive 11JANOO 19JAN00 29JANOO 11FEB00
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